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


Executive Director's Message

This week, we are in Australia for our board meeting, and to meet the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.  As you can read on their website, it is a national level, industry–led initiative which aligns well with GRSB's vision, Principles and Criteria.

In the meantime, there are activities by members all around the globe that contribute to the development of sustainable beef. The CRSB (Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef) has completed their first consultation on draft indicators for processing and will hold a second round of consultation in the fall.

We are happy to be welcoming Paraguayan participants to our board meeting, and the Paraguayan roundtable is approaching the stage of joining GRSB. During our board meeting we will also consider Colombia's application to join as a full member and hear of progress being made in other Latin American countries (Argentina and Uruguay), Southern Africa and China.

All in all, we are making good progress with respect to our goal of extending reach; which is relevant due to the pattern of expansion of both beef production and consumption in many of those regions. We will  be giving consideration to our data and metrics and benchmarking goals, which are important to measure and report on progress, as well as ensuring we can demonstrate equivalence with initiatives where there is no national roundtable.

Finally, global issues will be discussed; antimicrobial stewardship being one that has been raised, as well as animal welfare, on which we have a report from a group being formed within the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
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Canada Ready to Make 'Bold Statement' with Sustainable Beef Program
Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Express | August 30, 2017
The long process to create a Canadian ‘sustainable beef' program is nearing the finish line.

"We will be launching in December a national framework — this is go time," said Cherie Copithorne–Barnes, a Calgary–area rancher and chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

The effort to make Canada a world leader in producing cattle raised to the highest environmental, animal health and welfare, and food–safety standards goes back more than three years when fast–food giant McDonald's picked this country for its global sustainable beef pilot. After the pilot ended, the Canadian roundtable took on the job of refining the ‘indicators' created for the fast–food giant's program.

Livestock Production Much Smaller Challenge to Global Food Security  
The Poultry Site | September 12, 2017
A new study in Global Food Security found that livestock place less burden on the human food supply than previously reported. Even stronger, certain production systems contribute directly to global food security because they produce more highly valuable nutrients for humans, such as proteins, than they consume.

How to Quantify Sustainability's Impact on Your Bottom Line–Friendly' Beef
Tensie Whelan, Bruno Zappa, Rodrigo Zeidan & Greg Fishbein, Harvard Business Review | September 13, 2017
We chose Brazil's beef industry as the location of our case study, both for the size and complexity of the industry and for its impact on the planet. We found that sustainable and deforestation–free practices created significant financial benefits for all players in the industry's value chain.

Specifically, our analysis found that the net benefits to ranchers ranged from $18 million to $34 million (12% to 23% of revenues) in net present value projected over 10 years. For slaughterhouses and retailers (Brazilian operations), we also projected positive benefits: $20 million to $120 million (0.01% to 0.1% of revenues) and $13 million to $62 million (0.01% to 0.7% of revenues).

The Grassroots of Sustainability: Beef's Sustainability Advantage
Bryan Weech, BEEF Magazine | August 03, 2017
Beef production relies on grazing to produce a product that is nutrient dense, and therefore can be sustainable in ways other food sources can't.

One of the greatest challenges facing society is how to feed the 9 billion people that will inhabit the planet by 2050. Alan Savory, who developed the concept of Holistic Planned Grazing, said, "Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, a stock market, bank, university, a church or army.

Agriculture is the foundation of civilization, and the basis for any stable economy." Agriculture plays a key role supporting society, but increasing demand will create challenges.

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CRSB Verification Turns to Processors as Framework Consultations Continue  
Alexis Stockford, Manitoba Co–operator | August 29, 2017
The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has turned its eyes to the processing industry as development on its incoming verification framework continues.

Beef processors are being asked how their sustainability should be graded when the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) verification framework is released later this year.

The CRSB has released a draft of its processing sustainability indicators and invited the public to comment online from June 29 to Aug. 29.

Comments will be refined before a second, more specialized, round of consultations in fall. The two–tiered consultation echoes a similar process with beef producers earlier this year.

