In August we will be looking in more detail at tools for improving and demonstrating sustainability. I use the term tools in a broad sense – it can of course refer to specific technologies that are used to enhance management effectiveness or to improve understanding of the impact of a management intervention. However "tool" could also refer to practices including grazing management, breeding or genetics etc.
The focus will once again be on how we can use these tools to meet the goals we are setting, and to demonstrate that we are doing so, thus at this stage we will be looking at GHGs, land conversion and animal wellbeing, but even for those three there are many tools available and huge potential for improved sustainability.
I have recently heard the sentiment expressed more than once that "sustainability" is not good enough, based on the logic that sustaining a system that has caused problems in the past cannot be the recipe for a successful future. While I can understand the sentiment, I do object to this argument. It is essentially a semantic argument, not one based on our definition of vision and mission, "We envision 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 GRSB mission is to advance, support, and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science, and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration." This holistic definition speaks of the interrelated components that are required to be sustainable as well as calling for continuous improvement. This definition in no way calls for a maintenance of the status quo. To me, criticism of the word used is a distraction from the work that needs to be done, and particularly when all of us benefit from the sort of improvements that we are calling for.