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


Executive Director's Message

This week I will be in Canada for the launch of CRSB's Verified Sustainable Beef Framework. It is really exciting to see how national initiatives have progressed in recent years. Our board meeting in Canberra showed that great progress has been made all over the world, including in Australia itself.

With the Canadian launch, we will have the first national level verified sustainable beef system in place. New roundtables are still in the process of formation in some regions, such as South America and Southern Africa. In addition, we should not forget that some of our members have systems already running around the globe, either partially or fully aligned with GRSB's scope.

This is why we have been working on an equivalency system for initiatives that want to demonstrate their alignment with GRSB. In the early stages this will take the form of a reporting framework covering a range of our sustainability criteria, and we expect to be able to refine that over time. Having a system such as this in place and monitoring the same criteria on a global level will enable us to demonstrate the progress that is being made by our network as a whole.

In the last edition of Connect I talked about antibiotics and the fact that we have been working on a GRSB statement on antimicrobial stewardship. This has now been sent out to all member organisations to elicit comment. The comment period is 60 days, and we request that we receive one set of comments from each organization. If you have not received it yourself, please ask the main contact in your organisation to share it with you.

We look forward to hearing from all of you. The intent, as with our principles and criteria, is that we have one global level antimicrobial stewardship approach, and that our roundtable members address the national context to make it relevant locally. In some cases, national legislation or national initiatives covering antimicrobial stewardship may already be well aligned, so apart from referencing those, significant further action would not be necessary at this stage.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
See All Members

Rabobank Says Red Meat Farmers Need to Understand What Is Driving These Substitutes
Interest.co.nz | November 20, 2017
Report author, Rabobank global sector strategist for Animal Protein Justin Sherrard, says it is the 'growth' – rather than the current market size – of alternative proteins that is of greatest significance.

"Three of the strongest demand drivers for alternative protein products are essentially those that are 'pushing' consumers away from regular animal protein consumption, namely concerns around health, animal welfare and sustainability," he says.

"That said, there are also a number of 'pull drivers', such as curiosity to try new products, convenience and personal nutrition."

And with alternative protein companies adept at tapping into these drivers, Mr Sherrard says, market share growth is set to rise, particularly for meat substitutes – the most mature of the alternative protein products. There are also opportunities for insect or algae–based products, and lab–grown meat products, but in many cases inroads still need to be made to gain consumer trust and regulatory approvals.

Beef and Lamb Studies Threat Posed by Alternative Proteins  
Rebecca Howard, NBR | November 27, 2017
Beef and Lamb New Zealand is carrying out consumer research into alternative proteins in China and San Francisco in response to the rise of the rival products and wants to report back to the sector before the end of the year.

Big Meat and Dairy's Supersized Climate Footprint
The institute for agriculture and trade policy, together with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Grain have produced the linked "infographic" page comparing emissions through large meat and dairy companies with those of a selection of oil companies. The presentation is disingenuous at best, and outright misleading at worst.

This is the most direct attempt I have seen to compare emissions from the livestock sector with fossil fuel companies and the fact that they have chosen to paint the fossil fuel industry in a more positive light, despite the fact that the fossil fuel industry and its products accounted for 91% of global industrial GHGs in 2015, and about 70% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions (this is taken from the same source as the one they used, but not quoted on their page) is extremely worrying.

The authors were extremely selective in what they quoted from the Carbon Majors Report (PDF) on fossil fuel comanies, while they used FAO derived factors to estimate the emissions of livestock related companies, which are based on full LCAs, not the emissions of the companies named in the report.

As I have said before – we cannot deny that producing livestock causes GHG emissions, but the livestock sector must be more proactive in talking about how we are already reducing emissions, can reduce them further and sequester carbon moving towards carbon neutrality as the Australian beef industry is.

We should also highlight the difference between fossil emissions and short term GHGs such as enteric methane, which simply returns CO2 back to the atmosphere over a period of around 12 years.

Red Meat Industry Can Be Carbon–Neutral by 2030, Says MLA
Beef Central | November 22, 2017
Australia's red meat industry can become carbon neutral by 2030, putting it head and shoulders above its global competitors, MLA managing director Richard Norton told the company's AGM in Alice Springs this afternoon.

Australian Beef Sustainability Framework Backs MLA's Carbon–Neutral CommitmentBeef Central | November 23, 2017
The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework has backed MLA's commitment made yesterday that the red meat industry should aim to be carbon–neutral by 2030.

Dishing the Dirt on Soil Health a Big Draw   
Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Express | November 21, 2017
"Soil health or regenerative agriculture has gained a lot of popularity and interest," said conference chair Nora Paulovich, manager of the North Peace Applied Research Association. "I think producers as a whole are looking for answers as to how they can improve the health of their soils and reduce their reliance on inputs."

