We’re aiming to be the most emission-friendly animal protein industry. In fact, it’s one of our top priorities for 2020 – 2025. By maintaining our natural resources and environment we’ll also sustain our industry for future generations.  

Here you’ll find research and resources on how we’re dedicated to producing environmentally sustainable pork.

Sustainability Framework

One of the key deliverables within our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan was to develop a Sustainability Framework for the Australian pork sector.

Whilst our sector has a great story to tell in the areas of animal welfare, environmental footprint and community building, the new Framework gives us the opportunity to build upon these strong foundations giving us a laser sharp focus for the future.

Learn more about our Sustainability Framework

Opportunities and challenges

As an industry, the main environmental opportunities and challenges we face are:  

Resources and services including:

  • Water usage 

  • Energy usage 

  • Transport  

  • Feed grain supply

Soil and catchment health. This includes optimising our reuse of: 

  • By-product nutrients 

  • Healthy soils  

  • Enhancing catchment health  

Climate change—effectively managing and utilising:  

  • Gaseous emissions 

  • Renewable energy  

  • Climate variability and drought 

Community interactions including: 

  • Amenity impacts 

  • Community perception of industry  

  • Regulatory environment. 

Reducing our environmental impact

In 2018, a research project was conducted to observe the environmental impacts of the pork industry from 1980 to 2020. This also included future projections of trends and impacts.  

Overall, the research highlighted that the Australian pork industry’s environmental impacts have reduced. The project investigated:  

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions  

  • Resource use  

The project also examined the environmental impact trends of our industry over time. These trends included: 

  • Improvements in herd and system efficiency has led to improved feed conversion ratio, resulting in lower feed requirements, reduced manure production and reduced GHG emissions from manure 

  • The introduction of deep litter housing and covered ponds in Australian piggeries contributed to reducing environmental impacts 

  • Reduced tillage, higher grain yields and a decrease in the proportion of irrigation water used for grain production improved the efficiency of the feed grain production systems resulting in lower impacts per kilogram of feed grain produced. 

Key information from the research also includes: 

  • 69% decrease in GHG emission intensity from 10.6 – 3.3kg CO2-e/kg LW 

  • Water use 441L/kg LW in 1980 to a projected 90L/kg LW in 2020 

  • Fossil fuel energy decreased from 34 MJ/kg LW in 1980 to a projected 14 MJ/kg LW in 2020 

You can download the full research report, or a snapshot below. You can also watch the webinar presentation of research.


Watch the webinar on Trends in Environmental Impact from the Pork Industry.

Water use

In Australia, our pork industry is highly efficient with water usage compared to pork industries around the world. Our water use is also lower than many other livestock species recorded in international literature.  

The world average for water use is: 4856L/kg 

In Australia, our deep litter systems are: 2753L/kg 

Our conventional systems are: 3020L/kg 

The location of piggeries can limit our access to fresh water. We’ve adapted by:  

  • Becoming highly efficient in minimising water use 

  • Having well-designed drinkers 

  • Recycling treated effluent for cleaning sheds and for crop/pasture irrigation.