The Chicken Industry Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an internationally recognized approach to assess the impacts associated with all of the stages of a product’s life – in this case chicken. There is a well-established protocol for LCA subject to an ISO standardized methodology. LCAs can help an industry determine which aspects of their production are most efficient, and where they can improve efficiencies, reduce environmental impacts, or improve social interactions along their entire value chains.

The LCA provides the chicken industry with benchmarks for its impact on climate change, natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem quality, and human health, while the social LCA provides a qualitative assessment of the industry’s socioeconomic performance. Conducting an LCA is part of our strategy to support our industry’s work in maintaining consumer and buyer confidence that supply chain risks are adequately addressed. It can also improve industry’s social licence and assurance to consumers that chicken is safe, and produced in an efficient and responsible way.

In 2018, Chicken Farmers of Canada received the results from its first ever LCA, which was conducted by Groupe AGÉCO, a consultation firm specializing in corporate social responsibility and economic studies. The study was designed to measure the environmental and social performance of Canada’s chicken sector, from hatching egg to processor.

The key findings are as follows:

  • Considering the average carbon footprint of chicken around the world, Canadian chicken has one of the lowest carbon footprint of all,
  • Since 1976, environmental performance significantly improved because of major productivity gains and significant improvements in feed conversion ratio,
  • Per kilogram of protein, the carbon footprint of Canadian chicken is lower than that of other livestock commodities produced in North America based on FAO’s assessment of global livestock emissions,
  • In the last 40 years, the carbon footprint of the sector was reduced by 37%,
  • Water consumption has been reduced by 45% in the same timeframe,
  • 62% of the entire sector’s total energy use comes from renewable sources, with chicken feed accounting for the bulk of renewable energy consumption,
  • Over 90% of Canadian chicken farmers are engaged in their communities by providing free services to community members or by being engaged in municipal or regional organizations, and;
  • Over 90% of Canadian chicken farmers pay their workers a salary over the provincial minimum wage and about 70% offer their employees benefits such as insurance and bonuses in addition to other benefits in kind.

To find out more about our LCA results, check out this new infographic  Sustainability Assessment of the Canadian Chicken value chain and our press release .