Beans & the environment

Green beans

Q: How am I helping the environment by eating beans?

A: Pulse crops use less non-renewable energy inputs, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Nitrogen is the most heavily used nutrient for plant growth. Pulses are able to draw their own nitrogen from the atmosphere. Artificial nitrogen fertilisers that are used on other crops are made using fossil fuels.

A: Pulse crops reduce overall greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

While we sometimes equate greenhouse gases with CO2 alone, it's important to remember the other major ones. Methane and nitrous oxide are more powerful greenhouse gases than CO2, and make up the bulk of food production's contribution to climate change. Research done to date for pulse crops indicates that pulses reduce nitrous oxide emissions overall, have little to no effect on methane, and increase the planet's ability to capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the soil.

A: Pulse crops are a big part of the solution to how our planet can sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050*

Human beings need a balanced diet to stay healthy, including protein for growth and carbohydrates for energy. As population and wealth increases in developing countries, there is increasing demand for protein. With double or triple the protein content of other field crops, pulses are one of the few ways that the world can meet the protein needs of those extra human beings while leaving a minimum environmental footprint. Pulses are one of the most sustainable, low energy-input, low water-input, and low greenhouse gas emission sources of protein in the world.

* United Nations population forecast, 2007