Conference will examine sustainable beef production

Aug 20, 2010
by WLJ
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and global leaders from the beef industry announced their intent to bring together the full breadth of industry stakeholders to move global beef production to a more sustainable system through open and balanced dialogue.

“On a finite planet, sustainability is as important to long-term business success as it is for conservation and protecting wildlife,” said Jason Clay, senior vice president of markets at WWF. “By carrying out a dialogue with broad representation of all stakeholders in the global beef system, we can make great strides in expanding best practices and developing strong global standards for sustainable beef production.”

The Global Conference on Sustainable Beef will serve as a unique forum to review current sustainability practices and begin to build alignment around key impacts, both positive and negative, of the beef system.

Cargill, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, JBS, McDonald’s and WWF will convene stakeholders and work to establish a process that may result in developing global voluntary, market-based standards for the beef industry. The event will take place from Nov. 1-3 in Denver, CO.

Possible next steps following the conference include expanding local multi-stake holder programs that are economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible, as well as the creation of Regional Sustainable Beef Roundtables to guide the development of standards for sustainable beef production.

With global populations expected to peak at more than 9 billion by 2050, there is growing interest in sustainability and securing natural resources for the benefit of people, the planet and wildlife.

The global organizations convening this conference each have a stake in making the beef system more sustainable. These leaders will come prepared for a constructive dialogue about how to improve industry sustainability by exploring and clarifying the environmental, economic and social impacts of a sustainable beef system. Through this approach, stakeholders will share better management practices to drive continuous improvement in sustainability of the beef system.

“McDonald’s is proud to work with stakeholders throughout the beef industry on efforts aimed at addressing sustainability in beef production globally,” said Jessica Droste Yagan, director of Sustainable Supply for McDonald’s. “We recognize that beef production has significant impacts on the environment, people, and animals—positive and negative, and believe that all beef production systems can make important contributions towards improved sustainability.”

The conference program, developed to encourage dialogue and build partnerships, will include a series of panel discussions, plenary sessions and breakout meetings.

The conference is currently structured around three key pillars:

1) Science and Research: participants will present research and identify top sustainability production challenges and opportunities;

2) Better Management Practices: participants will share experiences, practices and operations, addressing hurdles and solutions along the way; and

3) Dialogue: participants will work to increase alignment around the key impacts of the beef system and identify approaches that promote sustainable beef practices worldwide.

The conference website can be found at www.Sus, where news, program descriptions, outcomes and speaker details will appear leading up to and following the event. — WLJ