Sustainable Beef Has Been Defined

GLOBAL - Beef sector stakeholders now have a definition of what sustainable beef is after leading industry organisations came to an agreement at the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef on Monday.
calendar icon 5 November 2014
clock icon 2 minute read

Sustainable beef is, “socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable,” the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) announced.

Furthermore, it must come from systems that prioritize ‘planet’, ‘people’, ‘animals’ and ‘progress’.

The four criteria can be described as follows;

Planet – Natural Resources; Efficiency and Innovation
People- People and the Community and Food
Animals – Animal Health and Welfare; Efficiency and Innovation
Progress – Natural Resources; People and the Community, Animal Health and Welfare; Food, Efficiency and Innovation

After a year and a half of negotiations, the approved ‘principles and criteria’ deliver ‘clarity’ on sustainability, according to GRSB President Cameron Bruett.

The next step, Mr Bruett said, is to work on local and national levels, to identify where ‘improvements and efficiencies can be achieved’.

“We know that mandated practices or a single, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to beef production will not work for our members around the globe,” he added.

“Instead, it is our intention to work with the regional and national roundtables as they identify locally-focused solutions to meet the unique challenges they face in their region.

Over 96 per cent of GRSB members approved the definition, but outside of the beef sector, many activists campaign against beef as an unsustainable protein.

This has created an image problem for beef which many are working hard to improve.

Keith Kenny, Head of Sustainability at McDonald’s Europe, is heading up efforts to reduce beef’s impact within the supply chain.

He told TheBeefSite that the ‘race is on’ within McDonald’s, a GRSB member, as to who can start sourcing the first sustainable beef products.

“About three years ago we got together with the World Wildlife Foundation to understand the biggest impacts in our supply chain,” said Mr Kenny.

“We identified six products - top of the list was beef.”

Looking ahead, beef, alongside other animal proteins, has a bright future.

This is according to livestock sustainability consultant Dr Jude Capper who champions beef as a great product.

In a recent blog, she wrote: “Amazing gains in productivity have allowed the beef, dairy, pork and egg industry to considerably reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions over the last century.

“With a culture of continuous improvement and access to technologies that improve productivity, we can feed the future population using even fewer resources.”

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms

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