Dear GRSB Member,
Last week saw criticism of our Principles and Criteria from a group of NGOs including Friends of the Earth, in which the complaint was levelled that we had not covered a number of issues. In most cases the issues cited are actually covered in the P&C, but not in the way those NGOs would have liked to see them covered. We provided our feedback through meatingplace (see below).
As one member put it to me, such criticism is not only to be expected in a multistakeholder initiative like GRSB, but is also a barometer of how seriously people at different ends of the spectrum take us.
Our membership has broadened quite considerably over the course of the year, and it is natural that there will be issues that our membership cannot find common ground on. The fact that we have found sufficient consensus to get where we are shows the added value of the roundtable.
We can be fairly sure that if there are vociferous opponents at both ends of the spectrum, then we are roughly on track.
For those of you in the US, I hope you had a happy and peaceful thanksgiving, and that the weather did not disrupt your plans.
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
A summary of the 2014 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef is now available!
Please click on the following link to download your copy: 2014 GCSB Summary.
Presentations from the Conference are also available at http://grsbeef.org/ConferenceProceedings.
You may choose the VIDEO option to watch and listen to the presentations; and select the TITLE of the presentation to view and download the PowerPoint presentations.
Dateline: 11/20/14, Source: By Lisa M. Keefe, meatingplace
Several consumer, animal welfare, public health and environmental organizations have signed a letter harshly criticizing the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef's (GRSB) recently approved sustainability principles and criteria for beef production.
In response, Ruaraidh Petre, executive director of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, released a statement that said, in part:
"[The letter] demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding not only of the global beef production system, but the committed and diligent work of Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef member organizations and individuals. … The command and control approach proffered by [the activist groups] is an attempt to force change through mandates or standardized 'one–size–fits–all' production systems that would lead to counterproductive outcomes at best.
"Contrary to the assertions made by Friends of the Earth, many of the issues identified in today's letter were considered and included in the final Principles and Criteria document. In several instances, the critiques offered are simply incorrect.
As a roundtable, we invite the participation of any individual or organization committed to a sustainable future for the global beef value chain and our planet, from ranchers, to consumers and NGOs. … World Wildlife Fund, Solidaridad, the Rainforest Alliance, the National Wildlife Federation, Earth Innovation Institute and the Savory Institute … have joined a collaborative effort to drive positive change on behalf of the planet, people, animals and progress. We are confident that our efforts will lead to a more sustainable future for us all."
Another similarly negative article appeared subsequently in Vice: Read HERE.
Dateline: 11/15/14, Source: by Samantha Stanbery, Enid News
For years, it has been a struggle between crops and cattle over farmland. Land was used for one or the other. That struggle may come to an end in the future with the help of a Kansas State University Research and Extension beef specialist, who suggests producers integrate cover crops and cattle into a sustainable agricultural system.
Dateline: 11/18/14, Source: The Crop Site
Animal feed vs human food will come under the microscope at the National Farm Management Conference 'Farming for the Future– delivering sustainable intensification'. "If we gave up eating meat, then we cut our carbon footprint considerably – true or false?" asks Dr Jude Capper, Montana–based livestock sustainability consultant. "The truth of the matter is if we all gave up meat for one day each week for an entire year, national carbon emissions would be reduced by less than one per cent," she said, speaking ahead of the event.
"We need to examine the bigger picture. Turning forages and by–products that we cannot eat into food that we can – that's sustainability," she said.
Dateline: 11/18/14, Source: By Will Verboven, Troy Media
The mother of all roundtables could be just a front to force changes in the industry's production methods. To counter bad PR, those involved in the cattle and beef business have spent millions trying to fend off negative allegations and to polish their image as nice people, producing a good food product in an environmentally–accepted manner. That's now culminated in the creation of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB).
Dateline: 11/24/14, Source: By Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer
Canada's largest food retailer has joined McDonald's, the largest beef buyer, in an undertaking that could reshape the cattle sector. Loblaws, which has more than 1,000 stores serving 14 million Canadians weekly, already has a sustainable seafood program and is keen to do the same with beef, said the company's senior director of sustainability.
Dateline: 1/21/14, Source: By Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Times
When food guru Michael Pollan recently tweeted in support of Nicolette Hahn Niman's new book, "Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production," the protest that followed made it perfectly obvious why such a book is necessary. Her "manifesto" calls for a revolutionized food system – one that requires cows. She's saying here that nearly everything we accept as gospel about the negative environmental effects of cattle ranching, and the ill health effects of eating red meat, is wrong.
And further, that cattle are necessary to the restoration and future health of this planet and its people.
