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Livestock Sustainability

We are at a pivotal moment in animal agriculture. Together, we can make livestock and cattle part of a sustainability solution that helps meet global challenges.

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The Challenge

2030. 60. 50. These are the key numbers to consider as conversations around climate take place now and in the near future. We have until 2030 to reduce climate warming or face irreversible harm. 60% of people are getting the wrong nutrition, according to the World Health Organization and Action Against Hunger. We’re seeing 50% more demand for protein in the next decade than the last. Livestock sit at the intersection—animals can help be part of the solution to solving some of the most pressing challenges, while giving consumers the protein they want.

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We have until 2030 to reduce climate warming or face irreversible harm.

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60% of people are getting the wrong nutrition, according to the World Health Organization and Action Against Hunger.

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We’re seeing 50% more demand for protein in the next decade than the last

Innovation Driving Sustainable Practices

Putting Producers in the Driver’s Seat

Elanco is actively creating sustainability solutions for farmers and ranchers that can reduce, measure, and monetize greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, which can help create climate-neutral farms this decade.

Innovation: For nearly 70 years, Elanco has pioneered ways to keep animals healthier and our goal is to continue to walk alongside our customers and the livestock  industry to offer sustainability solutions.  As we continue to expand and innovate in this space and introduce new solutions, Elanco aims to build a portfolio that reduces cattle emissions by 40-50%. Our initial focus is on methane as the opportunity.

Why methane? Through enteric fermentation, cows generate methane that is released. Methane lasts about a decade in the atmosphere, but it’s 25x more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat – so smaller reductions create greater impact on temperature. If we can reduce methane emissions just 20-30%, we can make a real impact and reduce climate warming, making climate-neutral farms a possibility this decade.

Measurement: To make progress and monetize sustainability efforts, farmers have to be able to measure where they are today and show they improve in the future. Elanco also developed UpLook™, an insights-based engine designed to measure and monitor greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The tool utilizes on-farm data and peer-reviewed science to identify key drivers of an operation’s carbon footprint and track the progress of their sustainability efforts. UpLook connects seamlessly to Athian’s cloud-based verification system to help farmers quantify their reduction efforts and certify carbon credits for sale.

Learn more about UpLook

Monetizing Methane Reductions 

Elanco helped create a startup called Athian which is creating a marketplace within the food system to inset carbon credits, create economic value for farmers and reputational value by for protein products by keeping the carbon value within the food system. Our commitment to our customers is to help ensure they are able to realize the value of what they are doing at the farm level.

In November 2023, Athian announced the establishment of the first-of-its-kind voluntary livestock carbon insetting marketplace, with the first accepted protocol aimed at reducing enteric methane emissions and improving feed utilization by using innovative feed management products from Elanco Animal Health. This new carbon marketplace creates an opportunity for farmers to monetize their GHG emission reductions.

  • Dairy farmers of all sizes now have the opportunity to implement on-farm sustainability interventions, measure the impact and participate in third-party verification for their greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The resulting carbon credits can be offered for sale in Athian’s livestock carbon insetting marketplace.
  • Companies in the dairy value chain (such as consumer-packaged goods companies and food retailers) can then purchase those carbon credits as contributions towards achieving their Scope 3 emissions reduction goals.
  • With the purchase of these credits, economic value is returned to the farmer via the sale while supporting the U.S. dairy industry progress towards their own environmental commitments of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.1
  • Over the long term, this marketplace will expand to other livestock & poultry.

Learn more about the first-of-its-kind livestock carbon insetting marketplace here

Learn more about Athian

The Future

In 2021, Elanco announced a partnership with Royal DSM for 3-NOP to deliver what we believe is one of the single biggest advancements in farm animal innovation. 3-NOP also represents our broader commitment to continue to bring products and solutions that reduce the overall carbon footprint of livestock production so that the U.S. can continue to be a leader in sustainable food production.  By empowering livestock producers with the tools, resources and solutions they need, we can accelerate progress. Read more about the announcement here.

1. https://www.usdairy.com/sustainability/environmental-sustainability

Additional Resources and Elanco in the News

Elanco at SXSW®: Advancing Toward Climate-Neutral Farming

Advancing toward climate-neutral farming takes revolutionary technologies, new innovations and unlikely alliances. Elanco will host two events at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) 2024 to discuss how the U.S. dairy industry is leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reduce environmental impact and drive value. These sessions, featuring industry leaders from all segments of the dairy supply chain, will cover how cows can go from "climate culprits" to being part of the solution towards climate-neutral farming, ultimately helping reduce global warming, all while creating real value on the farm and in the food chain. Learn More about the event.

New Horizons for the Agricultural Carbon Market

In September 2023, leaders from the agriculture industry, government and non-profit organizations met to discuss the future of voluntary carbon markets and how everyone—from policymakers and market participants—can work together to accelerate sustainability progress. Learn more about the event.

Elanco Adds New Tools to Advance U.S. Livestock Sustainability Efforts

Through Athian, farmers and ranchers may have a greater opportunity to keep this value within the food system so that carbon credits do not flow out of the food chain to other industries, which is often called “off-setting.” When an off-set occurs, the other industry is able to take credit for the reduction. By in-setting the credits, protein producers could potentially keep not just the economic value, but also the societal value of reducing the footprint for the products they produce. Learn more

Elanco Founding Member of Greener Cattle Initiative | Drovers

Elanco Animal Health announced its position as a founding member of the Greener Cattle Initiative, a research consortium that expects to award approximately $5 million over the next five years to support research into tangible, actionable solutions for potentially reducing enteric methane emissions from cattle, a key opportunity to help mitigate climate change.

Elanco Animal Health and Ducks Unlimited Announce Partnership to Advance Beef Industry Environmental Stewardship Efforts

Today, Elanco and Ducks Unlimited announced a partnership emphasizing the strong bond between environmental sustainability and agriculture – specifically beef cattle production – across North America. Beginning in 2021 and through 2023, Elanco will invest $50,000 annually with Ducks Unlimited to help purchase grass seed to support reseeding efforts on working lands in western Kansas.

Sustainable Solutions for Zero Hunger by 2030: A Vision for Animal Agriculture

Presented in partnership with Elanco and Agri-Pulse, the Forum brought together key leaders across the animal protein food chain from around the world to discuss the next steps of food production’s sustainable transformation, its ability to fight hunger and its durability against shocks. Watch the forum below

Sustainable Solutions for Zero Hunger by 2030 Forum Videos

Elanco Announces FDA Has Completed Review of Bovaer®, First-in-Class Methane-Reducing Feed Ingredient, for U.S. Dairy Industry

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As a co-creator and seed investor in Athian, we’re excited to see the company reach the milestones that will bring new value to farmers and help them advance toward climate-neutral farming. As a leader in animal health, we’ve focused first on delivering enteric methane reduction solutions to producers. If the entire U.S. dairy industry leveraged this intervention, it would avoid 4.7 million metric tons of CO2e emissions annually from enteric, feed and manure emissions. This is a game changer for value creation throughout the food chain, and it’s just the start. Environmental sustainability needs to be grounded in farmer profitability.

Jeff Simmons, CEO and President

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