What's in the news right now about environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef value chain.


Executive Director's Message

Thank you to those of you who made it to Chicago for our Board Meeting the week before last. We managed to complete our strategic plan and had good discussions around communications, antimicrobials and forests. All in all a productive couple of days. During my presentation I suggested that one of the reasons that we need to counter misinformation on beef sustainability is that it has the potential to influence policy, and just this week a Danish think tank recommended a tax on beef (as some others have done before them) – see the Independent article below.

Triplepundit produced an article on deforestation in supply chains, pointing the finger at the beef industry as the major cause, alongside soy and palm oil. I contacted them to let them know more about the work GRSB and GTPS members are doing in the joint working group on forests as well as on the ground in South America, and they published a follow up article The Global Effort to Make Beef More Sustainable that explored some of the issues in beef sustainability in more depth than we have been seeing.

The next major event on the horizon is of course the second Global Conference on Sustainable Beef to be held in Banff Canada, and registration is now open! Please click HERE or go to http://www.grsbeef.org/events to see more. It promises to be an excellent event, showcasing the work that is taking place on the ground starting with a tour on October the 4th from Calgary, and leading on to the main event in Banff on 5th & 6th October and concluding with working group meetings and our General Assembly meeting on October 7.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef
October 4-7, 2016
Banff, Alberta


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The Global Effort to Make Beef More Sustainable
Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit | April 28, 2016
The global beef industry has taken notice of the shifting market, and companies across its value chain have formed a coalition, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). This organization, which includes growers, producers, restaurants and retailers, promises an agenda of "continuous improvement in sustainability" that it says will ensure the industry will become more environmentally responsible, socially conscious and economically viable.

To learn more about the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef and its aims, 3p spoke with the organization's executive director, Ruaraidh Petre, by telephone while he was traveling in Europe. Read Interview HERE.

Intense Farming Practices Can Help Save Wildlife  
Richard Conniff, Take Part | April 15, 2016
You probably don't think agricultural intensification could ever be a good thing, and you certainly wouldn't expect an argument for more of it in a column about wildlife. But here's the deal: If we don't figure out how to grow more food on less land, we're going to have to plow under what little remains of the natural world and turn it into farmland.

We have to figure it out fast, because there are going to be 10 billion people to feed by mid–century.

Stop Wasting Food to Slow Global Warming  
Niina Heikkinen, Scientific American | April 20, 2016
If Americans made changes to their diets and stopped wasting food, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help conserve global natural resources, experts say.

Cutting down on milk and meat protein are top ways to lower an individual's carbon footprint, said Janet Ranganathan, vice president of science and research at the World Resources Institute.

Sustainability in the Beef Industry
Southeast AgNet | April 22, 2016
Sustainability is a word we hear more and more of and an issue many in agriculture continue to deal with. Dr. Kim Stackhouse–Lawson, executive director of global sustainability for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says there are a lot of issues when we talk sustainability, but one of the top ones is food waste. Listen to audio interview HERE.

How Much Water Does it Take to Produce Meat?  
The Cattle Site | April 26, 2016
According to the World Wildlife Fund, water used for livestock production is expected to rise by 50 per cent by 2025 and at present it accounts for 15 per cent of all irrigated water. The global average water footprint of beef is 15,400 litres per kilo, which is predominantly green water – water from renewable sources – (94 per cent). The water footprint related to animal feed takes the largest share with 99 per cent of the total, while drinking and service water contribute just one per cent to the total water footprint. However, drinking water is 30 per cent of the blue water footprint.

Zero Deforestation and Meat–Rich Diets – Possible But Very Tricky
David Burrows, Food Navigator | April 21, 2016
Fear not – nine billion people can be fed by 2050 without further deforestation. The claim comes from researchers at the Global Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, Austria. The team assessed 500 different scenarios in a "hypothetical world of zero deforestation", combining technological advancements, changes to agricultural systems and shifts in consumption patterns. Of the 500, around 60% are feasible, said one of the study's authors, Karlheinz Erb. "We find that many options exist to meet the global food supply in 2050 without deforestation, even at low crop–yield levels," the researchers noted.

The findings indicate that "deforestation is not a precondition for supplying the world with sufficient food in terms of quantity and quality in 2050 and that many options exist based on different strategies", according to the paper published in Nature Communications.

The Four Commodities Driving Global Deforestation  
Leon Kay, Triple Pundit | April 21, 2016
Depending on the sources cited, 10 to 15 crops comprise the majority of food and consumer products consumed worldwide. And the methods used to raise many of these foods have created global supply chains that are not sustainable in the long run, from their effects on water supplies to their impacts on labor and land rights. Now, the nonprofit science advocacy organization, the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS), suggests that four commodities alone are responsible for the majority of deforestation worldwide. They also happen to be commodities backed by powerful business interests. These big four, according to UCS, are beef, soybeans, palm oil and, not surprisingly, wood products.

Denmark Ethics Council Calls For Tax on Red Meat To Fight 'Ethical Problem' Of Climate Change  
Adam Withnall, Independent UK | April 27, 2016
Denmark is considering proposals to introduce a tax on red meat, after a government think tank came to the conclusion that "climate change is an ethical problem". The Danish Council of Ethics recommended an initial tax on beef, with a view to extending the regulation to all red meats in future. It said that in the long term, the tax should apply to all foods at varying levels depending on climate impact.

