The membership of the Beef Working Group is a dynamic blend of beef processors and a range of associations working on behalf of both farmers and supply chain organisations. This mix promotes a challenging and productive dialogue that results in tangible outputs that promote sustainable beef production and importantly alignment between organisations when implementing sustainable practices within their supply chain.
Evidence is in the development of the very first Principles of Sustainable Beef Production which were launched in November of 2013. These Principles have the benefit of review from several external stakeholders to ensure that what was developed, is targeted on the real issues and importantly will result in genuine and aligned progress.
The Group is now, with retail colleagues developing the Beef Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA). For this to be effective it is necessary for the group to develop detailed guidance for each of the principles which are then incorporated into the SAI platform FSA system that will allow farmers and their customers to have an aligned vision of sustainable beef and then appreciate how farms are performing against this mutual understanding. Importantly here the SAI Beef Working Group is acting as a catalyst in taking the critical steps in defining what sustainable beef actually is!
The Group is also taking the opportunity to ensure that the beef FSA development encapsulates the concept of ‘sustainable feed’ as this is often an area that lacks clarity.
The SAI Platform Beef Working Group is an active member and participant of the Global Round Table for Sustainable Beef, contributing to the development of the GRSB Principles and Criteria document to share the work SAI Platform has already completed. The GRSB 2014 conference (November) will be used by the Working Group to share with beef supply chain colleagues from around the globe the outcomes of their efforts and seek feedback on this work to ensure the developments have relevance for the wide range of global beef production systems.
The Working Group is also in the process of developing an industry discussion document with the aim of achieving consensus on the quantification of GHG emissions from beef farming systems. The aim here is to stimulate discussion in the global beef sector on this subject to achieve alignment in application. The Group is liaising with other global groups such as the FAO, GRSB and the international meat Secretariat in a constructive and thought provoking manner to drive this agenda item forward.
Collaborating with the SAI Platform Dairy Working Group, the Beef Group is coordinating a workshop to explore the current state of knowledge on carbon sequestration in livestock production systems with the aim of identifying when this could reliably included in GHG methodologies. The workshop will involve an engaging day of presentations from those involved in sequestration research and industry practitioners to ensure we have an outcome from the workshop that is meaningful and importantly, practically possible!
Working closely with the Global Research Alliance for GHG emissions from Agriculture, the group is developing a research pipeline resource in order to appreciate the current state of GHG mitigation science knowledge including potential options under development for future implementation. This will be important for designing effective on-farm sustainability programs. We plan to launch this document in the latter stages of 2014 – Watch this space!
This is a really dynamic group that is certainly not just a talking shop! They get on and develop resources that help them (and others) achieve their own company sustainability aspirations in their own unique way. If you are involved in the beef supply chain and want to join this dynamic and productive group, please do get in touch with SAI Platform to find out more!
Chair: Jim O'Toole (Bord Bia)