Working for a global protein leader and one of the largest food companies in the country, we’re often asked: what is Tyson Foods doing to help address some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges?
Tyson Foods has taken meaningful steps to advance our ESG Strategy: The Formula to Feed the Future, which includes how we’re reimagining our people and community impact, driving product responsibility and working toward sustaining natural resources and the planet. We were the first U.S.-based protein company in the food and beverage sector to receive approval on our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets by the Science Based Targets initiative. In 2020, we became the first U.S.-based food company to work to verify our independent suppliers’ sustainable cattle production at scale. These are just a few examples, but with demand growing for affordable, nutritious protein, we have pushed ourselves to take bold action on one of our most complex sustainability efforts.
Over the past two years, we’ve undertaken a collaborative process to explore how to address a key GHG emissions source in our value chain: beef production.
Today, we continue building a more sustainable beef industry by introducing the first-of-its-kind Climate-Smart Beef Program, which combines tried-and-true rancher ingenuity with the latest data and technology. The program includes the development of an accounting framework to model GHG emissions for cattle from pasture to production. The framework is coupled with an incentive for farmers and ranchers who adopt climate-smart agricultural practices that help reduce GHG emissions and may minimize erosion, improve water quality and conserve habitats.
Through the Climate-Smart Beef Program, we can now track beef emissions at the individual animal level and work with our feedlot partners to share the data with producers so they can continue to build on their sustainable agriculture practices. To model these emissions, data – for example, farm management data and operational information – is collected and verified through third-party auditors such as Where Food Comes From, Inc.
We know that many farmers and ranchers are already doing meaningful work in this space. Our approach enables us to have a deeper relationship with them, one that strives for continuous improvement in our value chain. By providing farmers and ranchers with data, we hope to help them implement climate-smart agricultural practices, resulting in managing more farmland in our supply chain with regenerative methods, such as rotational grazing, silvopasture and tree management, and waterway and riparian management. We hope these efforts will also help rebuild and enrich the soil, absorb more carbon and retain more water, promote healthy grasslands and improve biodiversity.
We are also proud to introduce Brazen™ Beef, which leveraged information and data obtained through the Climate-Smart Beef Program to become the first beef product to receive USDA approval for a “climate-friendly” claim by demonstrating a 10% GHG reduction from pasture to production against the standard emissions for conventionally raised beef. Brazen™ Beef fulfills consumer demand for a high-quality beef product with reduced GHG emissions, and we look forward to launching it in select markets through retailers and other customers later this year.
Progress doesn’t happen in a silo. We developed this best-in-class framework in conjunction with many stakeholders and leaders in the space. Environmental Defense Fund helped incorporate an adapted version of its scientifically robust methodology to assess nitrous oxide emissions in our value chain, and The Nature Conservancy helped enhance the accounting framework with information on cow/calf producer production practices that work to foster biodiversity and ecosystem balance. Tyson Foods also worked closely with Adams Land & Cattle, one of our Climate-Smart Beef Program supply partners at the cutting edge of beef production data management, and Deloitte, our technical expert consulting on the development of the program framework. We are thankful for their collaboration and expertise.
At Tyson Foods, we believe the future of beef can be both climate-friendly and consumer-friendly. We look forward to partnering with more farmers and ranchers as we continue to work to build a more equitable and resilient food system for current and future generations.