22 Nov 2018 --- Start-up The Ethical Butcher is launching a new meat box delivery service with a difference – it aims to deliver “carbon negative meat” to households across the UK. The London-based company is raising funds to create what it describes as a “craft beef revolution” through a crowdfunding campaign which taps into the growing demand for ethically-produced, sustainably-sourced and environmentally conscious meat products.
The Ethical Butcher’s “craft beef” will come from 100 percent grass-fed animals with bespoke tasting notes dependent upon where, how and by whom it was produced.
The business values and practices sustained and promoted by the Ethical Butcher tap into major themes like sustainability and closely follow global concerns about how meat consumption impacts climate change.
At the same time, they allay concerns about the environmental impact of meat production so that Britain’s meat industry can regain consumers’ trust and continue to thrive, according to CEO and Founder Farshad Kazemian.
“Having worked in the meat industry for over 15 years in Smithfield Market and beyond, I understand that quality and sustainability are absolutely paramount if the industry is to flourish in the long term,” he says.
“As a sector, we’ve come under significant criticism for being unsustainable and unethical in our processes and practices. This is why I’m kick-starting a ‘craft beef’ revolution: to give consumers the high-quality meat products they desire while ensuring the production process reflects and respects growing concerns surrounding climate change and sustainable food production.”
“I know the meat industry can not only reduce its carbon emissions but reverse them. The holistic management method of farming produces up to one inch of new soil per year – a process which would take 500 – 1000 years to occur naturally – and therefore has a decisively positive impact on the planet and the UK’s biodiversity. We’re also protecting farmers’ futures, as the demand for sustainable meat is only going to increase, and unsustainable farming methods will no longer be accepted.”
The launch of Ethical Butcher closely follows in-depth analysis involving the University of Oxford and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany (among other researchers) which recently assessed the global food system’s environmental impact, a significant driver of climate change.
Key findings include how dietary changes are needed to slow the impact of climate change and how meat consumption should be dramatically reduced in favor of plant-based diets. Considerable changes in farming are needed to avoid the dangers of a warming planet and the challenges of feeding a growing population in a world with more drought, floods and extreme heat.
In October, the world's leading body of climate change experts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued its stark warnings about limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C. This, it said, could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, but it would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. The IPCC study says that a rise of more than 1.5°C is risking the planet’s livability and this could be exceeded by 2030 unless drastic steps are taken now.
The Ethical Butcher launch comes at a time when mindfulness in food is at an all-time high. More than ever before traceability is a key issue for consumers who want to know where their food comes from and how it ended up on their plate. It’s part of a broader trend, “Mindful Choices”, that has developed this year as tipped by Innova Market Insights' as the top trend for 2018.
The meat industry has to be particularly careful and thorough in how it presents a strong sourcing and origin message.
The Ethical Butcher plans to train its selected farmers in holistic management in a bid to improve the UK's biodiversity and potentially reverse soil carbon losses. The startup will work with the Pasture for Life Association and its certified farmers to help take a number of farmers through a specialized year-long course in better managing their grasslands in order to offset carbon emissions and work towards the production of carbon negative meat.
According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports, the holistic management method could sequester substantial amounts of carbon in soils over time;
potentially reversing historical soil carbon losses through increased productivity and the rehabilitation of degraded grasslands.
Every new ton of soil created through the holistic management system removes 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby offsetting the effects of climate change and sequestering more greenhouse gases than the animals produce.
Farmers trained in holistic management start with a full bio-diversity audit of their land; and to stay certified, its biodiversity has to increase year on year. Only when farms are achieving a set standard of sustainable practices will their meat be sourced for the Ethical Butcher supply chain.
This means purchasing meat from the start-up will see consumers actively contribute to improving the biodiversity of the UK’s landscapes, according to the company.
But first, the company is raising funds via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. In return for a minimum £350,000 (US$447,545) raise, The Ethical Butcher will be giving away 19.44 percent equity in the business.
“We’re disrupting the meat market as we know it, giving consumers a unique opportunity to make a positive difference to the planet through their food choices, and their early investment in our vision,” adds Kazemian.
“The crowdfunding campaign will give us the kick start we need to become the number one supplier of ethical meat so that our valued and respected industry can play its crucial part in combating the effects of climate change.”
The funding from the campaign will be used to create purpose-built premises in central London, where meat can be stored, butchered, aged and packaged. This will reduce the product’s carbon footprint and make it possible for the firm to sustain a next day delivery service on all its online orders.
Customers who purchase meat from The Ethical Butcher will have their sustainably produced, carbon-friendly meat delivered to their doorsteps packaged in biodegradable WoolCool: a compostable form of packaging that is a byproduct of rearing sheep.
Products will also arrive with tasting notes outlining how and where they were grown, with the Ethical Butcher’s limited supply of craft products from select farms and animals reflecting the company’s commitment to taste, quality and sustainability.
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