DALLAS, Texas – Cargill, JBS, Walmart and McDonald’s were among a list of founding members who announced the formation of an independent, non-profit organization designed to advance continuous improvement across the global beef industry. The mission of the newly formed Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is to help guide the global beef industry toward being socially responsible, sustainable and economically viable.

Comprised of representatives from industry, non-profit organizations, associations, academia and think tanks, the roundtable strives to identify measurable, scientific ways to reduce environmental impact while enhancing the bottom line. Additional members of the roundtable include: 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.

”We are pleased to announce that we have officially registered as an international legal entity. Today’s [Feb. 22] announcement reaffirms our collective support of activities that deliver measureable, science-based outcomes that are focused on high priority environmental and industry-related issues,” said Ruaraidh Petre, president of the Roundtable. “More efficient, environmentally sustainable approaches to bringing beef from farm to fork will help conserve our planet’s finite resources while also supporting our communities and our members’ bottom lines.”

The GRSB will be registered under Article 60 of the Swiss code, which will allow the group to support efforts by roundtable members who propose new innovations, technologies and share best practices in beef production systems. The Dutch government has pledged several million euros to be used toward improvement of smaller farming operations; the GRSB will distribute the funds to appropriate applicants over the next four years.

“We are encouraged that these major stakeholders in the beef industry are committed to work together to create a more sustainable beef supply chain,” said Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund’s Senior Vice President for Markets Transformation.

The Global Conference on Sustainable Beef held last November was the catalyst for the creation of the global roundtable. Member roundtables are being developed in Argentina and Australia, and a partnership has been established with The Working Group on Sustainable Beef in Brazil.

Membership in the GRSB will grow as new members join the global effort toward maintaining a more sustainable beef system.

In May 2012, the GRSB will participate in the Australian Beef Conference. In addition, there are plans to hold a second Global Conference on Sustainable Beef later this year so the global industry can monitor the roundtable’s progress and review upcoming initiatives.