Carbon neutral beef on shelves

Meaty matters: Millie Ritchie, Toby Humphrey and Mark Ritchie at Delatite Station in Mansfield will be supplying Coles Carbon Neutral Beef.

Delatite Station cattle farmers Mark and Fenella Ritchie are among the beef producers working with supermarkets to deliver certified carbon neutral beef.

On April 20, Coles launched its Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef range, which will include seven premium quality cuts of beef, from eye fillet to porterhouse steak.

The beef range, now available in Victorian stores, is certified carbon neutral from paddock to shelf to the Federal Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.

Coles chief executive officer Steven Cain said the launch of carbon neutral beef was a great example of the supermarket working with suppliers to achieve better sustainability outcomes.

The packaging for the new beef range is fully recyclable and made from 90 per cent recycled and plant-based sources, an Australian innovation by Plantic.

“As part of our ongoing sustainability journey, Coles is exploring further opportunities to partner with our suppliers on sustainability initiatives, so we can ensure a better future for generations to come,” Mr Cain said.

Mr Ritchie’s Mansfield farm has been supplying Coles for 10 years.

“We are really pleased to be part of the carbon neutral beef project with Coles,” he said.

“We are always looking to produce the finest quality beef with a strong commitment to environmental and animal welfare values, that are backed up with an evidence-based approach to our decision making.”

As part of the carbon neutral beef program, Coles works with farmers to identify ways to reduce emissions from their operations, such as using renewable energy, changing herd management practices for more efficient reproduction and to maximise growth, and use of genetic selection to improve herd health.

Over the past two years, Coles has been working with Dr Stephen Wiedemann, principal research scientist at Integrity Ag & Environment, to study innovative ways tree planting and vegetation can help reduce net carbon emissions on beef farms through carbon sequestration.

Carbon stored in trees is then included in the farm’s ‘carbon account’ and reduces the overall emissions associated with the farm’s production — a process known as carbon ‘insetting’, in which the process of reducing emissions is carried out at or directly related to their source.

Coles is the first to pilot insetting as part of the Federal Government’s Climate Active program, a partnership between government and Australian businesses to drive voluntary climate action.