With the overall goal to benchmark the sustainability of Canada’s beef industry, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is currently looking for producer participation.
“Verifiable sustainability is a ‘want’ of our major customers, and we are being given the opportunity to define what that looks like,” said Cherie Copithorne Barnes, CRSB chair, in the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) recent Action News publication. “However, in order to accomplish this, we must establish what our starting point looks like and that can only be done by collecting detailed producer information.”
That information is being gathered slowly, but surely, through a Sustainability Survey, meant to validate information collected from a literature review.
“The big part is that this is our sustainability story…and we have a lot to be proud of in the Canadian beef industry” said Fawn Jackson, manager of environment and sustainability for the CCA, in a phone interview. “And the best way we’re going to be able to communicate how we perform on sustainability is really having those numbers that go along with it.”
And “those numbers” are extensive, as the survey looks to quantify on-farm energy consumption, the use of antibiotics and vaccines, waste water discharge, feed sources and much more.
“This isn’t just a greenhouse gas exercise, this study is also going to cover topics such as grassland carbon sequestration, community health and positive biodiversity impacts of the beef industry in Canada,” said Thomas Lynch-Staunton, chair of the CRSB’s sustainability assessment committee. “The study really speaks to the commitment the Canadian beef industry has to maintaining a healthy environment, animals that are well cared for and a vibrant rural community.”
The CRSB hopes to collect surveys from eighty producers. The extended deadline for entries is February 12, 2015.