On Wednesday, McDonald’s announced the completion of its Verified Sustainable Beef (VSB) Pilot, and handed the results — and recommendations — to the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).
“It’s a really exciting day to talk about the accomplishment over the last year and a half that McDonald’s has been doing the pilot project here in Canada,” said Fawn Jackson, executive director for the CRSB.
The CRSB is currently in its own process of developing a verified sustainable beef indicators. The indicators have seen their first public consultation, and are now in the revision stage. A second public consultation is expected within the next couple of months.
McDonald’s Canada’s Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell sits on both the CRSB’s Indicator and Verification committees, and members of the CRSB were involved in the VSB’s Pilot Project Management Team and Advisory Board. But, both McDonald’s and the CRSB say their work was kept at an arm’s-length.
“The McDonald’s pilot project was separate — is separate — from the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, but certainly are sharing the learnings from that pilot project,” explained Jackson, later adding that McDonald’s shared their indicators with CRSB Indicator Committee, which provided “a really good starting point” for the creation of the CRSB’s own indicators.
In the past, there has been criticism of restaurant chains and food retailers sourcing differentiated beef, but, this verification offering is different, says Jackson.
“I think that, you know, consumers are asking more, and making sure that we have a tool being able to communicate that is very important for the industry. It’s also very important that industry gets to be part of those conversations and in developing it, to make sure that it’s something that works for all stakeholders.”
Producers who were verified under the McDonald’s pilot will be transitioned into the CRSB verification program, and more producers will be accepted as required. The finalized verification framework is expected in late 2017.