Despite having relatively low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to other animal protein sources, egg production is among the fastest-growing livestock sectors, and hence faces mounting pressure to reduce potential climate impacts.

For Dr. Nathan Pelletier, Associate Professor of Biology, Faculty of Management at UBC Okanagan, this growing challenge is the focus of a renewed Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability, supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC).


“The overarching theme of my collaborative research is the development of a strategy that will enable the Canadian egg industry to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions status by 2050,” notes Dr. Pelletier. “The key knowledge translation and transfer mechanism for research from my lab is the National Environmental Sustainability and Technology Tool (NESTT) that was collaboratively developed by my team, EFC, and the software company Mirego.”

NESTT is a farm-level sustainability assessment platform that enables Canadian egg farmers to benchmark their operations compared to national and regional average performance levels for a variety of resource efficiency and environmental metrics (including carbon footprints), and to assess the potential efficacy of adopting farm appropriate green technologies in reducing their impacts. 

The outlook is positive. A recent review of research by Dr. Pelletier’s team indicates that the widespread implementation of market-ready options promoted within NESTT could reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero in the short to medium term, while Scope 3 emissions could be reduced between 23 and 95% without offsetting. These represent potential GHG reductions that — if realized — mirror the urgent demands of the climate crisis.