The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has issued for public comment a document that outlines the criteria for sustainable beef farming.
The definitions and criteria are broad enough to allow for regional differences.
“GRSB defines sustainable beef as a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes our planet, people, the animals, and continuous progress,” said Cameron Bruett, president of the GRSB and head of corporate affairs at JBS USA.
The group lays out five principles:
- Produce beef in a manner that identifies and manages natural resources responsibly and maintains or enhances the health of ecosystems.
- Protect and respect human rights and recognize the critical roles that all participants within the beef value chain play in their community regarding culture, heritage, employment, land rights and health.
- Respect and manage animals to ensure their health and welfare.
- Ensure the safety and quality of beef products and use information-sharing systems that promote beef sustainability.
- Encourage innovation, optimize production, reduce waste and add to economic viability.
The GRSB says it “does not intend to set standards or to create a certification program but to provide a common baseline understanding of sustainable beef that national roundtables and other initiatives can use to meet their needs..."
GRSB says its next goal is the development of more regional-specific indicators.
“But we will not develop a seal, certification or comparable standard for sustainable beef,” the roundtable says.
Membership in the Global Roundtable includes more than 40 processors, producers, civil society constituents, retailers, foodservice operators and observing members.
The Roundtable’s founding members in 2012 included McDonald’s, World Wildlife Federation, Walmart, Cargill, JBS, Elanco, Merck and Solidaridad.
In January McDonald’s declared it will begin sourcing sustainable beef products in 2016.