Pork features well in environmental survey
Retail chains are requesting more documentation
regarding the environmental aspects of products. In the UK, the terms "food
miles" and "carbon footprint" are gaining in popularity. The agricultural
faculty of the University of Aarhus in Denmark has carried out a study on
Danish, Dutch and British pork.
The "Food Miles" specification is indicated in (g COÂ²) and measures the
amount of greenhouse gas emissions during the transport of foodstuffs from the
producer to the consumer.
"Carbon Footprint" refers to the entire life cycle of a product and its
greenhouse gas emissions. This term covers the entire value chain. For the
product in question, in the case of pork, be it sausages or ham, the Life Cycle
Assessment (LCA) covers COÂ² and its equivalents.
The University carried out a life cycle analysis of pork from Denmark, the
Netherlands and the UK on behalf of the Danish Meat Association. One kilo pork
was analysed for greenhouse gas emissions for the three most important UK pork
producers in the entire production chain and for the Danish and Dutch products
only in the transport phase.
Entire production process
In the calculation of
greenhouse gas emissions, the soybean crop growing in Argentina, the feed
production in Denmark and the entire pig production chain including fertiliser
production, slaughtering and meat dispatch was included. Through adding all
emission values, a realistic value of greenhouse emissions can be calculated per
The emphasis of environmental considerations lies in the life
cycle analysis from the production phase to the delivery of the animals to the
slaughterhouse. The transport of meat causes less emissions - less than 1% of
the entire emissions in the production chain.
According to the life cycle analysis, 1kg pork contributes 3.6kg COÂ²
equivalents to global warming. As a comparison, replacing a normal 60-watt lamp
with an energy saving lamp burning for an hour provides a yearly reduction of
13kg of greenhouse emissions.
Transporting (by truck) to Munich or to Tokyo (by ship), the amount increases
to 3.7-3.8kg COÂ² equivalents per kg pork. This indicates that â€žFood Miles" do
not have much of an environmental effect.
The study revealed no large
differences between Danish, Dutch and British greenhouse gas emissions for pork.
â€¢ University of Aarhus
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