Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef sets out 5 priorities for the coming decade

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef held its general assembly at Christchurch, New Zealand, last week. As chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Anne Wasko was there and shares her insight and experience below:

As the current chair of Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), I was pleased to represent CRSB at the recent Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) in New Zealand.

The GRSB is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance the continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science, and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. GRSB envisions a world where beef is a trusted part of a thriving food system in which the beef value chain is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

The meeting itself focused on a couple of important topics for the GRSB, including an update on the communications plan and an update on the strategic plan for the GRSB for the next decade. The GRSB believes it has achieved a level of success in communicating about beef sustainability, but it has largely been focused on internal audiences. It’s the desire of the GRSB board to expand the scope and reach of its communications efforts in order to have a more global presence and broader audience, including consumers, influencers, NGOs, and other industries with an interest in beef production.

The organization’s strategic plan to 2030 looks at five priority areas including:

  • Establishing a limited number of ‘Global Goals’ for the GRSB Network;
  • Communicate to ensure that beef is a trusted part of a thriving food system;
  • Support the Roundtable Network;
  • Develop an information system to report progress on the Global Goals; and,
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships to meet the Global Goals.

Now the work begins to set these goals with input from membership.

The roundtable network now includes 24 countries: Canada, U.S., Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and six countries in the E.U. (with more expected), eight countries in South Africa, and an initiative in China.

We know that the beef industry is global and can be affected by events anywhere in the world. We often hear figures and issues that are quoted widely are global (not Canadian). We also know that the lowest performers can deliver the most significant gains globally in terms of carbon footprint. Paraguay will be hosting the biennial Global Conference on Sustainable Beef September 21-25, 2020.

Just like any Canadian beef meeting or conference, one of the most valuable parts is the networking and getting to hear what’s going on in other parts of the world in terms of beef sustainability. Other countries are also very interested to hear what Canada is doing with its roundtable and the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework. Ours is the first outcome-based, certified sustainable framework in the world, and with a year under the belt we can now point towards the progress we have seen in terms of volume of certified sustainable beef sold (an increase of 45% compared to last year).

But the work is never done – as we say in the sustainable beef world – the journey continues.

— Anne Wasko ranches in western Saskatchewan and is a beef market analyst with Gateway Livestock Exchange. Hear her Beef Market Update, here

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