Literature review of beef production systems in Europe

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Commissioned by the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability, a literature review was conducted on the environmental impact of beef and leather production systems in Europe. The literature review was restricted to the studies that applied attributional LCA methods. The average carbon footprint of 20.5 kg CO2eq per kg carcass (ranged between 7.0 and 45.7 kg CO2eq per kg carcass) was found for beef production in Europe. Our literature scan showed the higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kg carcass for suckler-based systems compared to the dairy-based system. The GHG emissions of organic farms was almost similar to the non-organic farms. Comparison of a concentrate-based diet with the roughage-based diet showed the lower GHG emissions for concentrate-based diet. The review of studies for beef production systems showed a high potential for mitigating the GHG emissions. Due to high turnover and environmental impacts of leather industry, the literature review was extended to leather production. A high variation was seen in results of leather carbon footprint because of methodological differences (e.g., system boundary and functional unit), quality of product and final use of finished leather. The average carbon footprint of reviewed papers was 24.6 kg CO2eq per m2 finished leather ranged between 7.75 and 53.7 kg CO2eq per m2 finished leather.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Livestock Research
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Livestock Research


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