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

Watch for more information coming soon.

Executive Director's Message:

I hope many of you had the chance to join our webinar on the 27th of January “Being Herd, from COP to G20: How to Effect Change on a Global Level". This was a useful discussion, and it was enlightening to hear from our members who have engaged extensively in international processes.

The conversation was ably led by Nick Barron, deputy CEO of Engine MHP of our communications firm, who has experience working with agricultural organisations that have turned adversarial relationships into positive partnerships. Nick started by listing some of the reasons that 2021 will be a year in which the beef industry will be under great scrutiny, and asking our panel what their priorities would be for 2021.

~ Dennis Laycraft, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, was first to respond. In Canada, the beef industry has seen first hand how UN pronouncements can influence national policy. If we are not at the table, who will speak about us? We need to be sure that we turn up to speak for ourselves.

~ Jesse Sevcik from Elanco followed by emphasising that all GRSB members can give input with their national governments, whose voices are heard better than those of individual companies in UN forums.

~ Justin Ransom, Tyson Foods, pointed out that while a lot of those in the agricultural world are used to working hard and getting things done, they might not be as accustomed to communicating about the good work they are doing. 2021 is certainly a year to do that, with transparent and real information on what we are doing.

~ Heather Tansey from Cargill stressed the need to Educate and Elevate. In interactions, she has often found that, in general, the level of knowledge and understanding of the beef industry is quite low, and simply communicating some of the basics can often be quite enlightening. The elevation part concerns the fact that producer voices are credible with consumers, and we should elevate them in our communications.

~ Marcela Arnaiz Elduayen, an independent trade consultant, made the point that when it comes to the promotion of dietary guidelines, we need to be more clear about the downsides to recommendations that restrict meat intake, particularly for certain ages and gender.

~ Dr. Federico Lanfranco, a rancher from Uruguay, made the point that ranchers have progressed a lot, but similar to others, they may not feel inclined or have time and opportunity to blow their own trumpet even though they do have credibility.

~ Justin Ransom followed with the point that we can no longer wait to be approached by governments or others, we must be proactive in communicating the good work and progress we are making. Tyson has been doing this in the WEF, COP and other such forums, and recommends that we should all be asking to be involved in them to bring clarity and facts to discussions when they are required.

The discussion continued in a positive vane, and the view from the panelists was that there were great opportunities for collaboration in the coming year.

I would encourage you to watch the recording of the webinar in case you missed it; you can find it HERE. You will need the password grsbeef2021 to watch it. 

As a follow up, I plan to hold a briefing call next week to share where we are engaging in the Food Systems Summit, and calling members to share where they are involved so that we can identify where we need to focus our collective attention.

We are collaborating closely with the Global Dairy Platform and through Emerging Ag. We also have a group of livestock organisations including IMS, GDP, the International Poultry Council, Health for Animals, Dairy UK, IDF and CEVA for sharing information. I would be happy to add interested members to that list. 


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
February 9, 2021

We have not forgotten our work on goals! A return to those discussions and progress, including full member consultation, will be included in the next Connect, and in separate consultation emails.

 "The Role of Genomics in Delivering Sustainability Outcomes Webinar"
The free webinar will be held:
Thursday, February 25, 2021
at 2:00 p.m. Central U.S. Time 
(7:00 p.m. UTC)

Register Here

We will hear from experts and producers around the world on a variety of aspects related to performance, health and adaptation to climate. Expect further details in the invitation coming soon.

We are planning a webinar in March on financial mechanisms to support sustainable beef, considering payments for environmental services, green bonds and others, with an emphasis on payments and financing aimed at producers. Suggestions for panelists from under all regions are welcome!

We would like to welcome the following new members:

CME Group: Well known to many of you as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, particularly for cattle futures trading. Given their potential to influence trade, we hope for strong engagement from them.

Shangani Ranch: Better known to many of you as Max Mukuvise, regular representative for Zimbabwe in Roundtable conversations. Welcome to the Producer Constituency.

