Monday, June 17, 2024

Coles first Aussie supermarket to offer carbon neutral beef

Coles has launched Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef, which includes seven premium quality cuts of beef.

According to Coles, it is the first major Australian supermarket to launch a certified own brand carbon neutral beef product. It will be available in Victorian stores from this week, followed by a national rollout over the next 12 months.

Coles CEO Steven Cain says the launch is a great example of the retailer working with suppliers to achieve better sustainability outcomes.

“When we announced our sustainability strategy just over a year ago, we said we’d work with all our stakeholders to achieve our Together to Zero emissions ambitions and to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket,” he says.

“Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef is a testament to the hard work of our beef producers and their commitment to sustainable practices, and we’re thrilled that they’re taking this important step with us.”

In further sustainability efforts, the packaging for the new beef range is fully recyclable and made from 90% recycled and plant-based sources.

Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef will carry the Climate Active stamp to help customers identify the certified beef on shelves. Climate Active certification is awarded to businesses and organisations that have credibly reached a state of achieving net zero emissions for their products, services or other initiatives.

Behind the beef

Over the past two years, Coles has been working with beef farmers across Victoria and NSW to help calculate and reduce their emissions. This, says the retailer, has resulted in emissions that are 19% below the Australian national average.

Among the methods of reducing emissions have been renewable energy, changing herd management practices for more efficient reproduction and to maximise growth, and the use of genetic selection to improve herd health.

Coles has also 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,” says the retailer.

Coles is said to be 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.

“The Coles carbon neutral beef initiative, and the information we have gained along the way about how we can reduce carbon emissions on farms through better herd performance and tree planting, will be invaluable to farmers everywhere,” says Mr Wiedemann.

In addition, Coles is purchasing Australian Carbon Credit Units from the Armoobilla Regeneration Project in south-west Queensland to cover emissions that fall outside the scope of the insetting measures, such as those involved in processing and transporting the beef to stores, ensuring that the range achieves carbon neutral status.

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