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Executive Director's Message
Welcome to Connect, and for our board members, welcome to Denver! GRSB has evolved since the first meeting in Denver back in November of 2010. At that time, it was clear that the global beef industry was perceived negatively by many, and we identified "key issues" that contributed to that view. Following that conference we also decided that it was time for the industry as a whole to work together to address those key issues through a roundtable. Other commodities had done this before, and we wanted to learn from them as well as tailor a roundtable that would account for the very unique nature of the beef industry.
There were also important lessons about the lack of effectiveness of the certification approach in moving the baseline, and we accepted that to have real impact we would have to look beyond certification. Forming a roundtable required building a lot of trust between partners that traditionally may view each other with some suspicion, and it also required a lot of time discussing seemingly bureaucratic details, but which were important for members to know that their voice would be heard and respected.
By the end of 2012 we had a legally registered and operational roundtable with administrative services in the capable hands of NLPA in Colorado Springs. The following two years were largely devoted to developing principles and criteria, which remains a foundational document for GRSB, accepted by the members at the first GRSB Global Conference in Brazil almost exactly 4 years after the original Denver meeting.
We also had outline of what would happen next, and encouraged the formation of regional roundtables in major producing countries following the example of Brazil where GTPS had existed for some years. Many of GRSB's members have participated actively in the formation of national roundtables in Canada and the USA, and we have groups in Mexico and Colombia working towards the same goal. Australia has taken a slightly different course, but we have actively involved Australian members in GRSB and they are leading sustainability efforts in their country.
In 2015 the board charged us to develop a "Global to Local" approach, a call for the GRSB to work with regional roundtables to ensure consistency of approach, the consideration of global indicators and the question of accreditation.
No doubt the coming five years will be as interesting as the first. GRSB has gained recognition, tentatively, and we need to broaden this by demonstrating that the industry is tackling the hard issues, is taking responsibility for them and is providing clear, scientific information as to the current situation and future directions. The strategy through which this will be achieved is what the board is in Denver to discuss.