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20 February 2024

HCC Webinar Emphasises Welsh Farmers’ Role in Climate Action

Farmers in Wales are at the heart of the solution when it comes to climate change – that was the key message from Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) at a recent industry webinar which provided an insight into consumer data, marketing activity, as well as an update on other critical work streams HCC carries out on behalf of the industry. 

HCC’s Head of Sustainability and Future Policy, Rachael Madeley-Davies, outlined some of the innovative work HCC is doing on behalf of its levy payers and stressed the unique position farmers are in when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and playing an active role in tackling climate change.

She said:

“We have world class renowned brands in our Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and Pork from Wales and they are associated with a carbon efficient way of farming and a holistic approach. Our livestock systems enhance biodiversity and the way we farm positively impacts soil health, water quality and air quality, but we now need to start evidencing those credentials with data.”

Mrs. Madeley-Davies added that it is about being able to prove those claims and showcase why the way farmers produce food here in Wales sets the industry apart from other production systems across the world.

“The climate and nature crisis are intrinsically linked and on a human level it is important that we take this seriously and take some action. This is where carbon in the supply chain comes into play and we must consider Scope 3 emissions, which includes up and downstream emissions as well as direct emissions.

“As farmers, who are part of that supply chain, we are in a unique position to address the role we play within that. Any company should consider the mantra of – measure, reduce, inset, offset – when looking at their business practices and how to reduce their carbon emissions.

“Unless you know where you are at, you’re just guessing. The current tools may not be perfect, but they give you a good indication and then we can start looking at reducing those emissions. There is a correlation between financial performance and efficiency and carbon efficiency. Carbon emissions usually mean wastage and indicate an imbalance between inputs and outputs. That means there are opportunities to save money and make our farming businesses more profitable as well as reducing our carbon impact, but you do need to know your baseline first.”

A lot of big companies automatically go to the offset stage first before looking to make reductions, Mrs Madeley-Davies told delegates:

“When looking at their carbon emissions they don’t do anything about reducing their emissions – and that’s where we start to feel the threat. Offset is a last resort, and there are good opportunities if we work together as a supply chain.

“Agriculture, other than marine, is the only industry that can sequester carbon. That puts us in a really positive position and we must embrace those opportunities to create a stronger supply chain.”

HCC will now establish how the red meat industry in Wales can lead the way in improving soil health, water quality and air quality, working with other stakeholders across the industry.

The webinar is available to watch here:

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