Beef is raised in many of the most sensitive environmental areas around the world. Most of the world’s beef is produced in Australia, Brazil, Southern Africa and the United States. Unlike many other agricultural commodities, cattle have significant impacts on a wide range of ecosystems.
With the United Nations forecasting that global population will exceed 10 billion by the end of the century and income levels rising, demand for beef is increasing and only expected to get higher. It is thus essential to improve the sustainability of beef production globally.
There are many ways beef production—when sustainably managed—can benefit our environment. Grazing maintains the health of grasslands, improves soil quality with manure, and preserves open space and wildlife habitat. Additionally, carbon is sequestered in the grasses and soils of grazing lands. Beef is also important for health and economic development. As a nutrient-rich protein source, beef increases food security and nutrition, especially in developing countries. Beef production also provides social benefits, such as poverty alleviation and the promotion of community vibrancy.
WWF envisions a global marketplace in which all beef is sustainable. By working with producers as well as companies and their supply chains to improve the sustainability of beef production, WWF is helping ensure that consumers have choices for a safe, affordable and sustainable diet.