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Producers urged to participate in helping define ‘beef sustainability’

Beef Central, 15/03/2014

CCA president Andrew OgilvieBeef producers across Australia are being urged to engage with a draft set of principles and criteria for sustainable beef when they are released for a sixty-day consultative period next week.

The principles and criteria for sustainable beef are being developed by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), of which the Cattle Council of Australia is a member.

The draft document available next week, is  intended to be a high-level document, however CCA says the significance that the document holds for beef producers cannot be understated and producer participation during the consultative period is integral.

CCA president Andrew Ogilvie has been participating in the development of the document, and says there is still work to be done.

“I urge beef producers to consider what it is that makes a beef operation in Australia truly sustainable including business viability, profitability and climatic flexibility,” Mr Ogilvie said.

“Major suppliers of Australian beef are represented on the GRSB and their consumers are increasingly demanding they source a sustainable product. The principles and criteria for sustainable beef are the first steps in attempting to capture the broader concept of sustainable beef production,” he said.

“It’s important that producers feel that the draft document reflects a manageable level for beef producers under the triple-bottom-line, balancing environmental, social and economic considerations, particularly considering current widespread drought conditions in Australia.”

Mr Ogilvie said Cattle Council wanted to see the document as being reflective of the realities of sustainable beef production in Australia.

“Without on-farm profitability, sustainable beef production is unattainable,” he said.

“Beef production systems vary globally and to reflect this, the principles and criteria document will be used to inform the development of regionally-specific Indicators of sustainable beef production. Cattle Council will be driving to ensure that these Indicators are measured on a macro-industry level, as opposed to individual on-farm certification.”

The principles and criteria for sustainable beef will apply to all aspects of the supply-chain, but at the end of the day, the buck stopped with producers, Mr Ogilvie said.  

  • The draft document will be available online via the Cattle Council website. Direct Members of the CCA will be able to comment directly through the CCA website.   

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