What’s the objective of the Framework?

The purpose of establishing the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is to report on how the beef industry is meeting the expectations of consumers, customers, investors and stakeholders in areas they have identified as being important: animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship and people and the community. 

Why was this Framework established?

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework supports priorities in the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020 (MISP 2020) for improving transparency, aligning practices with community expectations and building trust in the red meat sector.

Who’s behind the Framework?

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is an initiative of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC). The Framework is managed by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and is led by a Sustainability Steering Group made up of representatives from across the beef value chain.

Has industry been consulted?

Yes, around 30 industry groups and companies throughout the beef value chain have been consulted over a three-month period. This helped guide development of the draft Framework. 

Have external groups been consulted?

Yes, over 30 face-to-face meetings with external stakeholders have been held. These meetings covered retailers, special interest groups, banks, NGOs, investors, government, scientists and media.

Was consultation only by invite?

No, a third phase of consultation was undertaken whereby anyone interested could review the draft framework and provide feedback via a consultation website.  This consultation ran over January to February 2017.

Was all external advice included in the Framework?

Our commitment is to listen to stakeholders and consider all constructive views. Where suggestions were made but not included, an explanation of the Steering Group's decision can be found here.

How will the Framework be implemented?

Wherever possible indicators for important areas of production will be established by industry to help track progress. This will enable the industry to measure and share its performance over time.

Will the Framework include targets that livestock producers will need to meet?

At this stage, we’ve selected performance indicators that help us measure improvement within the industry, and show our customers, the community and interested stakeholders that we not only produce the best beef in the world but we also have the most sustainable production system. If industry directs us to look at targets at some stage, we will do so in due course.

Is the Framework linked with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB)?

The Framework is created and driven by the Australian beef industry. The Framework is not linked with the GRSB, however it aligns where possible with various global initiatives and agreements.

Why the focus on ‘sustainability’?

Sustainability can be a very emotive word, and it can mean different things to different people. We are working with industry and the community to define what sustainability means for the Australian beef industry. This definition has been used to frame our indicators. Even if you don’t like the term sustainability we know that the environmental, economic and social performance of our industry is important to our customers and to every person in the beef value chain.

Is this a certification/on-farm system?

The Framework is a whole-of-industry snapshot that will use existing data so that there is no input required from individual farms. It is not a certification or on-farm system.

Will the Framework add costs to the system?

This approach has been taken to minimise cost for the industry and does not require any input from producers.

Will this add monetary value to the beef industry or individual operations?

Customers and the community want to know how their food is produced and increasingly expect information about production. It’s unlikely that consumers will pay more, but the reality is that sustainability credentials are becoming a market access issue. The Framework will ensure we have facts to back up our claims.

What is the Sustainability Steering Group?

A “grassroots group” working with industry to develop a Framework that paints a clear and honest picture of the industry’s performance across economic, social, environmental and animal welfare areas. Details about the group can be found here.