ADM - Archers Daniel Midland: One of the big four grain traders, and therefore also very significant in animal feed and nutrition are welcomed into the Commerce and Processing Constituency

Nicola Robinson MRCVS: Welcome back as an individual member, having served as Vice President in her previous role with McDonalds. We are pleased to be able to have you back to contribute your expertise, particularly in the coming Food System Summit discussions.

ProForest: International group working in the forest conservation with the Beef Industry in Latin America and Australia for many years. They have been an active participant in our joint forest working group with GTPS.

OECD Encourages Governments to Opt for a "Food Systems" Approach to Address Mounting Challenges 
The Cattle Site, January 31, 2021

Instead of viewing challenges like environmental sustainability, food security and economic livelihoods in isolation, leaders should adopt a "food systems" model and take a more holistic approach when crafting solutions. Food systems face the triple challenge of providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population and livelihoods to farmers and others working in food supply chains around the world, all while improving environmental sustainability.

Given the deep connections between these objectives, governments can do much more to take into account the synergies and trade-offs that exist between the different areas, as well as the challenges for developing more coherent policy, according to a new OECD report.

Aus Cattle Company Makes Global Carbon Credit Sale to Microsoft
Beef Central, January 29, 2021

In a ground-breaking move for the Australian livestock industry, a New England cattle business has sealed a significant sale of carbon credits to one of the world's leading technology companies. The carbon credits have been verified and sold by the US-based Regen Network, under their CarbonPlus scheme, as part of the recently-announced carbon offset initiatives by Microsoft.

The soil carbon gains have been made by Ebor-based Wilmot Cattle Company as a result of enhanced grazing management over the last three years on two of Wilmot's properties in northern NSW.

How Environmental Values Influence Trust and Beliefs About Societal Oversight and Need for Regulation of the Australian Cattle Industry 
Environmental Research Letters, February 1, 2021

Livestock grazing covers half of Australia and vast areas of global terrestrial ecosystems. The sustainability of the beef cattle industries are being scrutinized amid ongoing environmental concerns. In response, industry discourse has identified public trust as critical to avoiding reactive environmental regulation. However, public perceptions of the cattle industry's sustainability performance and trust are largely unknown and speculative.

We present the first model of public attitudes toward the Australian cattle industry (n=2,913). Our results reveal that societal perceptions of the industry's environmental performance strongly predict trust in the industry. However, trust only weakly predicts a perceived right for societal oversight and has only an indirect relationship on need for environmental regulation. Environmental values influence perceptions of industry performance and the perceived right for societal oversight.

We conclude that effective industry governance must be values literate and recognise that strong environmental performance is critical for public trust. Public trust is high but does not translate to support for a relaxed regulatory environment.

Agriculture's Contribution to Climate Change and Role in Mitigation Is Distinct From Predominantly Fossil CO2-Emitting Sectors 
Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, February 3, 2021

Agriculture is a significant contributor to anthropogenic global warming, and reducing agricultural emissions—largely methane and nitrous oxide—could play a significant role in climate change mitigation. However, there are important differences between carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a stock pollutant, and methane (CH4), which is predominantly a flow pollutant.

These dynamics mean that conventional reporting of aggregated CO2-equivalent emission rates is highly ambiguous and does not straightforwardly reflect historical or anticipated contributions to global temperature change. As a result, the roles and responsibilities of different sectors emitting different gases are similarly obscured by the common means of communicating emission reduction scenarios using CO2-equivalence. We argue for a shift in how we report agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and think about their mitigation to better reflect the distinct roles of different greenhouse gases.

Policy-makers, stakeholders, and society at large should also be reminded that the role of agriculture in climate mitigation is a much broader topic than climate science alone can inform, including considerations of economic and technical feasibility, preferences for food supply and land-use, and notions of fairness and justice. A more nuanced perspective on the impacts of different emissions could aid these conversations.

Please see a summary of all meetings, calls and webinars on our event calendar in the member area of the website.

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