Ahold Delhaize Named Sustainability Leader
Carl Collen, Fruitnet | September 7, 2017
European retailer Ahold Delhaize has been recognised in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World), ranking among the industry leaders in the Food and Staples Retailing sector. The group received a total score of 73 (out of 100), above the Food and Staples Retailing industry median score of 45. The DJSI World is seen as a key benchmark for investors.

"Recognition as one of the industry leaders in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is a great honour for Ahold Delhaize," said CEO Dick Boer. "It acknowledges the efforts of the 370,000 associates of our brands in Sustainable Retailing, which is embedded throughout our Better Together strategy.

US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Susan Allen, AgInfo (registration) | September 01, 2017
With your Land and Livestock Report on the Ag Information Network of the West, I'm Russell Nemetz. Well, a group of 130 representatives across the beef value chain gathered in Denver this summer for the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef General Assembly Meeting.

Debbie Lyons–Blythe is a rancher from White City, Kansas and is the group's' Secretary/Treasurer and says one of the first orders of business was to define sustainability. And she says the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is really working hard to ease ranchers fears of this new buzzword–sustainability.

Listen to 1:29 audio interview HERE.

Rabobank: Cow Herd to Continue Increasing Through 2020  
Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers | August 30, 2017
Herd expansion won't slow down anytime soon according to Rabobank analysts who are projecting 1.6% to 2.2% growth in the beef cow herd in the next two to three years.

Rabobank recently published the U.S. Long–term Beef and Cattle Outlook report which outlines how expanding beef production will increase the need for export. Don Close, senior analyst of animal protein and Sterling Liddell, senior analyst of data analytics, authored the report for RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness.

BLNZ Project on Impact of Alternative Proteins
Sally Rae, Otago Daily Times | September 5, 2017
Beef and Lamb New Zealand has begun a project aimed at better understanding what impact alternative proteins may have on the red meat sector.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand has begun a project aimed at better understanding what impact alternative proteins may have on the red meat sector.

It is part of the organisation's new innovation programme to front–foot potential challenges and fill knowledge gaps.

Led by market innovation manager Lee–Ann Marsh, the alternative proteins project aimed to answer key stakeholder questions, the company said.

Hy–Plains Feed Yard Opens Research, Education Facility  
Kylene Scott, High Plains Journal | September 1, 2017
Tom Jones of Hy–Plains Feed Yard welcomed about 200 attendees to the new research and education facility at the feed yard near Montezuma, Kansas, Aug. 23.

A full panel of speakers ranging from World Wildlife Fund to McDonald's and Cargill as well as veterinarians, beef producers and genetics companies spoke about how each of their sectors will contribute to the sustainability of the beef industry.

Shannon Wharton, who works at the research center, praised beef producers and their ability to produce beef sustainably already. "The topic today is sustainability and I know that scares some of the producers," she said. "It's something we do every day. We don't realize that we do it." Wharton said good beef producers already manage their land appropriately for the next generation to take over.

Tyson Foods: Sustainability Will Fund Itself, Increase Profits  
Jennifer Hermes, Environmental Leader | September 11, 2017
Tyson Foods Inc. has announced that sustainability will play a key role in the company's strategy as it moves into fiscal 2018; the company expects sustainability will be one element that will help the company reach an expected sales growth of about 6% next year. The company has already engaged in major sustainability efforts, including one that is expected to help improve the traceability of the global food supply chain.

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Abattoir Closures Must Force Recognition of Unsustainable Regulatory Costs: AMIC
Beef Central | August 30, 2017
The Australian red meat processing industry's peak industry council has called on levels of Government and industry to recognise the impact that record input costs, regulatory burden and encumbered market access is having on the industry, following the closure of another processing company within Australia.

Farming Must Highlight the True Value of Animal Manures
Richard Halleron, Agriland | September 3, 2017
The commentary from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) putting agriculture in the dock, following last week's water quality report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was entirely predictable. I would be the first person to put my hands up and confirm that silage effluent is a potent pollutant and that every farmer must strive to keep seepage levels into water courses at a zero level. This is the law, and rightly so.

