Meat Week: Reducing Carbon Footprint

For those of us who want to reduce our carbon footprint through the way we eat and choose our food, meat is one of the biggest problem areas.

Across the board, meat is pretty bad for the environment, with beef being the biggest offender in most cases. One pound of beef has roughly four times the CO2 footprint of a pound of chicken.

So, if we don't want to cut meat out of our diet but we want to reduce our footprint, what should we do?

  • Buy local. By purchasing locally produced meat, you immediately lower the transportation footprint
  • Buy organic whenever possible. That way, you're purchasing products that don't utilize as many manmade fertilizers and pesticides
  • Choose pasture-raised or grass fed. While Pasture-raised is not regulated by the USDA, most producers who use the label generally provide their animals with greater ability to move than producers who use other labels for their products [e.g., free-range, cage-free, etc.]

Hamburger and Steak

It is difficult to provide recommendations for beef products from a CO2 footprint perspective. Beef has one of the highest carbon footprints of any food. Grass-fed beef will have a lower CO2 footprint than grain-fed. So what we're saying is, find a local butcher or farm and buy from them! If you have location-specific recommendations that you'd like us to share with our community, please comment below and we will add them to the list!

Chicken

  • Market Pantry Organic Chicken (Target) – Target is a signatory to the letter of commitment to continue working towards Paris Agreement goal of combatting climate change despite USA’s withdrawal from the agreement.
  • Organic Prairie organic chicken (Organic Valley/Organic Prairie) – Organic Valley is a signatory to the letter of commitment to continue working towards Paris Agreement goal of combatting climate change despite USA’s withdrawal from the agreement.

Luncheon Meat

  • Oscar Meyer Deli-Fresh Sliced Turkey (Kraft Heinz) – Kraft-Heinz is committed to decreasing its carbon emission by 15% by 2020. Kraft-Heinz also frequently donates to organizations trying to tackle global warming.
  • Organic Prairie Organic Roast Turkey Slices (Organic Valley/Organic Prairie) – Organic Valley is a signatory to the letter of commitment to continue working towards Paris Agreement goal of combatting climate change despite USA’s withdrawal from the agreement.

Hot Dogs

  • Beef hot dogs are excluded because of their relatively high CO2 footprint as compared with most other meats.
  • Oscar Meyer Turkey Dogs (Kraft Heinz) – Kraft-Heinz is committed to decreasing its carbon emission by 15% by 2020. Kraft-Heinz also frequently donates to organizations trying to tackle global warming.
  • Organic Prairie Organic Pork Bratwurst (Organic Valley/Organic Prairie) – Organic Valley is a signatory to the letter of commitment to continue working towards Paris Agreement goal of combatting climate change despite USA’s withdrawal from the agreement.

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash