A new Scottish beef industry organisation has been launched, it is being announced. The Beef Environment Scotland (BES) “offers a united voice to the Scottish beef industry to tackle significant environmental challenges,” said BES acting chief executive Neil Gibson on Thursday.
The main issues that BES aims to tackle include protecting plant and animal genetic resources, reducing the carbon footprint of the industry, sustainable use of water, and energy conservation. The organisation’s goals are now being developed with the input of a Scottish Beef Industry Environmental Advisory Group.
Environmental pressures are already having an impact on Scottish agriculture. Surveys by the industry had already highlighted an estimated 5.4m tonnes of CO2 emissions from cold production facilities in Scotland, with an estimated total cost of £215m per year in replacing the facilities with more climate-friendly technologies.
This threat to Scotland’s beef industry was highlighted in 2015 when Business in the Community Scotland highlighted climate change as the greatest threat to Scotland’s farming sector.
“This new campaign is an ambitious and clear opportunity to represent all elements of the red meat sector in one great unified voice,” Mr Gibson said.
“Our aim is to create a sense of shared understanding and to make policy-makers and decision-makers understand that the issues facing the whole sector are complex and multi-faceted. We want to help them to see the links between climate change, water use, sheep activity, land and energy conservation.”
The new organisation will work closely with the Scottish Government in helping to promote Scotland as a desirable location for food production.