Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain

Li Xue, Neele Prass, Sebastian Gollnow, Jennifer Davis, Silvia Scherhaufer, Karin Östergren, Shengkui Cheng, Gang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Meat production and consumption contribute significantly to environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions can be reduced via various strategies ranging from production efficiency improvement to process optimization, food waste reduction, trade pattern change, and diet structure change. On the basis of a material flow analysis approach, we mapped the dry matter mass and energy balance of the meat (including beef, pork, and poultry) supply chain in Germany and discussed the emission reduction potential of different mitigation strategies in an integrated and mass-balance consistent framework. Our results reaffirmed the low energy conversion efficiency of the meat supply chain (among which beef was the least efficient) and the high GHG emissions at the meat production stage. While diet structure change (either reducing the meat consumption or substituting meat by edible offal) showed the highest emissions reduction potential, eliminating meat waste in retailing and consumption and byproducts generation in slaughtering and processing were found to have profound effect on emissions reduction as well. The rendering of meat byproducts and waste treatment were modeled in detail, adding up to a net environmental benefit of about 5% of the entire supply chain GHG emissions. The combined effects based on assumed high levels of changes of important mitigation strategies, in a rank order considering the level of difficulty of implementation, showed that the total emission could be reduced by 43% comparing to the current level, implying a tremendous opportunity for sustainably feeding the planet by 2050.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume53
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)5133-5142
Number of pages10
ISSN0013-936X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7. May 2019

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Carbon footprint
carbon footprint
Meats
meat
Supply chains
Gas emissions
Greenhouse gases
Beef
greenhouse gas
Nutrition
Byproducts
mass balance
mitigation
material flow analysis
diet
Poultry
retailing
Waste treatment
waste treatment
Planets

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Xue, L., Prass, N., Gollnow, S., Davis, J., Scherhaufer, S., Östergren, K., ... Liu, G. (2019). Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain. Environmental Science and Technology, 53(9), 5133-5142. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06079
Xue, Li ; Prass, Neele ; Gollnow, Sebastian ; Davis, Jennifer ; Scherhaufer, Silvia ; Östergren, Karin ; Cheng, Shengkui ; Liu, Gang. / Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2019 ; Vol. 53, No. 9. pp. 5133-5142.
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title = "Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain",
abstract = "Meat production and consumption contribute significantly to environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions can be reduced via various strategies ranging from production efficiency improvement to process optimization, food waste reduction, trade pattern change, and diet structure change. On the basis of a material flow analysis approach, we mapped the dry matter mass and energy balance of the meat (including beef, pork, and poultry) supply chain in Germany and discussed the emission reduction potential of different mitigation strategies in an integrated and mass-balance consistent framework. Our results reaffirmed the low energy conversion efficiency of the meat supply chain (among which beef was the least efficient) and the high GHG emissions at the meat production stage. While diet structure change (either reducing the meat consumption or substituting meat by edible offal) showed the highest emissions reduction potential, eliminating meat waste in retailing and consumption and byproducts generation in slaughtering and processing were found to have profound effect on emissions reduction as well. The rendering of meat byproducts and waste treatment were modeled in detail, adding up to a net environmental benefit of about 5{\%} of the entire supply chain GHG emissions. The combined effects based on assumed high levels of changes of important mitigation strategies, in a rank order considering the level of difficulty of implementation, showed that the total emission could be reduced by 43{\%} comparing to the current level, implying a tremendous opportunity for sustainably feeding the planet by 2050.",
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Xue, L, Prass, N, Gollnow, S, Davis, J, Scherhaufer, S, Östergren, K, Cheng, S & Liu, G 2019, 'Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 5133-5142. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06079

Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain. / Xue, Li; Prass, Neele; Gollnow, Sebastian; Davis, Jennifer; Scherhaufer, Silvia; Östergren, Karin; Cheng, Shengkui; Liu, Gang.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 53, No. 9, 07.05.2019, p. 5133-5142.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain

AU - Xue, Li

AU - Prass, Neele

AU - Gollnow, Sebastian

AU - Davis, Jennifer

AU - Scherhaufer, Silvia

AU - Östergren, Karin

AU - Cheng, Shengkui

AU - Liu, Gang

PY - 2019/5/7

Y1 - 2019/5/7

N2 - Meat production and consumption contribute significantly to environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions can be reduced via various strategies ranging from production efficiency improvement to process optimization, food waste reduction, trade pattern change, and diet structure change. On the basis of a material flow analysis approach, we mapped the dry matter mass and energy balance of the meat (including beef, pork, and poultry) supply chain in Germany and discussed the emission reduction potential of different mitigation strategies in an integrated and mass-balance consistent framework. Our results reaffirmed the low energy conversion efficiency of the meat supply chain (among which beef was the least efficient) and the high GHG emissions at the meat production stage. While diet structure change (either reducing the meat consumption or substituting meat by edible offal) showed the highest emissions reduction potential, eliminating meat waste in retailing and consumption and byproducts generation in slaughtering and processing were found to have profound effect on emissions reduction as well. The rendering of meat byproducts and waste treatment were modeled in detail, adding up to a net environmental benefit of about 5% of the entire supply chain GHG emissions. The combined effects based on assumed high levels of changes of important mitigation strategies, in a rank order considering the level of difficulty of implementation, showed that the total emission could be reduced by 43% comparing to the current level, implying a tremendous opportunity for sustainably feeding the planet by 2050.

AB - Meat production and consumption contribute significantly to environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions can be reduced via various strategies ranging from production efficiency improvement to process optimization, food waste reduction, trade pattern change, and diet structure change. On the basis of a material flow analysis approach, we mapped the dry matter mass and energy balance of the meat (including beef, pork, and poultry) supply chain in Germany and discussed the emission reduction potential of different mitigation strategies in an integrated and mass-balance consistent framework. Our results reaffirmed the low energy conversion efficiency of the meat supply chain (among which beef was the least efficient) and the high GHG emissions at the meat production stage. While diet structure change (either reducing the meat consumption or substituting meat by edible offal) showed the highest emissions reduction potential, eliminating meat waste in retailing and consumption and byproducts generation in slaughtering and processing were found to have profound effect on emissions reduction as well. The rendering of meat byproducts and waste treatment were modeled in detail, adding up to a net environmental benefit of about 5% of the entire supply chain GHG emissions. The combined effects based on assumed high levels of changes of important mitigation strategies, in a rank order considering the level of difficulty of implementation, showed that the total emission could be reduced by 43% comparing to the current level, implying a tremendous opportunity for sustainably feeding the planet by 2050.

U2 - 10.1021/acs.est.8b06079

DO - 10.1021/acs.est.8b06079

M3 - Journal article

C2 - 30968696

AN - SCOPUS:85064858412

VL - 53

SP - 5133

EP - 5142

JO - Environmental Science & Technology (Washington)

JF - Environmental Science & Technology (Washington)

SN - 0013-936X

IS - 9

ER -

Xue L, Prass N, Gollnow S, Davis J, Scherhaufer S, Östergren K et al. Efficiency and Carbon Footprint of the German Meat Supply Chain. Environmental Science and Technology. 2019 May 7;53(9):5133-5142. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06079