Dear GRSB Member,

"As the GCSB approaches in Brazil, many of our members are asking what is next for GRSB. We have spent some considerable time, justified I think by the breadth and diversity of opinions we have to reflect, developing our definition of sustainable beef. We recently sent out a survey to all members to give their opinions as to where the main focus of our activities should be in the coming years. It is clear that this will need to include a means of translating the principles and criteria into action on the ground. There are several national roundtables emerging in North and South America, and worldwide there are several other groups working at a national level in ways that could be compatible with GRSB. While it is clear that the new board, as elected in Brazil, is the appropriate body to set policy, we will be presenting that new board with the results of the survey.

In a letter to GRSB, Tony Gleeson has outlined one potential path that could be taken, highlighting that it is not a case of moving from the generality of global principles and criteria to a set of rigid requirements at a national level, but that there are other options, such as management systems that enable individual enterprises to make their own decisions about priorities for continuous improvement over time. This sort of flexibility, while maintaining coherence, is likely to appeal to many, particularly producers who recognise that differences between operations are considerable."


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

GRSB at the Crossroad

Dateline: By Tony Gleeson

Having settled on a vision, mission, principles and criteria the GRSB is now at the critical point of resolving how best to guide the application of these principles and criteria. Decisions at this point will have a major impact on the extent to which GRSB achieves its mission of continuous improvement in sustainability. Decisions at this point will influence the extent to which businesses adopt the principles and criteria and the credibility of the verification of that improvement. Read entire letter HERE.

Whole Foods' New Produce Ratings Probably Won't Change a Thing

Dateline: 10/15/14, Source: By Drake Bennett, Bloomberg Business Week

Whole Foods Market (WFM) today rolled out a rating system to tell shoppers the environmental impact of the produce and flowers it sells. The labels will give products ratings of Good, Better, and Best, based on such factors as pesticide use, water conservation, waste recycling, energy use, and how farmworkers are treated. Whole Foods has committed to labeling all foods in its U.S. and Canadian stores containing GMOs by 2018,

Innovation Needed to Help Family Farms Thrive

Dateline: 10/19/14, Source: Independent European Daily Express UK

Family farms have been contributing to food security and nutrition for centuries, if not millennia. But with changing demand for food as well as increasingly scarce natural resources and growing demographic pressures, family farms will need to innovate rapidly to thrive. Meanwhile, sustainable rural development depends crucially on the viability and success of family farming. With family farms declining in size by ownership and often in operation as well, improving living standards in the countryside has become increasingly difficult over the decades.

Team Australia': Exporters Urged to Work Together to Tackle China

Dateline: 10/09/14, Source: By Jason Nason, Beef Central

Australian beef industry stakeholders eyeing the Chinese market should collaborate and work together under a "Brand Australia" approach, an international market expert told BeefEx on Thursday.

EU Beef and Poultry Sector Growing, Pork Expected to Shrink

Dateline: 10/10/14, Source: By Hanna Lange–Chenier, Global Meat News

Beef and poultry production in the European Union (EU) has been growing steadily this year, putting the sectors on track for further growth in 2015, said a new European Commission (EC) report, released on 8 October.

U.S. Cattle Industry Grapples with Quality Versus Quantity

Dateline: 10/17/14, Source: By Theopolis Waters, Reuters

Cheaper feed and the removal of a feed additive are bringing U.S. beef lovers juicier steaks, leaving the industry wondering whether to muscle up cattle before slaughter or aim for more fat, which enhances flavor. If consumers are willing to pay more for tastier beef, packers may have to decide between tonnage and taste. "At the end of the day it boils down to consumers who are willing to pay more, but it darn sure better be a good product," said Jim Robb, director of the Colorado–based Livestock Marketing Information Center.

Brazil's Forestation Successes Ignored the Little Guy –– Studies

Dateline: 10/15/14, Source:By Elizabeth Harball, E & E News

Brazil has reduced its deforestation rates by about 80 percent over the past decade, an effort the global community hails as a major environmental success story. It is said that as a result of this achievement, Brazil has made the single greatest contribution of any nation to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. But the strong actions taken by the government, agribusinesses and large landowners to protect the Brazilian Amazon have not resulted in a similar success story among smallholders, and the complex reaction to these policies by different food industries is driving new deforestation risks, according to two recent reports.

'Gold Standard Outcomes' for Beef Are Called as Part of TPP Talks

Dateline: 10/17/14, Source: By Georgi Gyton, Global Meat News

The Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) unanimously endorsed a public statement calling for all Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations to support 'gold standard outcomes' for beef, during its annual meeting.

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5TH Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) Meeting

Dateline: October 7-10, 14

FAO held their 5th multi stakeholder meeting in Cali, Colombia for the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, a discussion document was presented and refined, and the governance structure revisited. The field trip to El Hatico estate was a fascinating introduction to highly intensive sylvo pastoral systems.

A New Dawn of Livestock Management: Rotating Plots Equals Production, Profits and Prairie Preservation

Dateline: 10/09/14, Source: By Bess Carnahan, Gering Citizen

Rotating plots equals production, profits and preservation.
Early settlers of the high plains were greeted with miles of grassland that supported the vast herds of bison and other grazing wildlife. The animals and the land managed themselves. The greatest of the grazers, the bison, moved about freely. Grazing as they roamed, there was no "water hole damage" that led to erosion or unwanted weeds. The grasslands renewed themselves year after year.

Electronic ID Results in £28,000 Increase in Beef Income

Dateline: 10/13/14, Source: By Debbie James, Farmers Weekly

Electronic recording equipment is helping a large–scale beef finisher to boost daily liveweight gains, equating to an extra £28,000/year from the herd.

USMEF's Observations on Paraguay's Growing Beef Industry

Dateline: 10/14/14, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror was in Paraguay earlier this month to conduct research on the country's growing beef industry. Despite recent setbacks related to foot–and–mouth disease (FMD) and the transportation challenges that come with being a landlocked nation, Borror says Paraguay is definitely on the rise as a beef exporter. Through the first three quarters of 2014, Paraguay's exports are up 16 percent from a year ago. Paraguay recently surpassed Argentina for 8th place among the world's largest beef exports, and Borror expects it to overtake Uruguay in the near future.

Do We Need A New 'Environmental Impact' Label For Beef?

Dateline: 10/16/14, Source: By Eliza Barclay, NPR

"Labels currently available to consumers …can be misleading, as information available about the management associated with those labels can be difficult to find and is often incomplete," White tells The Salt. "We need logical, clear labels that resonate with consumers while incentivizing the adoption of management practices that improve environmental impact," says Robin White with the National Animal Nutrition Program. After crunching the data with economic models, White and Washington State University with WSU economist Mike Brady found that consumers would likely pay as much as 10 percent more for beef products with an environmental label that emphasized water conservation. And that premium would allow producers to make changes that would bring about huge water savings in livestock production — some 76 to 129 billion gallons of water annually, they estimate.

White says that the only way an environmental impact label would really work would be to include land use and greenhouse gas emissions, too. All three are critical factors in how the industry affects the environment, she argues.

So who might actually create and manage such a label? One possible candidate is the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, says White. It's a group that includes some the biggest names in the beef industry, as well as some environmental groups.

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