Great Southern provides transparency on JBS Farm Assurance cattle emissions, completing Australia’s largest grass-fed, grass-finished beef carbon footprint

Press Release May 29, 2024
  • JBS Australia has completed one of the largest surveys of grass-fed cattle globally
  • 176 carbon footprints were independently collected from producers in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia
  • The carbon footprint emissions project is verified to ISO Standard 14067, meeting the strict nature set by the JBS Farm Assurance program, which is verified to ISO Standard 17065

Continuing on the journey to create great brands that support great agricultural practices, JBS Farm Assurance has partnered with industry leading agri-environmental research and consultancy firm IntegrityAg and the Australian Meant Processor Corporation to complete Australia’s largest grass-fed, grass-finished beef cattle carbon emissions baseline. Created under the JBS Farm Assurance seven pillars of sustainability, the partnership is set to increase transparency throughout the beef value chain, from cattle producers to consumers.

The survey is based on an interstate and varied sample of 176 carbon footprints from farms implementing regenerative agricultural practices. Baselines were established with critical emission contributors such as fuel, water, electricity, transport, and production figures measured and verified by the IntegrityAg team. The baseline was also geographically diverse, including cattle from the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, South-East, South Australia, Gippsland, Victoria, and King Island and the mainland of Tasmania. The initiative established a carbon emission baseline of 11.6kg CO2e/kg Live Weight – 12% below the national Australian average of 13.1kg CO2e/kg Live Weight.

Dr Stephen Wiedemann from IntegrityAg said, “The JBS Farm Assurance program, Australia’s largest premium grass-fed beef and lamb supply chain, has completed a carbon baseline assessment that measures the carbon footprint of a sample of JBS Farm Assurance cattle properties.”

“Reliable and repeatable measurement is key to having a benchmark that can be trusted, and to reporting improvement over time. This has been a major focus for Integrity Ag in our work to support the JBS Farm Assurance program. The methodology of this carbon baseline assessment is compliant with the national published benchmark (Australian Beef Sustainability Framework), ISO 14067 (2018) and the UN FAO LEAP guidelines for beef carbon footprints. In Australia, a trend has emerged where producers are conducting self-evaluations using simple calculators, but these do not meet the ISO Standard, 14067

(2018) of a carbon footprint, reducing consistency and reliability in the results. In contrast, Baselines that meet these rigorous standards such as this JBS Farm Assurance baseline, are imperative moving forward to understand the impact and true opportunity to draw down carbon emissions on farm. All data in this program was independently collected and checked which is key to results that can be trusted and relied on.”

“This study has been a unique insight into a large-scale closed beef supply chain that is tied to actual brands, showing impacts from grass-fed beef lower than the Australian average. The study also provides a comparison to other global studies. IntegrityAg will continue to work collaboratively with JBS Farm Assurance, and has begun the carbon baseline assessment for sheep.”

Since 2013, the JBS Farm Assurance program has third-party audited on-farm production practices such as grass-fed, free-range, and no added antibiotics, hormones or GMOs. These claims underpin a suite of premium grass-fed brands, including Great Southern, Pinnacle Beef, Little Joe Beef, King Island Beef and Hereford Boss. Calculating an accurate carbon emissions baseline reflective of these practices was the next critical step in continuing to support sustainable sourcing and regenerative on-farm practices. Acceptance into the JBS Farm Assurance program is by invitation only, and suppliers must meet the standards outlined in the JBS Farm Assurance manual that is audited on-farm by third-party, Bureau Veritas (BVAQ).

Chief Operations Officer of JBS Southern Sam McConnell said this data will help inform future carbon management initiatives at the producer and processor level:

“We want to thank our JBS Farm Assurance producer partners who were instrumental in gathering this critical carbon data. We now have compelling farm-level, data-driven insights into our cattle supply chain’s Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas emissions.

“This project is the first step to be able to understand what is happening on-farm and how herd and grazing management can benefit both the environment and farmer, and to have a carbon footprint that meets national and global estimation guidelines is standard of JBS Farm Assurance.

“Consumers are seeking greater supply chain transparency and understanding of both where their food comes from and how it is produced. This project can help inform consumers about the value of on-farm practices to protect and enhance natural resources while also supporting improved farm productivity.

“We believe our JBS Farm Assurance producer partners are excellent farm managers. We are pleased to learn that the sample data collected do date,  shows an estimated lower-than-average carbon footprint.

“We started planning this work in 2020 and have been diligent to ensure that best practice was implemented to accurately measure this data, and to align to the strict standards of the JBS Farm Assurance program and its seven pillars of sustainability.

 While this required a meticulous data collection process, the assessment gathered invaluable insights to understand how we can make a difference starting at the farm-level.

 “Great Southern is known for delivering red meat experiences beyond expectations, and that is made possible through the commitment of our producers for consumers who are passionate about premium products sourced from sustainable origins.”

Great Southern beef producers Rob and Joan Liley, said: “Owning land is a privilege, not a right. In order to leave our properties in better shape than we found them to the next generation, it is our responsibility to take care of them.

"My experience as a farmer has taught me that simple things can make a substantial difference. We have found that by planting shelter belts along the fence line of every paddock not only do livestock have protection from the weather, and native animals a place to be, but we increase our productivity by 15%, and by switching to troughs instead of dams, we increase our productivity by a further 15%. That's 30% right there, a good reason to be interested in regenerative farming practices if you ask me."

 Rob and Joan Liley have been farming in Gippsland for 65 years and have been leaders within the JBS Farm Assurance group in the space of sustainability, biodiversity and regenerative farming practices benefiting on-farm production.

 Learnings from the Southern division’s JBS Farm Assurance program will be shared across the JBS Australia business and industry to accelerate sustainability outcomes across the red meat industry.


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About JBS Australia

JBS Australia is the largest meat and food processor in Australia with more than 15,000 team members and a strong portfolio of leading beef, lamb, pork, salmon, and value-added branded products. JBS globally is the largest animal protein business and the largest food company in the world, with operations in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The JBS Southern division operates five beef and lamb processing facilities and one feedlot across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Southern Australia, including the Scone beef facility.

About JBS Farm Assurance

JBS Farm Assurance is a pioneering initiative by JBS Australia, committed to setting new benchmarks in transparency, trust, and sustainability in the food industry. For over a decade, our program has been at the forefront of promoting and auditing regenerative farming practices, ensuring the humane treatment of livestock. Supported by rigorous third-party on-farm audits conducted by Bureau Veritas (BVAQ). At the heart of JBS Farm Assurance is a belief in the power of mateship — transparency between farmer, processor, and consumer — to create products that are great for the animal, the eating quality and the planet. With every audit, project or conversation, we are certifying tradition and creating great change, ensuring a great future for all stakeholders in the JBS Farm Assurance supply chain.

About IntegrityAg

Integrity Ag is Australia’s leading sustainability consultancy in agri-food and fibre supply chains, delivering baseline and reporting, insetting and offsetting, decarbonisation and advisory services to major Australian businesses from primary production to retail.