Members In The News
Dateline: 11/24/14, Source: Solidaridad News Release
Solidaridad has welcomed the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB)'s approval of new Principles and Criteria for sustainable beef. Following a year of discussions between stakeholders, an overwhelming majority of 95% supported the principles at the GRSB's Global Conference on Sustainable Beef, jointly organized with the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) in São Paulo on November 2–5. Solidaridad's Livestock International Programme Coordinator, Pieter Sijbrandij, who is a member of the board of GRSB and helped draft the Principles and Criteria, called the approval an important step towards further improvements on the ground.
Dateline: 11/19/14, Source: By Georgi Gyton, Global Meat News
Howard Smith has been elected to take over from Andrew Ogilvie as president of the Cattle Council of Australia. Ogilvie says the beef industry is currently confronting significant challenges, including discussion around industry restructure, consumer interest in sustainability and animal welfare and the continued challenge of farm–gate prices.
Dateline: 11/19/14, Source: By Gene Johnston, Agriculture.com
"One thing I would like to do is involve more young people from our industry and get them into leadership positions," says NCBA's Bob McCan. "We have some really good new young people coming into the beef industry, and they can help us get the message to a new generation of beef consumers."
To read the entire source article, click on the link in the headline.
Members in the News
Dateline: 11/27/14, Source: By Reynold Bergen, Canadian Cattlemen Magazine
Lack of private investment has left Canada's beef producers reliant on public forage breeding and production research programs. Forage research programs have been declining in the same way as forage yields.
A 2008 Canadian Cattlemen's Association report indicated that funding for forage research had dropped by 50 per cent between 1985 and 1998. A number of highly regarded Canadian researchers are nearing retirement. Industry groups will need to work hard and work together to ensure that these positions are refilled, make sure that the new researchers have industry mentors to help them develop industry–oriented research and extension programs, and provide adequate funding to support their research.
Dateline: 11/18/14, Source: By Jon Condon, Beef Central
A year on from its launch, JBS Australia's major southern grassfed branded beef and lamb program, Great Southern, has gained considerable traction. To date, JBS has attracted more than 2000 livestock producers across Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern NSW to the on–the–farm quality assurance and brand program, offering significant price premiums over conventional cattle.
Dateline: 11/18/14, Source: By Michelle Howard, Marine Link
The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a pioneering coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry focused on uniting commercial growth with sustainable behaviours, is demonstrating how charterers are becoming a powerful force in driving sustainable shipping standards and becoming a catalyst for instigating industry change beyond regulation.
Initiatives by SSI members such as AkzoNobel, Cargill and Bunge have highlighted the link between proactively implementing new, innovative measures within their shipping operations as part of wider business–led sustainability strategies, and achieving significant tangible financial and environmental benefits as a result.
Dateline: 11/20/14, Source:By Burke Teichert, BEEF Magazine
It's an art to know 'what, how, when and how much' when managing a biological system for long–term productivity and sustainability. I believe we should use science to understand nature and then work within the context of natural systems. Nature will always place limitations –some of which we have learned how to challenge, but nature will always fight back or take something from us in exchange for what we want.
Dateline: 11/28/14, Source: By Penelope Arthur, The Land
It is a grim prediction but one of Australia's leading climatologists has warned the El Nino now affecting much of Queensland has a slight
"We have had so few of these really long lasting protracted El Nino events – maybe three a century – so we haven't got a lot of data to work with," he said.
Dateline: 11/16/14, Source: By Michael Lamont, Stock Journal
Imagine the celebrations at the announcement of a deal to supply China with $1 billion worth of cattle, and the political capital that the coalition is making in regional areas of Australia. A live export deal of this magnitude can have serious repercussions for exporters of chilled and frozen beef.
The current thought is that China will take about 50,000 cattle in the next 12 months, worth roughly $1 million.This will increase to about 1m head in a couple of years, with prices tipped to rise to about $3 a kilogram liveweight.
Dateline: 11/17/14, Source: By Maura Fay, Farmers Journal
"We have to recognise that where we are with record beef prices across all classes of cattle, that's territory we have never been in this industry ever," says National Cattlemen's Beef Association CEO Forrest Roberts.
"I think we also got to recognise there are some areas that are still struggling with drought like in the far western areas of the US, in California, but outside of that pocket, obviously moisture conditions have improved greatly."
Dateline: 11/19/14, Source: Beef Central
Three highly–respected and influential former industry leaders are signatories to this opinion piece, which argues the case against radical industry restructure.
Dateline: 11/26/14, Source: By Eleanor Mackay, Global Meat News
Food IT specialist CSB–System International has launched a full traceability system for leading German meat processor Vion Convenience. The system allows beef products to be tracked from their retail packaging back to the original farm and ear tag.
Dateline: 11/23/14, Source: AgriLand
There are important differences between farm–evel responses to disappointing prime beef cattle prices in the UK and Republic of Ireland undefined and they reflect changes in attitude as well as important distinctions in farm structure.
News We Can Use
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