Greenhouse gas emissions from pig and chicken supply chains

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The livestock sector is one of the fastest growing subsectors of the agricultural economy, and faces several unprecedented and concomitant challenges. The sector needs to respond to the increasing demands for livestock products that are arising from population growth and changing consumer preferences. It also has to adapt to changes in the economic and policy contexts, and in the natural environment upon which production depends. At the same time, it has to improve its environmental performance and mitigate its impact on climate. The pig sector is the biggest contributor to global meat production, with 37 percent in 2010. Chicken meat accounts for about 24 percent. Global demand for pig meat, chicken meat and chicken eggs are forecast to grow by 32 percent, 61 percent and 39 percent respectively during the period 2005-2030. If the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions intensities (emission intensity; or the kg of GHG per kg of product) of these commodities are not reduced, the increases in production required to meet demand will lead to proportionate increases in GHG emissions. Improving our understanding of where and why emissions arise in livestock supply chains is an important step towards identifying ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions intensity. This report presents a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the GHG emissions arising from pig and chicken supply chains. It provides a detailed analysis of emissions according to region, sector and systems of production. In addition to informing efforts to reduce GHG emissions, it is hoped that the assessment will also help inform public debate on this important subject.

Image credit: FAO

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