The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) has launched a public consultation to solicit feedback on its sustainability indicators for beef processing to ensure sustainability challenges and opportunities for this sector are addressed.

The indicators will form the basis of a national framework for players across the value chain to produce and source verified sustainable beef. This framework consists of two key components: indicators and verification.

Water is included in the body of indicators; specifically, that “incoming and outgoing water quality is managed appropriately. Water is used responsibly and recycled where possible.” The document recommends that farm operation have a documented water management plan that is reviewed at least annually.

“With guidance from a committee of diverse industry expertise, the CRSB has developed sustainability indicators for beef processing that nicely complement the work already done for beef production,” said Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chair of the CRSB and cattle producer west of Calgary, Alta.

alberta beef

Page Stuart, an Alberta cattle feeder and Tim Hardman, beef director with the World Wildlife Fund, co-chaired the committee that developed the indicators.

“Committee members from across the beef value chain contributed diverse perspectives. Dynamic discussions enabled us to reach consensus on a series of indicators encompassing all five principles of sustainable beef that will help the processing industry to continually improve its sustainability practices,” says Hardman. “Based on previous feedback, we have incorporated guidelines in the indicators that show how the scoring system is applied. We hope this will help users assess their level of performance and facilitate continuous improvement,” commented Stuart.

Since 2014, the CRSB has worked collaboratively through its multi-stakeholder membership to promote sustainability across the beef industry. Developing a verification framework is part of this work, and the indicators reflect what will be measured to verify sustainable practices. With the completion of public consultation on sustainability indicators for beef production completed earlier this year, the focus has shifted to indicators for beef processing.

The current scope of the indicators applies to primary processors only.  The eventual framework is intended to advance sustainability efforts in the industry and measure progress going forward.

The consultation ends August 29, 2017. All relevant materials can be found at


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