The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), announced today that it will host the first Global Conference on Sustainable Beef at the World Trade Events Center in São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 2-5, 2014. As part of the conference, GRSB will release its long-anticipated definition of global sustainable beef and highlight exciting new developments in beef sustainability.

“GRSB is a global, multi-stakeholder organization focused on improving the sustainability of the beef value chain. We view sustainability as a journey of continuous improvement where economic, societal and environmental factors are balanced to achieve sustainable outcomes” said Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, the North American subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processing company, which is headquartered in Brazil. “It is imperative that the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and consumption of beef, as well as civil society and allied industries, work together to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to their sector, their operations, our society and our planet.”

The conference’s theme, “Sustainable Beef: Building a Vision for Our Future,” sets the framework for the roll-out of GRSB’s principles and criteria, which define sustainable beef and identifies the means to measure progress in the global sustainable beef chain at the national or regional levels. With speakers from around the globe, the conference will also provide a forum for regional sustainability initiatives to showcase their efforts and successes.

“There is some amazing work being done in many regions of the world, particularly in Brazil, in the areas of resource efficiency, genetic improvement, cattle sourcing and capturing efficiencies that will be shared with participants during the conference,” said Eduardo Bastos, President of the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) and Head, Government Affairs, Dow Brazil. “GTPS, as the world’s first regional roundtable on sustainable livestock, and a member of GRSB, looks forward to showcasing the tremendous progress being made in Brazil and how GTPS is making sustainable beef in Brazil a reality.”

Initiated in early 2012, GRSB is the strategic platform where leading stakeholders from the beef industry, environmental organizations and others with an interest in global beef sustainability have agreed to partner in an effort to advance continuous improvement in the global beef value chain through knowledge-sharing, leadership and the adoption of science-based approaches.

GRSB’s initial efforts have focused on collaboration with a wide group of expert stakeholders to identify the principles and criteria that should be included or addressed in an effort to ensure a more sustainable global beef value chain. This effort to define the parameters of sustainable beef has been coordinated by Ruaraidh (Rory) Petre, Executive Director, GRSB.

Petre explained that there are a broad range of ecosystems in which beef can be produced sustainably, which makes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach an unrealistic goal.

“While a definition for sustainable beef at the global level will have directional validity, it is clear that context-specific elements, including indicators and metrics, will need to be developed at the regional or local level,” said Petre. “It is for this reason, that GRSB promotes the development of regional roundtables, similar to Brazilian Roundtable GTPS, to achieve sustainable on-the-ground improvements. GRSB seeks to influence and empower value chains to make local decisions that lead to positive change, not dictate or prescribe unachievable global standards or certifications.”

The conference will provide an in-depth discussion of those principles and criteria and how they might apply to various regions of the world.
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