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

Executive Director's Message:

Welcome to our newest members: The Argentinean Roundtable, which has been accepted as a full roundtable member, the Southern Africa Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, a provisional roundtable working in 7 countries of the region, Vence Corp. and the King Ranch Institute.

We are looking forward to engaging with all of them in our working groups. Their participation will bring the voices of even more of the world’s beef producers and value chain partners to the table!

Thank you to all those who joined our first webinar on the 28th April on the effects of the Covid epidemic on different parts of the supply chain around the world. We had registrations from 27 countries and during the webinar we had 158 participants, with a large majority staying for the whole call.

It was appreciated by many, and we would particularly like to thank the speakers who lent their insights and made it a success. If you were unable to participate at the time, you can access the recording HERE  to listen to it privately on-line at Vimeo.com. Use the GRSB member password grsbeef2020. 


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
May 5, 2020

Upcoming Webinar May 19th

Our next webinar is on the 19th May and the subject is Understanding GWP*: a New Metric for Estimating Global Warming Potential of Short-lived Climate Pollutants 

For those who read this newsletter regularly you will have come across this several times and may already have opinions on whether this is a metric GRSB would want to promote, or you may still have questions about its use and the implications under different scenarios.

We are fortunate that Professor Myles Allen from the University of Oxford, lead author of the nature paper "A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under ambitious mitigation" has agreed to give a presentation to start the webinar. We will follow his presentation with some short responses and questions from scientists working in this field around the world, and open up for general questions. The objective is to stimulate a debate to lead eventually to a GRSB position on the subject in the future.

We will keep the discussion at the level of educated observers rather than getting too deep into the science, as we want to inform our membership as a whole. As I have before, I recommend this article as a general overview on the subject. As you may already have read, several farming organisations in the UK and New Zealand including Beef and Lamb New Zealand have united in calling the IPCC to evaluate this methodology and to consider its adoption. Please sign up for the webinar, as we would like to have broad based participation to move this discussion forward.

Register now for May 19th Webinar HERE

Ian McConnel, World Wildlife Fund   |  May 5, 2020

GRSB has been bringing people together to drive a more sustainable beef industry since 2010. We have focused on building a network for the sector to collaborate, inspire and support each other in our shared ambition to continually improve, and be bold in sharing these improvements with our consumers and stakeholders.

Last year, as we sat down and refreshed the GRSB strategy, we concluded that setting goals would the best way to communicate our ambition and energise our platform to drive further progress.

Improving an industry as big and as variable as the beef industry takes time and measuring change often has a long lag time, meaning that demonstrating progress can be difficult. By setting ambitious goals we can communicate what we aim to achieve, thus inspiring collaboration, partnership and trust.

To this end, the GRSB has set up a technical working group to develop a suite of global goals.

This working group undertook an analysis of the materiality and prioritisation work of the regional roundtables to identify areas of obvious overlap and importance and settled on three subject areas to be the first goals written:

  • Climate change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Natural Ecosystems, including deforestation, conversion, and management
  • Animal Welfare

Currently, a technical assessment is being carried out for each of the topics to provide expert guidance to the working group. This guidance includes:

  • What is an acceptable level of ambition (when compared to other goals or targets like the Sustainable development goals-SDG’s, nationally determined contributions-NDC’s, or OIE Guidance)
  • What metrics can be used to measure the goal
  • What is the role of the beef industry in addressing the issue.
  • Potential timelines

These assessments will be completed in the next few days; after which the working group will begin the exciting process of testing our levels of ambition, defining targets and timelines before taking a draft to GRSB members for review.

This process being carried out at a global level by the GRSB mirrors similar processes being undertaken (or already completed) by regional roundtables. It is envisaged that the regional and global goals will work together in developing a shared framework to communicate the ambition of roundtable members and demonstrate progress.

By setting these goals the GRSB intends to communicate it’s ambition to the world that we envision a world where beef is a trusted part of a thriving food system in which the beef value chain is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

Over the coming months we will look at each of these Goal topics in more detail in Connect, and will be organising webinars related to various aspects of them.

In June we will be hosting a webinar on Land use and Biodiversity, focusing on the activities of our working group to discuss Land conversion and the commitments that members have made to ensuring that their supply chains are not involved in deforestation or other forms of conversion of biodiverse ecosystems, both in producing countries as well as importing countries, including the opportunities for exerting market pull to bring about great transparency in supply chains. We are currently in discussion with the Tropical Forest Alliance on the subject of Chinese meat imports from Latin America.

Solidaridad to Coordinate Tropical Forest Alliance for Peru
and Colombia

The alliance between Solidaridad and Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) will promote the implementation of zero deforestation agreements in key supply chains, promoting the engagement of companies with the potential to make a sustainable impact at the regional and sector level.

The Tropical Forest Alliance is a global platform that emerged in 2012 during the Rio+ 20 conference, when the Consumer Goods Forum made a commitment to eradicate deforestation from palm oil, cattle, soybean and paper supply chains globally by. 2020. Since then, it has engaged more and more members from the private and public sectors, civil society, and indigenous communities, to identify key challenges at agricultural frontiers, and to think of joint solutions that help conserve our tropical forests.

Resources for these interventions come from the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation through the World Economic Forum (WEF). (Webinar registration link to be announced.)

The details of the webinar are yet to be fully decided upon, but the general theme will be innovation for sustainability within the beef industry. Given the breadth of that topic, we could run a whole series just on that. For July we want to focus on innovations that help producers directly in the management of their property; these could be technological innovations, but we are also looking at innovations in management that are not per se technology dependent.

(Webinar registration link to be announced.)

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Announces Sysco Corporation as Newest Member

Perishable News | April 30, 2020

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), a nonprofit initiative that developed the industry-adopted U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework, announced its newest member, Sysco Corporation, this month.

“Sysco is joining a leading group of companies who believe in U.S. beef,” USRSB Chair Ben Weinheimer said. “As we continue to expand membership and promote implementation of our Framework across the value chain, we increase trust in U.S. beef—how it is raised, processed and distributed across our country. USRSB is excited to work with Sysco as the beef value chain continues its beef sustainability journey.”

As a global company, Sysco sells, markets and distributes food to restaurants, health care and educational facilities, hotels, and other foodservice and hospitality businesses. The company has made long-term commitments to animal welfare and sustainability, actions reinforced by membership in the USRSB.

COVID-19: One Size Does Not Fit All In the Cattle Market. Want to Change the Cattle Market? Remember the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Derrell S. Peel, BEEF Magazine | Apr 30, 2020

Cattle producers often feel – rightfully – that others do not understand the cattle business. Producers face many challenges and unique considerations of raising cattle in a vast array of climates and production environments; and they constantly fend off a never-ending set of calls to change how cattle are produced for this or that unrealistic demand or expectation of someone somewhere.

Then there’s this: The U.S. cattle and beef industry is probably the most complex set of markets on the planet. It is extremely difficult to understand with many levels of productions and an enormously complicated marketing chain.


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