The council voted in favour of the measures by an overwhelming majority, and the proposal will now be put forward for consideration by the government.
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McDonald's Rep Unveils Sustainable Beef Strategy in Olds
Doug Collie, Mountain View Gazette | April 19, 2016
A representative of McDonald's restaurants told a recent conference in Olds that the company's pilot project to ensure the beef it obtains is sustainably raised is just about over.

In a speech at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites, Jeffrey Fitzpatrick–Stillwell, senior manager of sustainability for McDonald's, said the project began two years ago.

McDonald's worked with groups like the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Cattle Feeders and other industry experts to come up a system to verify that the beef they buy is raised in a humane and environmentally sustainable way, yet still is profitable for producers.

This month, that information is being shared with the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Then, on June 1, a celebration of certification and workshop on the system will be held in Calgary.

Gulfood 2016 Report
Sarah Jacotine, Hotelier Middle East | April 18, 2016
The 21st edition of Gulfood took place from February 21 to 25, attracting more than 90,000 visitors from 160 countries, and occupying in excess of 1.29 million sq ft of exhibition space. The five–day event included the third edition of Halal World Food — the world's biggest annual halal food sourcing trade event — and an exhibitor line–up of finished food producers, bulk commodity wholesalers, distributors and exporters, as well as the show's largest–ever collection of hospitality equipment suppliers. Continuing its evolved status as a weathervane to hospitality and food sector trends, Gulfood 2016 featured a host of new exhibitors, expanded participation by returnees and a wealth of new–to–market products.

JBS, AMCM And Mats Join Brazilian Leather Sustainability Certification Programme
Leather International | April 27, 2016
Dairy company JBS Couros, AMCM and Mats Beneficiamento de Couro are the most recent companies to join CSCB, the Brazilian Leather Sustainability Certification. The programme acknowledges tanneries through the assessment of high–standard practices within the three pillars of sustainability – economy, social responsibility and the environment, based on norms by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) and through audits carried out by certifying bodies accredited by Inmetro (National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology). CSCB is an initiative promoted by the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB).

Walmart, Ahold USA Among EPA's Top 100 Green Power Users 
Progressive Grocer | April 27, 2016
Wal–Mart Stores Inc. and Ahold USA have both made impressive showings on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2016 Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list, coming in at Nos. 9 and 18, respectively. According to EPA's website, the list "represents the largest green power users within the Green Power Partnership," a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use.
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Beef Prices on the Decline  
Rick Kelley, Brownsville Herald | April 15, 2016
After two years of the highest average beef prices in nearly 20 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a report that every American will be eating a half–pound more this year than they did last year.

The beef price problem was created by years of drought in the South and Southwest, leading cattle producers to sell their cows for slaughter because of high feed costs. As ranchers increased their herds after the drought eased, it means there's more beef and lower prices for consumers.

Indonesian Ambassador Expects Beef Consumption to Double As Indonesian Middle Class Grows  
Lisa Herbert, ABC Rural, AU | April 19, 2016
Beef consumption in Indonesia is set to more than double as the middle class continues to grow and country's government encourages people to eat more meat. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, estimates there are 60 million middle class Indonesians that have an increasing appetite for protein, and have the money to pay for it. He said that number was expected to reach 150 million in 20 years.

Scotch Beef Faces Meltdown
Rog Wood, Herald Scotland | April 24, 2016
There is growing concern that agriculture will be the main loser in two large free–trade deals currently being negotiated by the EU. Negotiations with the US in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and with Mercosur – a block of five South American countries including Brazil and Argentina – look set to remove or reduce tariffs on agricultural products like poultry, pork and beef. The EU wants freer access to Mercosur countries for its manufactured goods and in return will welcome lower–priced meat imports for its 500m consumers.

Industry Shock As 32 Indo Cattle Importers Fined A$10m For Alleged 'Cartel Behaviour'
James Nason, Beef Central | April 24, 2016
In a decision that has stunned Indonesia's cattle feeding industry, the Indonesian Government has collectively fined 32 Indonesian lot feeders, including the largest importers of Australian cattle, 106 billion Rupiah (A$10.4 million) for alleged cartel behaviour.

Global Decline in Beef Consumption in 2015 Linked to Health Fears  
The Cattle Site | April 21, 2016
Although meat consumption recorded a year on year increase, Euromonitor International figures indicate that beef and veal consumption declined in most parts of the developed world last year. In the United States beef and veal consumption declined by 249.6 tonnes (t) or 3 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014 figures. In western Europe, beef and veal meat declined by 0.3 per cent and 1 per cent – that's according to Anastasia Alieva, head of fresh food research at Euromonitor International. "Demand for meat has been driven by emerging markets where increased prosperity and rising populations resulted in a growing consumption of relatively expensive meat," Anastasia Alieva said.

Anastasia Alieva also claimed that one of the reasons for the decline in beef and veal consumption across European could be linked to mounting health concerns linking red meat to cardiovascular disorders and colon cancer.
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