SAO PAULO, Brazil – Members of the global beef community have approved criteria and production principles that define sustainable beef and sustainable production practices.

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) defines sustainable beef as a "socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes" planet, people, animals and progress.

“Arriving at a common definition, which includes five core principles and detailed criteria for sustainable beef, has been a difficult task and one which took a lot of hours and a great deal of negotiation,” said Ruaraidh “Rory” Petre, GRSB executive director. “Our members are to be commended for their commitment to finding common ground and identify a clear path forward as we work to improve the sustainability of the global beef chain.”

Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB, said 96 percent of the GRSB General Assembly members voted in favor of thedefinition, principles and criteria. The GRSB is comprised of representatives from industry, non-profit organizations, associations, academia and think tanks. The organization's mission is to identify measurable, scientific ways to reduce environmental impact while enhancing the bottom line.

“GRSB’s definition provides clarity to discussions about sustainability that have been nebulous in the past,” Bruett said. “It is our expectation that the Principles and Criteria will better enable members of our value chain to discuss beef sustainability clearly and identify the next steps in our collective journey of continuous improvement. If we are successful, each one of these steps will ultimately build consumer trust in our production practices, our products and our positive contributions to society.”

Bruett said GRSB will work with regional and national groups to highlight their unique challenges and identify areas where improvements and efficiencies can be achieved.

“We know that mandated practices or a single, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to beef production will not work for our members around the globe,” Bruett said. “Instead, it is our intention to work with the regional and national roundtables as they identify locally-focused solutions to meet the unique challenges they face in their region. We view our work as an exercise in empowerment, where people on the ground, who have a vested interest in the success of their industry, their ecosystem and their community can achieve results that are relevant locally and meaningful globally.”

Members of the roundtable include: Cargill, JBS SA, Walmart, McDonald’s, AllFlex, Allianca de Terra, Elanco, Grupo de Trabalho da Pecuaria Sustentavel (GTPS), Merck Animal Health, National Wildlife Federation, Rainforest Alliance, Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Australia, Solidaridad, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.