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


Executive Director's Message

You should already have received notice by e–mail that our Vice President, Francisco Beduschi, has regretfully had to step down from this role with GRSB, as well as from his role as President of GTPS in Brazil. We would like to thank him for his excellent contribution to GRSB as well as to GTPS.

The active involvement of ICV and Francisco himself has added considerably to our collective understanding, particularly through field projects in Mato Grosso in which McDonald's has partnered. ICV will continue to be a member of GTPS, but unfortunately cannot spare as much of Francisco's time as has been the case in previous years.

Having leaders drawn from both Brazil and Canada has strengthened the relationship between our respective roundtables and has certainly increased the level of understanding we have for each others' activities. We look forward to finding a new leader who can continue to add to these international relationships that are so important for a global organisation.

We wish Francisco the very best in the coming years, and at the same time invite our members to consider our future leadership; we need people with experience and insight to keep GRSB moving forward.

This is also an opportunity to remind all members of the important anniversary being celebrated by GTPS this year; the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock is 10 years old and we are all invited to join their event to celebrate this fact in São Paulo on November 16..

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
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Public Feedback Needed on Sustainability Indicators for Beef Processing
Dori Modney, Lethbridge News Now | June 29, 2017  
The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) has launched a 60–day public consultation (to conclude August 29) to gather feedback on its sustainability indicators for beef processing. It's to ensure sustainability challenges and opportunities for the sector are addressed.

Comments will be reviewed, and written responses to each comment will be summarized in a report posted on the CRSB website after the consultation. Following this, a 30–day round of consultations is planned for this fall. Information and materials relating to the consultation can be found on the CRSB website.

Birth to Burger, the Sustainability Debate  
Victoria G. Myers, DTN The Progressive Farmer (registration) | July 3, 2017
What is sustainability? And what does the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) mean to the U.S. beef producer? These seem like simple questions, but the path to answers is a long, twisted trip.

GRSB began work in 2013 and released its first "Principles and Criteria for Defining Global Sustainable Beef" in 2014. The group's mission statement says GRSB's goal is: "to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science and multi–stakeholder engagement and collaboration."

There are plenty of recognizable names on GRSB's membership list. The current board of directors alone includes representatives from the World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Alliance, JBS, Cargill, McDonald's, A&W Food Services of Canada, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Willow Creek Ranch and all existing country–level roundtables.

Roadmap for Sustainable EU Livestock (PDF)  

  1. Expand incentives that enable the livestock sector to remain competitive. By simplifying regulations and ensuring stable policies at the European, regional and national level, farmers are encouraged to plan on the long term crucial investments in technology that can improve their sustainability and increase efficiency.
  2. Support investments in science, technology and innovation.
  3. Incentivize the uptake of technologies aimed at improving rural mobility for livestock goods.
  4. Adopt a holistic legislative approach to enable the development and adoption of all science–based solutions that contribute to sustainable livestock.
  5. Find a common space where the livestock sector can communicate to consumers and other stakeholders.
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10 Minutes with Cameron Bruett, JBS USA  
Bob Langert, GreenBiz | July 5, 2017
This column is about the people of sustainability. What makes them tick? What's their unique way to create impact? What have they learned that works? This time, it's Cameron Bruett, head, corporate affairs (and chief sustainability officer) at JBS USA & Pilgrim's; and past president for the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB).

Bob Langert: Why did you take on the role of president of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef?

Cameron Bruett: I didn't really know much about sustainability at that time; I was a lobbyist in Washington, dealing with legislative issues, and I found the issue pretty interesting from a consumer and policy perspective. Having been in agriculture policy for all of my career, I've always been a passionate advocate for the American farmer and rancher. I saw a lot of the rhetoric around beef sustainability very focused on vulnerabilities in regions outside of the United States or outside of North America. Issues that American farmers and ranchers had no control or influence over.

Brazilian Meatpacker to Beef Up Production by a Quarter
Oscar Rousseau, GlobalMeatNews.com | July 5, 2017
Marfrig, one of the giants of Brazilian meat processing, plans to boost domestic production by 25%, thanks to higher–than–expected cattle availability.

Brazil is one of the world's largest beef exporters and, as a key player, meatpacker Marfrig has reopened two domestic facilities as higher availability of slaughter–ready cattle paves the way for a double–digit production hike.

A decision to reopen the Nova Xavantina and Pirenópolis refrigeration units in the central Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Goiás was made due to the "current macroeconomic scenario", said Marfrig.

The business has also been expanding production at four other beef plants based in the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia

JBS, CHEP Collaborate for Increased Efficiency, Sustainability
Feedstuffs | June 26, 2017
CHEP announced June 26 an agreement with JBS USA to expand existing pallet volumes and engage in additional collaborative supply chain solutions. During the last 12 months, ongoing collaboration has resulted in the elimination of 880,000 empty truck miles from the JBS supply chain, resulting in a reduction of more than 3.3 million lb. of carbon dioxide emissions.

