WASHINGTON – The National Chicken Council (NCC) released its inaugural sustainability report, which provides an overview of the US chicken market and the industry’s progress on environmental, broiler welfare and social impact along with an effort to build a sustainable food system.

 The 2020 US Broiler Chicken Industry Sustainability Report was submitted to the Scientific Group of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit to be held September 23 in New York CityNCC said the sustainability report was guided and inspired by the call to action in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report is also meant to supplement work being done by the US Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs.

“The US chicken industry is committed to environmentally and socially sustainable production practices to ensure a healthier planet,” said Mike Brown, president of the NCC. “This report is the culmination of that commitment, but it is also the starting point for many more years of collective effort by the US chicken industry to continuously improve and build a more sustainable food system. This past year, we faced COVID-19, extreme weather events, biosecurity issues and cybersecurity breaches. The US chicken industry stood up to all of these challenges, and we remain even more committed to the sustainable production of America’s No. 1 protein.”

Six industry topics are addressed in NCC’s report, including: air, land and water; broiler health and welfare; employee safety and wellbeing; food and consumer safety; community support; and food security.

The report features new broiler life cycle assessment (LCA) data commissioned by NCC. In its assessment, the broiler industry showed improvement in key sustainability metrics between 2010 and 2020.

The update found that land use was down 13% in that time period, greenhouse gas emissions were down 18%, water consumption was down 13%, fossil resources use was down 22% and particulate forming emissions were down 22%.

“We are feeding more people and raising each bird with less environmental impact and resources,” said Ashley Peterson, PhD, NCC senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “The Broiler Production System Life Cycle Assessment: 2020 Update confirms the US chicken industry has made meaningful strides in minimizing our environmental impacts with the help of technological advancements and improved broiler welfare practices over the past decade. The LCA sets the groundwork for the broiler industry’s next steps on the sustainability frontier and brings to light the exact areas in which we need to focus.”

In the report, NCC cited other steps the chicken industry has taken for sustainability over the years including:  

  • Decreasing broiler chicken on-farm mortality rates by 72% since 1925.
  • Defining the essential elements of broiler chicken care with NCC’s Welfare Guidelines.
  • Donating more than $133 million and 22 million meals to local communities at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
  • Bolstering global food security with broiler exports totaling 7.4 billion lbs in 2020.
  • Providing Americans and people across the world - throughout all life stages - with affordable, nutritious protein.
  • Achieving an 86% decline in Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable injuries and illnesses in the poultry processing sector over the past 25 years.

 View the 2020 US Broiler Chicken Industry Sustainability Report here