Dear GRSB Member,

Thanks to all those who came to Amsterdam for our General Assembly, the good attendance was appreciated. We would also like to thank those who contributed to the success of the event including the speakers from regional sustainability efforts, our guest speakers Dr Hetty van Beers, Dr Martin Scholten and Brian Lindsey and of course to the VanDrie Group who organised the tour on Thursday to several of their locations covering much of the veal chain, and the presentation by Dr Kees van Reenen.

The GRSB tour group at one of VanDrie Group's farms.

Please find the presentations from the meeting on the members area of our website.

I am now in Dublin for the Global Sustainability Forum organised by Bord Bia with WWF and SAI platform. Bored Bia have just released their Origin Green Sustainability report covering the first three years of their national sustainability initiative (download it here documenting the considerable progress they have made in recording the baseline for the food industry, starting with beef, and the steps being made towards continuous improvement.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

IFIF, FAO Collaborate on Critical Feed, Food Issues

Dateline: 10/16/15, Source: World–

The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held their 14th annual meeting at FAO headquarters on Oct.12–13 to further strengthen their collaboration on critical issues to ensure safe, nutritious and sustainable feed and food.

New Live Export Assurance Program About to Be Put to Test

Dateline: 10/19/15, Source: By James Nason, BEEF Central

Outcomes of research into a live export industry assurance program will be provided to the industry in March 2016, after which the industry will consider the feasibility of implementation.

Comment: Is It Time to Raise the National Checkoff?

Dateline: 11/02/15, Source: By Gren Winslow, Canadian Cattlemen

For much of this year you have read or heard about Canada's national beef strategy, but this fall the attention of the cattle associations across the country will swing around to paying for the strategy. A campaign is being put together for provincial cattle organizations to present the argument for raising the national mandatory checkoff from $1 to $2.50 per head to producers at their fall meetings.

Global News

Irish Beef Carcasses Will Have to Meet UK Supermarket Specification

Dateline: 10/22/15, Source: By Sean Cummins, AgriLand

Tighter supermarket specifications are having a big impact on the beef industry in the UK as these specifications are forcing farmers and processors to change their production systems, according to Robert Forster.

According to Forster, Author of the Beef Industry Newsletter, some UK processors are now paying bonuses on heifers under 24 months of age, most notably ABP in the UK, which is offering a 15p/kg (20.5c/kg) bonus on these lots.

"These bonuses have been introduced as UK supermarkets continue to tighten specifications, with more of an emphasis on younger and lighter carcases," said Forster.

UK Cattle Industry Needs to Improve Antibiotic Data Use

Dateline: 11/05/15, Source: The Cattle Site

A review of antibiotic use in UK cattle has suggested that the fight against antibiotic–resistant bacteria stands to benefit from better data collection and collation, especially through the use of information technology.The practical approach to gathering antibiotic usage data on UK cattle farms was identified in a new review from the industry–led Cattle Health and Welfare Group of Great Britain (CHAWG). The results were announced at a joint conference held by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). The outcomes highlight the significant benefits better data could deliver, such as improving the way antibiotics are administered strategically to tackle disease.

Attacks on India's Beef Industry Hit Buffalo Meat Trade

Dateline: 10/27/15, Source: By Krishna N. Das and Rejendra Jadhav, Reuters

Rising tensions over eating beef in Hindu–majority India are starting to hit the multi–billion dollar buffalo meat trade, with exports falling in the last six months as traders run short of supplies and China lifts purchases from Brazil.

Religious activists, who critics say have been emboldened by nationalist premier Narendra Modi's ascendance, have stepped up attacks on the beef industry, alleging that cows are being killed and falsely labeled for export as buffalo meat.

Teagasc Says Its New 100–Cow Suckler Farm in the West Will Be a One–Man Operation

Dateline: 10/16/15, Source: By Ciaran Moran, AgriLand

One of the key recommendations arising out of the Food Harvest 2020 report was for Teagasc to set up a stand–alone demonstration herd in the west of Ireland.

It was felt that a demonstration farm was needed in the west in order to demonstrate to farmers the key technologies that drive profitability in a suckler herd. At the recent National Beef Conference, Teagasc's Adam Woods outlined how the new farm would operate and what its objectives were.

Chipotle's Silence On Sustainability Practices Make It a Target for CSR Advocates

Dateline: 10/23/15, Source: By Marc Gunther, The Guardian

Sometimes life does imitate art. Last year, Chipotle Mexican Grill, the fast–growing burrito and taco chain, produced an internet comedy series called Farmed and Dangerous to satirize industrial agriculture. The villain, a sneering character named Buck Marshall, who runs a fictional outfit called the Industrial Food Image Bureau, was inspired by real–life PR operative Rick Berman.

