US forms round-table on sustainable beef
The group is made up of participants ranging from producers and processors to retailers, packers, and non-governmental organisations.
The group will look to "identify sustainability indicators, establish verification methodologies, and generate field project data to test and confirm sustainability concepts for use throughout the United States".
While its overarching mission is to "advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in US beef sustainability through leadership, innovation, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration".
Research has shown that consumers are increasingly interested in the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the beef they buy, said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, vice-president of Cargill Value Added Meats, and interim chair of USRSB.
"For the first time, the entire US beef value chain, including representatives who raise cattle and produce, market and sell beef, in addition to representatives from the NGO community and allied businesses, are coming together to establish metrics and criteria that will be used to benchmark the present and help measure improvements in the sustainability of American beef going forward," she explained.
The group will use the definition of sustainable beef, as set out by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), and similarly will not mandate standards or benchmark performance by individual participants. Sustainable progress will be shared in a transparent manner.
Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs and sustainability at JBS USA and president of the GRSB, said the formation of the roundtable was positive for the GRSB and its membership.
"The United States is a world leader in beef production and will play a key role in meeting the global challenge of feeding the world in a sustainable manner that allows future generations to thrive. With the establishments of regional multi-stakeholder beef sustainability roundtables in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Colombia and now, the United States, it is clear that the international commitment to sustainable beef enjoys tremendous momentum."
The USRSB currently has 43 founding members, with membership open to additional founding members until 1 June 2015.