View More News

Measuring Sustainable Beef Production  
John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian | November 20, 2017
The term "sustainability" means different things to different people, so before we can make sustainability claims, or demonstrate progress toward sustainability goals, we need objective measurements. With that in mind, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), which launched in 2015, set goal for identifying high–priority indicators in 2016 and developing sustainability metrics in 2017. Following the recent USRSB conference in Kansas City, the group released its summary of metrics and indicators (PDF) for sustainable production up and down the beef value chain.

B+LNZ Elected to Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Scoop.co.nz | November 22, 2017
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has been elected on to the Board of Directors of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) for a two–year term.

"This is about B+LNZ on behalf of New Zealand beef farmers and the wider industry stepping up into a global leadership role," says CEO Sam McIvor. "It is also recognition of the high standing of New Zealand and our beef farmers when it comes to sustainability globally.

Six Reasons to Join the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot
Meristem Land & Science | November 10, 2017
Cargill leadership outlines why producers should consider participating.

There's no doubt it has created interest. And depending on who you talk to, it could be the biggest opportunity the beef industry has had in years.

Canada is taking the lead internationally for the building of a brand around beef sustainability. Beef producers will get a chance to get in on the program early by participating in the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot.

New Dairy Sustainability Indicator Metrics Launched   
Dairy Sustainability Framework
The DSF members meeting on October 29, saw the launch of five new indicator metrics, building on the two launched in 2016. With these seven completed, the sector is now able to move from a basis of talking about what it is going to do, to a clear demonstration of the sustainability progress at an aggregate level. This is a substantial step forward! Many thanks to Dr Marty Matlock and his team at the University of Arkansas for guiding us through this process.

To learn more about the context of the global indicator metrics work, you may wish to watch the video clip HERE.

View More News

The Battle Over a Chicken–Alike Label Is a Sign of the Meat Wars to Come  
Jihee Junn, The Spinoff | November 20, 2017
Here's a puzzle for you: can meat still be meat if it isn't actually meat? What about milk that's not milk? Or cheese? Or eggs?

What's in a name? A lot, apparently. As the primary foods industry undergoes major upheaval, some meat and dairy advocates have been getting into a tizzy over what they perceive to be an infringement on their linguistic domain. Most recently, in the case of Sunfed Meats vs the Poultry Industry Association New Zealand (PIANZ).

Just days after Sunfed Meats announced it was embarking on a coveted series A–capital raise last week, the Auckland–based start–up was hit with the news that PIANZ is taking the brand's popular chicken–free chicken to the Commerce Commission. PIANZ says it takes issue with the company's labelling of the product, arguing that Sunfed's packaging – which features a picture of a chicken and the phrase "wild meaty chunks" – could be in breach of the Fair Trading Act, which aims to ensure consumers have accurate information when making choices.

Hard Brexit to Have 'Catastrophic' Effect on European Meat Industry; New Report

Agrimoney | November 27, 2017
'Crisis – The EU Meat Industry in a Hard Brexit Scenario' report, commissioned by UECBV and carried out by Red Flag Consulting, analyses the potential impact of a hard Brexit on the European and UK meat industry.

It found that a 'no–deal' outcome would lead to a collapse in trade, with a 90% drop in beef exports and 53% drop in lamb exports from the UK to the EU. In this scenario, the report says meat products would face greater burdens than almost any other sector.

Aussie Producers Play a Role in the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance
Beef Central | November 20, 2017

As part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13–19 November), the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is highlighting the importance of veterinarians and farmers working together to use antibiotics responsibly in livestock.

Seven Keys to Ranch Profitability
Burke Teichert, BEEF Magazine | February 25, 2017

The prices of fuel and equipment have risen significantly faster over time than the market value of cattle. Therefore, I prefer a production system highly dependent on soil, sunlight, rainfall, and our ingenuity and inventiveness, than one highly dependent on fossil fuels and equipment. Most of the following suggestions will tie back to this statement, as well as the fact that cattle prices tend to be cyclical and will most likely decline again at some time.

COP23 Key Outcomes Agreed at the UN Climate Talks in Bonn
Jocelyn Timperley, Carbon Brief | November 19, 2017

Climate change was again placed at the centre of global diplomacy over the past two weeks as diplomats and ministers gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the latest annual round of United Nations climate talks.

COP23, the second "conference of the parties" since the Paris Agreement was struck in 2015, promised to be a somewhat technical affair as countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement will work from 2020 onwards.
View More News
Administrative Offices:
13570 Meadowgrass Drive, Suite 201
Colorado Springs, CO 80921 USA
Phone: 1-719-355-2935
Fax: 1-719-538-8847
Email: admin@grsbeef.org
Copyright © 2017 Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. All rights reserved.
You are receiving this message as a benefit of membership to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef