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"Tyson’s 5.95Mt of meat products release 730k t of eutrophying emissions, contributing to dead zones."

The Impaakt Team

7 min Read Time | April 22nd 2022

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What is Tyson's meat products' impact on the environment?

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Written by: S K

Company: Tyson Foods

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production


Read the full article below.

"Tyson’s 5.95Mt of meat products release 730k t of eutrophying emissions, contributing to dead zones."

Globally, 94% of all mammal biomass (excluding humans) is used as livestock in food & agriculture1. Agriculture is responsible for 78% of global eutrophication (waterway pollution with nutrients)1. Increased concentration of organic materials leads to water blooms that reduce oxygen concentration, creating deadzones1,2. One kg of beef results in 365g of eutrophying emissions, while one kg of pork & poultry result in 76.38g & 48.7g resp.1. Agriculture uses 50% of the global habitable land & is also responsible for 70% of global freshwater withdrawals1. It takes 13.3kg of grains & 21m3 of water to produce 1kg of meat3. Agriculture is also responsible for 5.8M ha of forest loss, most of which occurs in Latin America & Southeast Asia4.

Tyson Foods (TF), an American food company, had sales of $47bn (FY21); 37% from beef, 29% from chicken, 11% from pork & 19% from prepared foods8. TF produced around 6.28M beef heads (1.25Mt10), 21.46M pork heads (1.7Mt11) & 1.9B chicken heads (3Mt12,15) during the fiscal period8. From all its meat procurement, TF generated over 730kt of eutrophying emissions & consumed 16.6Mt of grains & 26B m3 of water just for its beef raising3. TF also purchased 8.4kt of crude palm oil & 2.2Mt of soy16;p7,8.

≈5% of TF's cattle products are sourced from forest risk nations or are untraceable to their origin16;p11. TF sources part of its cattle & soy from forest risk nations/regions like Brazil, Southeast Asia, China & Kazakhstan14,16. In 2019, TF purchased a 40% stake in Brazil-based Vibra Foods13, increasing its exposure to deforestation in its beef & soy supply chain. TF has not been linked to deforestation in the past years.

TF operates 50% of the slaughtering plants in Arkansas, producing 821.5kt of chicken and 40kt of eutrophying emissions. Arkansas is one of the states that contributes to the creation of the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone, which receives 1.5Mt of nitrogen/year20;p2 19;p6,18.

TF’s meat sourcing has a high impact on the environment.



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