The partnership is part of an FAO-led strategy to improve the measurement and performance of environmental impacts caused by the livestock industry. Part of a three-year project, the partnership includes activities to establish science-based methods and guidelines on quantifying the carbon footprint of livestock, as well as developing a database of greenhouse gas emission factors.
The greenhouse gas emission database will, according to the IMS, assess emissions produced from animal feed production, which will then be used to make improvements.
It is the job of the IMS to represent the global beef, lamb and pork associations only, and other international associations will represent the poultry, dairy and feed sectors.
The main goal of the partnership is to attain a balanced outcome from the main stakeholder groups, which are composed of representatives from governments, the private sector as well as civil society and non-government organisations.
The IMS says livestock raising and the consumption of animal products provide a crucial contribution to the economic and nutritional well-being of millions of people from around the world. As well as affecting people, the IMS says, livestock production also has an affect on the environment, yet it adds raising livestock can also contribute positively to natural resources, such as land, water and biodiversity.
Governments, at the recent Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference, agreed it was important to make agricultural production more sustainable. They also acknowledged a need to move towards more sustainable livestock production systems.
According to IMS, it is currently difficult to compare results and set priorities for the continuous improvement of environmental performance along current supply chains, as there are so many methods used to measure and assess the industry. With this in mind, the IMS says, the partnership will work on a number of fronts to “strengthen the science of environmental benchmarking of livestock supply chains”.
IMS president Arturo Llavallol said: “The meat industry must work together to demonstrate its commitment to sustainably meeting market demand. The IMS Sustainable Meat Committee, under the leadership of Patrick Moore, has a crucial role to ensure that this partnership with FAO meets the multiple objectives of economic development, climate change, and food security.”