NCBA evaluates GRSB document
The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) released its draft Principles and Criteria document in March. Those principles and criteria provide a basic framework for defining beef sustainability without setting standards or creating a “one-size-fits-all” approach to how beef should be produced. The sustainability principles and criteria contained within the document represent a yearlong, multi-stakeholder process which included participants from around the world, including representatives from NCBA.
“GRSB defines global sustainable beef as a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes planet, people, animals, and progress,” said Cameron Bruett, President, GRSB and Head, Corporate Affairs, JBS USA. “Our membership has worked in a collaborative fashion to boldly confront the challenges in every segment of the beef value chain. The core principles for global beef sustainability seek to balance a broad range of issues including natural resources, community and individual development, animal well-being, food, and efficiency and innovation.”
Although NCBA had a role in helping to draft the principles and criteria, there are a number of areas where NCBA continues to have concerns with the document. As a member of GRSB, NCBA will continue to engage in the process and seek changes to the principles and criteria.
“The conditions and practices under which beef is produced vary greatly around the world. As a result, there are principles and criteria contained in the document that apply to practices and conditions in the United States, while some do not,” said Forrest Roberts, NCBA Chief Executive Officer. “In most instances the practices, laws and regulations in the U.S. are more stringent.”
Although the draft principles and criteria do not represent NCBA policy and the organization has no current official position on the document, the organization will continue to engage in the effort.
“Because of the global nature of this document and the diverse views of GRSB members, there are some areas of concern,” said Roberts. “We believe that the farmers and ranchers in the U.S. are among the most responsible and progressive in the world and they take pride in the fact that they have been producing beef responsibly for generations.”
He pointed out that each member of the beef value chain plays an important role in the sustainability of our industry and we each have improvements we can make.
“It’s that spirit of continuous improvement that makes our industry great and we are hopeful that this document will provide the framework to benchmark those improvements in the U.S. and around the globe,” said Roberts.
GRSB’s sustainability principles and criteria are available online for public review and comment at http://www.grsbeef.org and NCBA will be submitting extensive comments on the document. NCBA members and beef industry stakeholders are also encouraged to provide input directly to GRSB, through the comment form on the website, in an effort to provide input on sustainable beef production from the U.S. perspective. The public comment period is open until May 16, 2014. After that time the comments will be reviewed and incorporated into the draft document. The revised final draft will be reviewed and voted upon at GRSB’s annual meeting later this year.
–Beltway Beef, NCBA