ANALYSIS – A five-year strategic plan was approved by a unanimous vote from the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) Board of Directors at the GRSB Semi-Annual Board Meeting in Chicago last month.
The Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2021 was developed to ensure the success of the organisation, providing a framework for prioritising goals and objectives that will guide the work of the GRSB, its members, board and staff in meeting various challenges and opportunities ahead.
GRSB goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan include expanding global reach through new roundtables, projects and stakeholder engagement, as well as demonstrating those results by creating a data platform that reports on the progress being made, shares regional roundtable and project findings and tracks key global metrics.
Additional key priorities in the plan include ongoing communication of continuous improvements around the globe, engagement on global issues through convening sectors, roundtables and geographies, and nurturing GRSB membership, member value and revenues.
"GRSB is engaging with the industry around the world and plan to continue reaching out to areas that are not yet directly or indirectly involved," said Ruaraidh Petre, Executive Director of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
"In almost all areas, there is a sustainability initiative with producers already actively working on the sustainability of their system."
Goals in the GRSB Strategic Plan were guided by four key principles:
In order to continue its progress, the organization has focused on ensuring it remains relevant to the industry and its members through demonstrating tangible impacts in beef sustainability around the world.
The organisation also has committed to serving as a trusted global voice on beef and sustainability, while providing clarity about its role among its members, regional and national roundtables and emerging geographies of opportunity.
In addition to the Board’s approval of the Strategic Plan, GRSB Technical Working Groups reported progress in areas that included sustainable beef benchmarking, antimicrobial stewardship, forests, communications and global indicators. The GRSB Board of Directors also provided a forum to regional roundtables and members to share progress made in beef sustainability in their respective areas.
"The Joint Working Group on Forests with GTPS is helping companies meet their commitments to eliminating deforestation in the Amazon from their supply chain, and the main processors involved in that group have made great strides to increase transparency in their supply chains. Of course there is more to be done, and the work needs to extent beyond Brazil into other countries in the region," Mr Petre said.
What Does the 5-Year Plan Mean for Beef Producers?
"While many producers will say “Of course we are sustainable, we have been here for generations,” and we agree with that, we also recognise the challenges that producers face as the world changes," said Mr Petre.
"Multi generational farms and ranches have certainly evolved over time. Making a profit today is even more of a challenge than 50 years ago, and there is ever increasing competition for scarce resources."
In many parts of the world, resources like water are becoming more expensive and difficult to access, so adaptations will be necessary to continue producing cattle. The industry has challenges related to climate change to tackle as well, he said.
"GRSB does not have the capacity to work everywhere, and since we started we have had a clear vision that local knowledge and experience will be the key to sustainability. That’s why there are national/regional roundtables in Brazil, Canada, the US and Europe, and new ones are being developed in Latin America," he said.
"There are also well established non-roundtable initiatives in other countries to which we have links. We are convinced that with that level of local engagement and participation, cattle producers stand to benefit."
2016 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef
Upcoming plans for the 2016 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef were also discussed at the board meeting. The Conference, entitled “Building on Experience: Regionally and Globally,” will be held October 4 –7 at the Fairmont Hotel in Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada.
"In Banff, we are going to learn a lot about what is happening on farms and ranches – how local experience is defining the detail of sustainable beef around the world," said Mr Petre.
"We will start with a tour to two different locations between Calgary and Banff and hear from several people who have been involved in the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and the pilot that McDonald’s just completed in Canada."
Expect to see sessions on assessing sustainability, on business commitments to sustainability and on connecting with consumers. There will be a debate on some of the major issues in the beef sustainability discussion, a review of research being undertaken around the world, and a series of producers' perspectives.
"We will also discuss ‘how much is enough?' with the global population heading to over 9.5 billion half way through this century, and resources ever more constrained we will consider the challenge of feeding everyone with a much lower footprint," he said.
Registration and additional information are available online.