PARIS – The International Poultry Council (IPC) has joined the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and other entities in an initiative to strengthen environmental benchmarking of livestock supply chains. IPC and other groups will provide technical and financial support through private sector sources, according to the council.

Various methods are used to measure and assess the environmental impact of livestock production, which complicates efforts to compare results and improve environmental performance along supply chains, according to IPC.

The FAO Partnership Project aims to reach a common understanding of how to assess the environmental impact and performance of the livestock sector with the goal of improving performance and creating economic and socially sustainable forms of production, IPC said.

“Poultry production is already seen as one of the most efficient users of scarce natural resources,” said Jim Sumner, president of IPC. “The IPC is eager to work with the FAO in developing standard international methods for measuring the environmental impact of the global poultry and livestock industries. We’re hopeful that this project will help guide governments’ future livestock development policies, and provide a benchmark for the poultry industry to measure further improvements in our environmental performance and sustainability.”

Activities planned for the initial three-year phase of the project include:

• Establishing science-based methods and guidelines on how to quantify livestock’s carbon footprint, covering various types of livestock operations and rearing systems;

• Creating a database of greenhouse gas emission factors generated for the production of different kinds of animal feed – feed production and use offer significant opportunities for reducing livestock emissions;

• Developing a methodology for measuring other important environmental pressures, such as water consumption and nutrient losses; and

• Initiating a communications campaign to promote use of the partnership’s methodologies and findings.