Meat & Livestock News

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Meat Sector: A Comprehensive Study

Executive Summary:

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has established an ambitious objective: by 2030, every member should have greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets endorsed by the Science-Based Targets (SBT) Initiative.

This is part of NAMI’s broader strategy to enhance five key areas in line with global objectives consistently.

As of June 2023, 12 NAMI members have either set or publicly pledged to establish SBTs. However, while conducting GHG assessments, many members have highlighted a lack of technical resources for guidance.

To bridge this information gap, NAMI collaborated with the United Nations Global Compact Network USA (UNGC USA) to produce this in-depth case study on GHG emission surveys. This study, penned by industry experts, offers invaluable insights for companies of all sizes.

The initial step towards setting an SBT is to conduct a comprehensive inventory of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. This GHG emission survey guide is designed to assist companies in applying SBT methodologies and creating GHG inventories.

It provides definitions, references to the GHG Protocol and other international standards, data collection methods, alternative calculation techniques, and additional resources. All data used is real but anonymised to safeguard proprietary information.

Furthermore, this tool offers a tangible example, guiding readers through defining a company’s operational boundaries and measuring its emissions. It complements the foundational training provided by the UNGC USA’s Climate Ambition Accelerator programme.


This case study offers a practical guide for meat companies to conduct detailed inventories of Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions. It is based on real emissions inventory work by the authors, representing both large and small processors.

A fictional company, “Longmont Sausage”, is used for illustrative purposes.

The motivation behind this study is clear: while increasing companies recognise the importance of setting science-based GHG reduction targets, there’s a noticeable lack of technical resources. This collaboration between the authors, NAMI, and UNGC USA aims to address this need.

This document targets operational and sustainability experts within meat companies and their partners. While the case study is technical, its executive summary underscores the significance of GHG surveys in the meat sector.

Determining Organisational and Operational Boundaries

Companies must account for and report their consolidated GHG data based on the equity share or control approach.

Longmont Sausage, for instance, owns and operates multiple production facilities across various locations.

For this study, operations are grouped based on their unique carbon-emitting activities. An ‘upset chart’ systematically identifies gaps in the emissions inventory.