Public comments sought on definition of ‘sustainable’ beef

Committee seeks indicators which accommodate producers, consumers and the environment

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is seeking the public’s comments on the first draft of its sustainability “indicators” for beef operations. The indicators are part of the verified sustainable beef framework the organization is developing, and reflect what will be measured in terms of sustainability on individual operations.

“The CRSB has developed indicators that are relevant for cow-calf, backgrounding, feedlot and dairy beef operations. We encourage people and organizations to review the work we’ve done and give us constructive feedback,” says Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chair of the CRSB and a producer west of Calgary.

“We realize that the sustainability of the Canadian beef industry reaches many stakeholders and we want to ensure all perspectives are taken into account.”

All comments will be reviewed, and a written response to each comment will be posted on the organization’s website following the consultation. The second draft of the indicators will be released for a 30-day public comment period in mid-2016.

Page Stuart, a cattle feeder and the past chair of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, and Tim Hardman, beef director with the World Wildlife Fund, co-chaired the committee that developed the indicators.

“The committee members brought a wide range of perspectives to the table. We had very productive discussions and unanimously reached consensus. Our goal was to identify draft indicators that are robust and outcome based, which I believe we have done,” says Hardman. “We wanted to have a balance — something realistic for producers that also meets the needs of retailers, food-service providers and consumers. I think we have achieved that. I look forward to the feedback we receive over the next 60 days,” adds Stuart.

The consultation will take place until April 10, 2016. Materials and instructions for comment can be found at crsb.ca.

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