The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef announced this week it has approved global Principles and Criteria for defining sustainable beef and sustainable beef production practices.
The Principles and Criteria took more than a year-and-a-half to develop. Ruaraidh "Rory" Petre, GRSB executive director, said developing the definition required extensive negotiation.
"Arriving at a common definition, which includes five core principles and detailed criteria for sustainable beef, has been a difficult task and one which took a lot of hours and a great deal of negotiation," Petre said.
"Our members are to be commended for their commitment to finding common ground and identify a clear path forward as we work to improve the sustainability of the global beef chain," he said.
GRSB defines sustainable beef as a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes:
• Planet (relevant principles: Natural Resources, Efficiency and Innovation, People and the Community);
• People (relevant principles: People and the Community and Food);
• Animals (relevant principle: Animal Health and Welfare, Efficiency and Innovation); and
• Progress (relevant principles: Natural Resources, People and the Community, Animal Health and Welfare, Food, Efficiency and Innovation)
The definition provides a common platform and consistent approach to discuss the economic, social and environmental issues we face irrespective of the regional differences, said Cameron Bruett, GRSB president.
More than 96% of the GRSB General Assembly members voted in favor of the definition, principles and criteria, Bruett said. Every one of the five constituencies – producer, commerce and processing, retail, civil society, and regional and national roundtables voted to approve the definition.
Bruett says the next steps for GRSB will include working with regional and national roundtables to identify areas where improvements and efficiencies can achieved. He also explained that nothing about GRSB's work was meant to create a standard or mandate for how beef should be produced in any region or country.
"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," Bruett said. "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.
"We view our work as an exercise in empowerment, where people on the ground, who have a vested interest in the success of their industry, their ecosystem and their community can achieve results that are relevant locally and meaningful globally," he said.