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by Kate Rowell, Quality Meat Scotland
10 November 2022
Associate Feature: How we as the Scottish red  meat industry are going to  tackle climate change, practically

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Associate Feature: How we as the Scottish red meat industry are going to tackle climate change, practically

There are thousands of different businesses that contribute to the red meat industry, from farmers to processors, and allied industries in between; all with different roles and resources, needs and priorities. Tackling any singular issue is a challenge, but especially when, such as with the climate and nature emergencies, we know that without urgent action, the point at which we can make changes that result in positive impact diminishes.

The diversity of our sector means there are no one-size solutions and it can be a challenge for businesses to navigate the options and market demands and, importantly, decide where to spend time and money especially as the landscape, quite literally, changes.

In 2019, The Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group was formed to establish a collaborative mechanism to tackle the red meat sector’s big issues, with voices from across the supply chain. One of the first priorities was to support our industry to reach the net zero goals laid out by Scottish Government.

With the insights gained from the collaborative discussion in this group over the last three years, in Our Steak In the Ground manifesto, we committed to five pledges and tangible actions to support the red meat sector on the journey to net zero. In addition to this, we have also commissioned a science-based route map to net zero that will be published later in 2023, giving our red meat supply chains clarity on how collectively we can meet the net zero ambition, and ensure we can capitalise on the market opportunity from doing so. 

The aim is to offer over-arching support up and down the supply chain to build long-term sustainability into businesses of every size and geography, striving to become world leaders in climate- and nature-friendly red meat production in line with Scottish Government’s own goals to be renowned worldwide for environmental excellence.


This is a short introduction to the five pledges:

We will drive COLLABORATION across the wider Food and Drink industry.

By working collectively, we can maximise the resources and tools available, avoid duplication, share learnings and enhance the circular economy to accelerate the road to net zero. With the group’s insights, alongside ongoing conversation with Government and stakeholders, we want to identify and prioritise areas for investment to enable businesses to deliver on their sustainable goals. 

We will instigate CHANGE by supporting all businesses in the red meat sector to transition with ease and impact. 

Sharing useful resources and insights, we aim to give business owners the evidence base and confidence to make sound management and investment decisions. 

We will utilise INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY & DATA for businesses to capture the full value of being sustainable. 

Making change in the red meat sector is not looking at a three-second process in a widget factory. Livestock production is reliant on breeding cycles over years. Working with Scottish Government, we want to see increased investment in science that not only pays environmental dividends but which accurately accounts for the carbon sequestration already taking place on farmland.

We will prioritise RESKILLING AND UPSKILLING in sustainable practice

We’ll work with Government to expand relevant qualifications, recognised by the industry, and increase opportunities for employment, personal and career growth in the sector.

We will build BRAND IMAGE to sustain and build the positive narrative

We will demonstrate to consumers and other stakeholders our commitment to addressing global challenges and the story of green red meat, and in particular the inherent value of its production in protecting and promoting our landscapes and the climate.

Link to full paper and pledges: 

Red meat production in Scotland makes exceptional use of the natural resources available to us as a nation and has a significant role in the net zero journey. Working collaboratively across the sector, and with our civil servants and policy makers, from soil health to greener logistics will give Scotland the very best chance of becoming world leading in climate- and nature-friendly red meat production.

About: The Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group is an industry leadership body designed to provide a collaborative working mechanism for key membership organisations within the Scottish red meat sector. Membership consists of representation from NFU Scotland, the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Craft Butchers, the Institute of Auctioneer and Appraisers in Scotland, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, the National Sheep Association Scotland, Scottish Beef Association and the Pig Industry Leadership Group. It is chaired by Kate Rowell, Chair of Quality Meat Scotland. 

Kate Rowell is Chair of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Red Meat Resilience Group.

This article is sponsored by Quality Meat Scotland.

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Read the most recent article written by Kate Rowell, Quality Meat Scotland - Associate Feature: There is no Good Food Nation without quality red meat.

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