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JBS adds sustainability elements to Great Southern brand program

Beef Central, 24/06/2021

AUSTRALIA’S largest certified grassfed beef and lamb brand program has for the first time added sustainability commitments to its brand claims.

JBS Australia’s Great Southern farm-assured program now includes a formal sustainability framework, in response to evolving consumer expectations.

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Worldwide, JBS is stepping up its sustainability claims in operations in North and South America and now, Australia.

The company’s Great Southern Farm Assurance Program was established ten years ago years ago to promote Australian grassfed beef and lamb and today involves supply from around 4000 beef and lamb producers in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia to capture the responsible practices they use on-farm and develop ways to promote them directly to customers in Australia and overseas.

A new Farm Assurance certification logo has been developed and will be used on all products packed under the program.

As part of Great Southern’s Farm Assurance Program, lamb and cattle producers via a producer advisory committee have contributed to the development of the sustainability framework to ensure their on-farm practices meet the evolving expectations of customers and consumers, JBS said in a statement. Customers had also contributed to the process.

“We’re committed to sustainability today for the future, so it is critical that we continue to evolve our on-farm standards to align with our customers’ expectations,” JBS Southern Division chief operating officer Sam McConnell said.

The new sustainability framework was aligned with the broader JBS sustainability program and stakeholder ESG commitments, Mr McConnell said.

“Livestock producers have been valuing the environment and animal wellbeing, on-farm, for decades. This sustainability framework is about capturing those practices in a formalised way to communicate their outcomes,” JBS Southern Farm Assurance and Supply Chain Manager, Mark Inglis said.

Based on seven ‘pillars’

JBS’s new Great Southern Farm Assurance sustainability component comprises seven ‘pillars’, each contributing to the sustainable future of the program, the company said.

JBS Southern’s Mark Inglis

Producer data will be measured and recorded via third-party auditors.

“This will allow us to benchmark the overall program using a simple sustainability index to explain both to customers and producers where the Great Southern Program sits in regard to these pillar outcomes,” Mr Inglis said.

“It will give us a starting point that will allow us to work from into the future.”

The seven pillars are:

  • Soils: Understanding soils and the importance of a healthy balance
  • Pastures: Matching the right mix of pastures to the environment they are grown in
  • Vegetation: Protect soil coverage, assist in maintain healthy waterways, and recognise current and past efforts
  • Water: Ensuring the use of quality water and managing the water usage for maintaining stock health and maximising animal and plant production
  • Livestock: Ensuring the wellbeing of our livestock is of paramount importance
  • People: Providing a healthy and safe workplace environment for employees, families and owners
  • Carbon management: Assessing the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the Great Southern value chain to enable a working baseline for improvement. Achieve a net zero position for Great Southern Farm Assurance in line with the global JBS net-zero GHG emissions by 2040 target.

“The Farm Assurance Program pledges to customers that their grassfed beef and lamb has met rigorous quality and sustainability standards,” Mr Inglis said.

“When customers see products come into their restaurant or store with a Farm Assurance logo, they will know the producers have ticked all the boxes – from animal welfare to responsible water use,” he said.

“The new logo means customers have an additional reminder of how our producers are putting quality and sustainability first.”

Transparency in value chains

JBS Southern’s Head of Domestic and Export Beef Sales, Robert Ryan, said with consumers continuing to put their trust in sustainable brands and products, the sustainability program must be engrained in all broader JBS Southern initiatives.

“Transparency of value chains and communicating the sustainability story throughout the entire value chain will be critical, and a customer expectation in the future,” Mr Ryan said.

Well suited to future UK needs

JBS Global UK Managing Director Nick Sherwood said the inclusion of the Great Southern Farm Assurance sustainability framework would be well suited to the UK market following the new Free Trade Agreement announced last week.

“As the UK FTA comes into force and with the increased focus on sustainability and carbon reduction in agriculture, this sustainability framework will boost Great Southern beef and lamb’s credentials in the UK market,” Mr Sherwood said.

Commitment to planting one million trees

As well as the seven Pillars, Great Southern has committed to planting one million trees to offset GHG emissions produced by its value chain.

“We will be planting native trees and native shrubs on JBS-owned properties and assisting our producer suppliers across southern Australia in planting the trees on their properties,” Mr McConnell said.

“Where there is need for additional carbon offsetting, this will take place in Australia, for Australia. We will not offset our carbon overseas,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

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