Last month, Berman struck back. In a number of brutal ads and on a website dubbed Chubby Chipotle ("Food with hypocrisy"), Berman charged that Chipotle engages in deceptive marketing and sells unhealthy food. Berman runs the Washington–based Center for Consumer Freedom, an industry–backed group that opposes what it calls "a growing cabal of activists" including the "self–anointed 'food police', health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal–finance do–gooders, animal–rights misanthropes and meddling bureaucrats".

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Beef + Lamb New Zealand Welcomes New Alliance Partners

Dateline: 10/27/15, Source: Scoop Business NZ

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Director George Tatham, who recently attended the Five Nations Beef Alliance in Mexico, says that new members from Paraguay and Mato Grosso in Brazil will add a new dimension to the group, now called the International Beef Alliance.

The Five Nation's Beef Alliance has been very effective in creating a strong single voice from the beef industry in the Trans–Pacific Partnership negotiations, said Tatham.

The Nitty–Gritty of Becoming a 'Verified Sustainable' Beef Producer

Dateline: 11/03/15, Source: By Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer

Thinking of becoming a producer of 'verified sustainable beef,' but wondering just what it involves?

There are 31 indicators (available at that cow–calf producers must meet to qualify for McDonald's program — and at first glance, it can all seem overwhelming. But it's actually not that challenging, says Greg Bowie, a seedstock producer from Ponoka. The chair of Alberta Beef Producers also sits on the indicator committee for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which will take over the initiative after McDonald's pilot ends next spring.

Sustainable Procurement is Critical to McDonald's Future

Dateline: 10/19/15, Source: By Steve Banker, Logistics Viewpoint

McDonald's is the first to admit things are not going as well as the company would like.

In its annual report released in March, CEO Steve Easterbrook owned up to the $18 billion fast food retailer's disappointing performance – sales up only 1 percent with an operating income decline of 8 percent. To right the corporation, the company vowed to reorganize itself to "put consumers at the forefront of everything we do."

There has been a generational shift away from red meat. Issues like sourcing locally and the humane treatment of animals increasingly matters to consumers as well. This is the headwind McDonald's is facing. The company recognizes this. Easterbrook says the company will build on their traditional values of "Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value" by also actively addressing food "perceptions" and sustainability.

Farmers Urged to Prepare for El Nino

Dateline: 10/20/15, Source: Radio New Zealand News

The government, along with primary industry organisations, has released guidelines to help farmers prepare for possible impacts of El Nino weather conditions.

Weather forecasters are predicting an intense El Nino could arrive in New Zealand this year, which means drier conditions in the north and east of the country, and cooler wet weather in the west.

The brochure states an El Nino occurs every three to seven years on average, and this one is expected to rank among the four strongest to hit New Zealand. The brochure included advice from Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Dairy NZ, rural support trusts and the Bankers and Veterinary Associations, and was available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

EPA Recognizes Ahold USA as a Top Green Power Partner

Dateline: 10/21/15, Source: EPA News Release

Ahold USA, based in Quincy, Mass., was recognized by EPA as one of the nation's top 100 purchasers of Green Power. As part of EPA's Green Power Partnership, more than 1,300 organizations are purchasing billions of kilowatt–hours of green power annually, avoiding carbon pollution equal to that created by the electricity use of more than 2.5 million American homes.

Ahold USA operates approximately 770 grocery stores in the United States under the Stop & Shop, Giant Food, GIANT Food Stores and MARTIN'S Food Markets brands, as well as Peapod, an e–commerce grocery shopping and delivery service.

Updated Report Reveals Stark Realities of Feeding 9.7 Billion People by 2050

Dateline: 10/28/15, Source: PR Newswire

Today Elanco Animal Health, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), released an updated report in support of its groundbreaking food security movement, "ENOUGH: Building a Food–Secure Tomorrow".

The report and its new, interactive website can be found at

Producers Sign Up on Sustainable Beef

Dateline: 10/30/15, Source: By Barbara Duckworth, The Western Producer

Producers questioned what McDonald's really meant when it announced last year that it wants beef from sustainable operations.

A list of expectations has now been developed that isn't as onerous or demanding as first expected, say two Alberta beef producers. Their operations participated in the pilot verification program, and they shared their experiences at the Livestock Gentec annual meeting in Edmonton Oct. 13.

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