However, the use of animal slurries and manures by farmers is a different issue altogether. In the first instance, slurry is one of the most valuable assets that farmers have access to. It is not the waste product, which so many environmental organisations refer to it as being.

Is Consumer Perception Truly Reality for Beef?
Krissa Welshans, Feedstuffs | September 07, 2017

When deciding what protein to eat, today's consumer is still looking for a tasty experience, and beef is delivering, according to Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen's Beef Board chief executive officer.

This was highlighted in the Consumer Beef Index (CBI), a key research survey the beef checkoff fields twice a year to track changes in consumers' perceptions of and demand for beef relative to other meat proteins, assess the impact of the beef industry's communications efforts on consumers and measure the extent to which consumers consider the positive aspects of beef to outweigh the negatives.

Why Are Some of the World's Largest Meat Processors Investing in Lab–Grown Meat?
James Nason, BEEF Central | September 11, 2017

Meat processing giants say recent decisions to pour funds into small start–ups developing lab–grown meat, or plant–based alternatives to conventionally farmed meat, is a response to growing consumer demand for sustainably–produced food.

Healthy Soils Can Boost Food Security and Climate Resilience for Millions (commentary)
Inger Andersen, Mongabay | September 6, 2017

When healthy, drylands like those stretching across northern Burkina Faso are covered in a rich but fragile fabric of life, most of which is hidden underground. Rain–fed agriculture in these regions depends on underground ecosystems of bacteria, fungi, termites, and other species that keep the soil fertile.

But the health of many dryland ecosystems has declined dramatically over recent decades, largely due to unsustainable farming methods, increasing drought, deforestation, and clearance of natural grasslands. Burkina Faso is hardest hit of all of Western Africa, with 40 percent of its soils severely degraded. Desertification is costing the country nine percent of national agricultural GDP annually.

5 Tips To Develop a Grazing System in Sync with Nature
Bryan Weech, BEEF Magazine | May 25, 2017

Much has been said and written about ranch sustainability. When you boil it down, however, it's largely a matter of working with nature.

Beef can play an important role in providing the world a nutrient–dense food that is also sustainable. However, to accomplish this, a beef production system must take advantage of key components that can make it more sustainable, which can be defined as the ability of beef to be produced in sync with nature.

Ranching in harmony with nature is one of the key strategies for decreasing the impacts while increasing the profitability and sustainability of beef production.

At Home On the Range  
Bruce Aidells, Meat + Poultry | October 7, 2014

Bill Niman's vision from the get–go was to "raise wholesome meat" and to do so in a sustainable manner, including treating livestock with respect and committing to humane animal–welfare practices. When his business began in the early 1970s, these ideas were not being talked about much in the meat industry. Few cattle were raised "all–natural," meaning they were not given sub–therapeutic doses of antibiotics, added growth stimulants or hormones and were fed an all–vegetable diet.

Dr. Richard Teague from Texas A&M Talks About Regenerative Grazing and Holistic Management
Savory Institute, You Tube | February 16, 2016

Watch 2:31 video HERE.

GRSB Communicators Summit
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

We're bringing together an exclusive group of social scientists, communication experts, and a host of sustainability trail–blazers to explore how we're all talking about sustainability, in person, online, or even in virtual reality. During our two and half days together, we will do the type of work that drives continuous improvement!

Our hope is the types of conversations that will be had, the knowledge that will be shared, and the relationships that will be built, will be the makings of a big up–level in how we're collectively communicating about global sustainability.

We're excited to create a space to celebrate what's driving success in sustainability communication and to identify how we can reach audiences at deeper and more meaningful levels – levels that shift paradigms and inspire innovation!

If you are the sustainability communicator in your organization and would like to attend this event, please send an email to information@grsbeef.org for registration information. Please provide your name, job title, and organization name.

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