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

Executive Director's Message:

Winter is here on the South Island of New Zealand. At least, if the arrival of winter can be gauged by needing to scrape your windshield in the morning before driving. 

The week before last, I was in Palmerston North to participate in Agri Food week, where I presented to Ag Research's session "Our Food, Our Future" on sustainable beef's role in a resilient food future. My message was about the importance of considering the interlinkages between the various components of our whole food system. This is a consideration that I feel is missing from many conversations on beef sustainability, particularly in the UN Food Systems Summit.

Beef is already part of a thriving food system for the millions of producers and billions of people who eat it. Cattle also play a hugely important role in ecosystem services on grasslands, in cycling nutrients and maintaining a healthy water cycle. Guardians of the Grasslands is an excellent short film from Canada underlining exactly that important role. I urge all GRSB members to watch this and share it, because the story is true for native grasslands everywhere.

Efficiency can be a divisive word. Some people have visions of "industrialised food production" when they hear the word efficiency. Some consider the term "sustainable intensification" to be an oxymoron. Think about some of the issues underlying efficiency: Optimising fodder production through grazing management, sward composition and soil health, optimising animal health and reproduction through preventative health and good nutrition, and retaining breeding animals in the herd longer through attention to health and welfare.

These are hallmarks of good management and are as applicable in holistically managed herds on native grasslands as they are anywhere else. There are still many places in the world where cows are producing one calf every four or five years. Bringing that to one calf per year would hugely reduce the size of the supporting herd and therefore contribute to our goal of reducing the GHG footprint of each lb or kg of beef. Meeting that goal will involve both of the others: Nature-positive production and animal health and welfare.

We need to urgently recognise the fact that doing things better in one area has on effects in others. None of our goals stand independent of each other, just as no individual part of the food system is independent of the others.

Beef Australia in Rockhampton, also took place between 2nd and 8th May, and was the venue for the release of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework's annual report, which details the impressive progress being made in Australia in areas very relevant to our goals, such as reduction of GHG emissions per kg, advances in animal welfare and producer satisfaction.


Understanding Global Goals:
Context & Content

Thursday, May 27, 2021
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Central US/Canada Time
(North and South America and Europe)
(2:00 p.m. UTC)

(Note: This session will feature English to Spanish translation.)

Register for 9:00 a.m. Session

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Central US/Canada Time
(Australia, New Zealand and Asia)
(10:00 p.m. UTC)

Register for 5:00 p.m. Session

This upcoming webinar will be a final presentation of the goals. Each of the drafting groups will explain the changes that have been made in response to the comments received on the first draft and the reasoning behind those changes.

It will be a good moment to understand exactly how the final goals have developed over the eight months since we started drafting them, and in particular, how we have dealt with questions, comments and concerns from members.

As the comments received have been many and varied, it has not always been possible to accommodate them all in the revised drafts, because in some cases they conflicted with each other. As always, compromise has been required, but I feel it has been a robust process and the feedback from members has been instrumental in improving the drafts. 

The Significance of
Animal Protein

June 24, 2021

Please save the date. More info to come.

Our June webinar will be about the important role of animal sourced foods in the food system. Clearly this relates largely to the ongoing discussions in the UN Food Systems Summit, but will be a good opportunity for GRSB members to catalogue talking points that can be used in discussions or in social media posts when you are talking about the role of beef in a thriving food system.

We recognise the important role of crops and their interaction with livestock systems as we also recognise the essential contribution that grasslands and crop by-products play in animal feed and therefore also human nutrition.

It’s important that people realise the level of complementarity between livestock and cropping systems, both in terms of how they cycle nutrients between them, but also how they provide a balance of nutrition for people.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
May 18, 2021

The GRSB and its Stakeholders would like to Thank the following Organizations for their Contribution to the Global Beef Sustainability Acceleration Fund.

Embracing Change And Harnessing Diversity: The Roles Of Livestock In Future Food Systems
Summit Dialogs, 05/21   

Global Sustainability: Beef Industry Can Better Communicate Successes 
Victoria G. Myers, Progressive Farmer, 04/19/21

Bob Mcan: "We hope to see these voluntary goals implemented over the next decade in a way that is respectful of private property rights, but also meaningful and ambitious so that we may all see truly positive impacts in our world and for the future."

Australian Beef Industry’s Sustainability Report Card Released 
Mirage, 05/04/21

The past year has been like no other – travel restrictions, lockdowns, quarantine and global disruption have disrupted supply chains and important revenue pathways," Ms Herbert said.

"Despite the many challenges, responses to our producer sustainability survey increased four-fold demonstrating producers are more engaged with the process of promoting industry transparency and progress."

Bad Science: Planting Frenzy Misses the Grasslands for the Trees 
Shreya Dasgupta, Mongabay, 05/12/21

Forests are great at storing carbon; there's little controversy there. In fact, the loss of tropical forests contributes some 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which means that halting deforestation, and reducing fossil fuel emissions, are two powerful actions to take, if tackling the climate crisis is the goal. But Durigan says that tree-planting programs often "create the illusion that if we can plant trees in the whole world, we'll neutralize all carbon emissions."

For the goal of storing carbon, planting forests on grasslands or shrublands, however, can backfire.

In general, forests store most of their carbon in woody trunks and leaves aboveground. But much of the carbon in grasslands is in the soil (in extensive root systems of the grasses as well as decaying organic matter). In fact, grasslands, covering a quarter of the Earth's surface, can store up to 30% of the world's carbon, per some estimates. "Replacing savannas, grasslands and wetlands by tree plantation[s] is expected to decrease carbon storage in the soil, despite increasing aerial biomass," Durigan says.

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

If you don’t have a password for the members area,
please click on "Forgot Password" at Login. 


This message has been sent to you at {Organization_Name}
If you no longer want to receive these letters, you can unsubscribe at any time