"At JBS, we constantly seek to reduce our environmental footprint across our operations, and that includes our significant transportation assets," said Tim Wagner, JBS procurement category manager. "CHEP was a logical partner to help us make our transportation system more efficient and more sustainable. The results of our work together speak for themselves, and we look forward to working with CHEP to develop additional platform and supply chain solutions."

Livestock Industry Supports WGA
National Cattlemen's Beef Association | June 28, 2017
Today, Dave Eliason, Utah rancher and president of the Public Lands Council (PLC), and Craig Uden, Nebraska cattle producer and president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), issued the following statements regarding the recommendations stemming from the Western Governors Association Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative:

"The process that has unfolded over the past few years is an example of what can be accomplished when we put our differences aside and come together to tackle complex problems," said Eliason. "WGA, and Governor Mead in particular, deserve a lot of credit for their leadership on this issue. These recommendations were developed through engagement with diverse stakeholders and we urge Congress to use this as a roadmap to modernize the Endangered Species Act."

JBS Changes Structure After Corruption Scandal
Rod Addy, GlobalMeatNews.com | June 30, 2017
Beleaguered Brazilian meat giant JBS has created an executive committee to advise its board directors as it seeks to distance itself from the government corruption scandal that has rocked Brazil.

Tarek Farahat and Gilberto Xandó, both board directors, and chief executive Wesley Batista have been elected to the committee. Its responsibilities include advising the board on management of the company and major corporate deals, JBS said. It will also provide guidance on preparing annual budgets and investment, policies and strategy and improvements to management.

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Does "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" Violate the First Amendment? In Montana, a Judge Says Yes
Joe Fassler, The New Food Economy | June 27, 2017
Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision that could have major implications for the beef industry inside the state and beyond. Judge Brian Morris upheld a lower court's decision that the beef checkoff program, as currently operated, violates the First Amendment rights of the state's cattle ranchers. As as result, the Montana Beef Council (MBC) will only be allowed to collect funds from producers who voluntarily opt in to the program.

ABC News Settles Beef Industry Lawsuit Over 'Pink Slime' Coverage
Elizabeth Licata, The Daily Meal | June 28, 2017
The beef industry responded by filing a defamation suit against ABC News, and now that $5.7 billion lawsuit has been settled between ABC News and Beef Products Inc. According to Business Insider, the terms of the settlement are secret. ABC News reportedly called the settlement an "amicable resolution" while BPI's lawyer said the company was "vindicated."

Shady Slaughterhouses, 'Cow Laundering' Drive Spike in Amazon Deforestation
By Chris Arsenault and Karla Mendes, Reuters | July 4, 2017

At the FrigoAmazonas slaughter house inside the world's largest rainforest, the owner doesn't mince his words – much of the cattle processed here comes from illegally deforested land.

"It's impossible to buy cows from land that isn't deforested," Felipe Oliveira told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in his tatty office at the abattoir in Brazil's Amazonas State.

"Everyone here deforests… if they don't, it's impossible for a family to live," the slaughterhouse boss said, sitting beneath exposed electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.

‘Cow Economics' Are Killing India's Working Class
Afroz Alam,The Conversation
Muslims and Dalits (the marginalised group once known as "untouchables" in the Hindu caste system) are among the poorest in India, and they have very little access to property. By tradition and due to a lack of other opportunities, many work in the leather sector, which employs 2.5 million people nationwide.

Over the past three years, this trade has increasingly made Muslims and Dalits the targets of so–called cow vigilantism – attacks perpetrated by Hindus on cow traders in the name of religion. And legislation adopted in May, which amends the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty on Animals Act, is set to victimise these populations economically.

Among other changes, the new rules mandate that cows, camels and buffalo may be sold to farmers only for agricultural purposes, not for slaughter.

U.S. Meat Industry Nervous About EU–Japan Trade Agreement
Rita Jane Gabbett, Meatingplace | July 6, 2017
The European Union announced it reached a trade agreement with Japan that will reduce tariffs on several imported items, including pork and beef products.

Under the terms of the pact, about 85 percent of tariff lines concerning EU agricultural food products exported to Japan will be allowed to enter duty–free over time, corresponding to the 87 percent current export value for agricultural products.

Beef Research a Must — But Ideas Lacking  
Jamie–Lee Oldfield, The Weekly Times | June 29, 2017
Southern Australian Meat Research Council Central Victorian regional committee chair Hannah Marriott said there was a gap when it came to southern beef projects.

"The productivity levels of the industry remains the biggest challenge, we can't remain price competitive so we have to remain very productive," she said. SAMRC develops the projects, which aim to deliver the Meat Industry Strategic Plan — a road map to build the red meat industry by $13 billion.

Of that $13 billion, about $9 billion is in beef, according to Ms Marriott, who manages a livestock property near Greta.

Commentary: Get A Juicy Bite of China–US Trade
Jamie–Xinhua | June 6, 2017
Industry insiders predict China will become the world's largest beef market and a major importer of U.S. beef products. Adding to the market potential is China's changing tastes and a demand for higher quality steak.

In terms of its impact on U.S. beef producers and processors, the Chinese market is still in its infancy, but there are exciting opportunities ahead.

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