Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) Sets Key Initiatives in 2016Fri, 04 Dec 2015 11:22:41 CST
The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) held its annual general assembly meeting October 27 – 29, providing updates on GRSB initiatives including: enhanced communications, antibiotic stewardship, global indicators and equivalence. Approximately 75 individuals representing 28 member organizations attended the meeting in Amsterdam.
“We had more than a 50 percent increase in attendance this year,” said Ruaraidh Petre, executive director of GRSB. “The meeting provided a sense of the progress and increased enthusiasm to grow the momentum of the organization. Most importantly, it provided a sense of the value and indicators of progress in making the beef industry more sustainable worldwide.”
The GRSB meeting was focused around its Principles and Criteria for Global Sustainable Beef, a document developed in 2014 that defines the attributes of sustainability to which GRSB is committed. The Principles also recognize that production systems and value chains vary in sustainability across regions and countries. Regional roundtables, including Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, in addition to roundtable groups in Europe, Columbia and Mexico, provided updates and progress on sustainable initiatives within their respective areas. Over the past several months, the Global-to-Local model of the regional roundtable process also resulted in two technical working groups focused on accreditation and global indicators. Those specific working groups reported multiple meetings and progress throughout the year.
Additional areas of focus included 2016 – 2020 initiatives to move the organization forward in supporting sustainability within the beef value chain including an enhanced communications effort. Kathryn Britton, director of operational analysis and marketing of Where Food Comes From, Inc., was appointed chair of the communications committee. The public relations firm, Swanson Russell, was also hired to work with GRSB on key communication plans and objectives. Discussions included an emphasis on commitment to membership engagement, support of further work within the regional roundtables and increased involvement on international projects.
GRSB also hosted a number of guest speakers on various topics important to the beef value chain. Guest speaker Hetty van Beers-Schreurs, DVM, PhD, managing director of Netherlands Veterinary Medicine Authority, provided a presentation on antibiotic resistance and policy. Dr. Martin Scholten, managing director of the Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University spoke on food production and food security. Brian Lindsey, development director of Global Dairy Agenda for Action, presented an update to the GRSB board of directors on dairy sustainability.
“There was a strong appreciation for the quality of guest speakers as well as the regional updates,” said Petre. “This next year, GRSB will hit the ground running in the sense of more attention to the development of global indicators of sustainability.”
Petre says there are still many differing ideas on beef sustainability.
“The GRSB principles and criteria for defining global sustainable beef have achieved a very strong and valuable framework in which regional roundtables may develop key indicators and measureable results. And, measureable results will be a critical focus for the organization moving forward.”
For more information on GRSB, please visit www.GRSBeef.org.
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