August 2, 2019 News, Sustainability Tips

The best way to BBQ …

Please note that the information below is intended to provide information on specific and relevant topics, and not to promote any one product.

Meat consumption has huge impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, water-use, and energy-use. One of the best ways you can decrease the impact of your summer BBQs (and eating habits in general) is by making simple adjustments to the amount of overall meat that is consumed.

Some quick and easy changes:

  • Offer chicken, fish, or veggie options, instead (or alongside) beef
  • Go heavy on the veggies and sides, and lighter on the meat

You don’t need to avoid meat entirely to decrease your impact

What about "Beyond Meat"?

This product has gained recent popularity and, alongside similar products, has been recognized as an excellent alternative to beef, in its ability to replicate taste and texture.

Why is it important?

The “Beyond Meat” burger is the first time that comparable vegetarian/vegan options have been sold in fast-food chains. The fact that this type of burger is becoming more mainstream, means that it and other comparable products have the ability to gain popularity, especially with those who don’t necessarily identify as being vegetarian/vegan. This product has also brought attention to the topic of meat consumption, and its effects on health, the environment, and on global systems.

A recent report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for big changes in farming and eating habits in order to reduce global land and water consumption. These changes are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. One key takeaway is that in transitioning to a more plant-based diet, we could save several million square kilometers of land to increase carbon sequestration.

Comparing Different Burgers

Beyond Meat*  Beef
Protein (g) 20 19
Absolute Water-use (L) 3.27 437.7
Energy-use (MJ) 6.1 11.4
Emissions (kg CO2-eq.) .38 3.7
Absolute Land-use (m2a) 1.12 3.8

Source: Heller and Keoleian (2018)

*Beyond Meat was used in this comparison due to the availability of data and due to the popularity of the product in Canada.

Comparing Different Proteins




(kg CO2e)

Compared to beef


Lamb 39.2 145%
Beef 27
Cheese 13.5 50%
Pork 12.1 45%
Farmed Salmon 11.9 44%
Turkey 10.9 40.4%
Chicken 6.9 25.6%
Eggs 4.8 17.8%
Tofu 2.0 7.4%
Lentils 0.9 3.3%

Source: Environmental Working Group (2011)

Passing on beef for one meal a week over the course of a year is equivilant to taking your car off the road for 515km!


This is the time of the year to feast on fresh, local, delicious produce!

apples apricots artichoke
blackberries blueberries broccoli
cabbage (savoy, red) carrots cauliflower
cucumber fennel (bulb) garlic
kale leek lettuce
melons mustard greens nectarines
onions (green, red, yellow) parsnip peaches
pears peppers plum
potatoes (red, russet, white, yellow) radish raspberries
rhubarb spinach strawberries
Swiss chard tomatoes zucchini

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”
(Michael Pollan)

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