History of the Framework

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

The Framework was officially launched in March 2017. Its design and launch recognises that today's consumer wants to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. Increasingly, major customers, investors and other stakeholders also require information on production practices.

Following a series of technical reviews, the first Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) - appointed in January 2016 - led the development of the Framework through extensive industry, external and public consultation.

Since the launch of the Framework in 2017, the current SSG has driven its implementation through continued consultation, engagement with experts and ongoing review of industry activity and data aligned with the Framework.


2011 - 2015: Taking the first steps

With an understanding that the global landscape was changing, the beef industry took its first steps through a number of informative projects and a series of technical reviews.

In 2011, a materiality review was undertaken by Net Balance to identify the key material issues for the beef industry relevant to sustainable production of beef in Australia.

In 2014, industry and stakeholders were consulted on how to improve transparency and report across the broad areas of sustainability at an industry level.

Following the industry’s decision for the Red Meat Advisory Council to lead the development of the framework, Deloitte was appointed in 2015 to explore what available data sets exist for the industry to use for reporting, rather than establishing new data systems. In the same year an industry wide social license review was undertaken by FutureEye.

In 2016, the Red Meat Advisory Council appointed the Sustainability Steering Group to lead the development of the first sustainability framework.

In 2016 an update of the 2011 materiality review was undertaken by STR Consulting.

Throughout the process, consumer research, retailer discussions, NGO discussions and the review of global frameworks have all informed the process.



2016 - 2017: Designing the Framework collaboratively

The first SSG led the design and development of the Framework through a collaborative process between industry stakeholders, external stakeholders and the public. Following this collaborative process, the Framework was launched in March 2017.

Three stages of consultation were conducted to inform the design of the Framework:

  1. Industry consultation
  2. External consultation
  3. Public consultation

Industry consultation

The industry consultation phase of the project involved 25 face to face meetings to enable industry bodies to provide input to the draft framework that the SSG developed. The discussion document that was used for industry consultation can be viewed here.

External consultation

External consultation with retailers, Non-Government Organisations, government and other relevant stakeholders gathered input from 36 key external stakeholders. The discussion document that was used for external consultation can be viewed here.

Public consultation

Grass roots industry and the general public were invited to provide feedback on the draft framework. The draft framework can be viewed here. An archive of the discussions and surveys from this online consultation, ordered into the four theme areas:

During the public consultation phase, a number of organisations provided formal submissions in response to the four themes.

An explanation as to what changed following the online consultation and a response to suggestions received can be viewed here.



2017 - 2018: Refining, taking action and reporting progress

The second SSG, appointed in May 2017, began the implementation phase of the Framework. Managing the Framework included:

  • Reviewing and refining existing indicators
  • Seeking the relevant data
  • Establishing the beef industry's first sustainability Consultative Committee to continue the conversation with external stakeholders
  • Selecting six key priority areas for the industry to focus activity on
  • Conducting an initial stocktake of industry's sustainability activity aligned with the Framework
  • Establishing an expert panel for the balance of tree and grass cover key priority area to advise on the best indicators
  • The release of the Framework's first Annual Update in May 2018 at Beef Australia, reporting on industry's sustainability performance and progress on the Framework

Since the Framework's launch in 2017, the SSG has been reviewing indicators and and seeking the relevant data, in consultation with industry and external stakeholders. As a result of these efforts, three indicators have been removed from initial Framework. A number of indicators have also been re-worded, which is outlined in the Sustainability Annual Update Report (2018).

The % compliance with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL)

ASEL requires a whole-of-chain risk-based approach to be applied to preparation of cattle for export, from the farm through to the discharge of animals the country of destination.

This entails oversight over a large number of specific and general animal welfare and stringent reporting obligations. The industry is working with Government to identify how best to report on indicators across the supply chain, whilst properly capturing the complexity and context of animal welfare outcomes. In the meantime, mortality data from ASL has been used in indicator 1.1d as a useful proxy measure.

The % of national cattle herd covered by a documented animal health plan

This indicator was removed, with a focus on prevention measures such as vaccination. There is no system for developing or recording animal health plans. It should be noted that many aspects of an animal health plan are now covered under the new farm biosecurity plans. The adoption of these biosecurity plans will be tracked as an indicator.

The % of producers with a drought plan

This indicator was removed, as indicators including groundcover and soil health as well as business measures were deemed more relevant to drought preparedness than the presence of a documented plan. There is also no way of capturing the existence of a drought plan, unlike biosecurity plans which are part of LPA, an audited system.

Five steps were outlined to commence implementation of the Framework. These have since been completed.



2019 - 2021: Driving implementation

At the start of 2019, a third SSG was formed to drive implementation of the Framework.

To continue progressing the Framework and striving towards a more sustainable industry, the SSG has developed a 10-step workplan. This workplan covers a three-year period from 2019-2021.

The second Annual Update (2019) has been released, reporting on progress for the first time since the first Annual Update was released in 2018.

The Framework was officially launched in March 2017. Its design and launch recognises that today's consumer wants to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. Increasingly, major customers, investors and other stakeholders also require information on production practices.

Following a series of technical reviews, the first Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) - appointed in January 2016 - led the development of the Framework through extensive industry, external and public consultation.

Since the launch of the Framework in 2017, the current SSG has driven its implementation through continued consultation, engagement with experts and ongoing review of industry activity and data aligned with the Framework.


2011 - 2015: Taking the first steps

With an understanding that the global landscape was changing, the beef industry took its first steps through a number of informative projects and a series of technical reviews.

In 2011, a materiality review was undertaken by Net Balance to identify the key material issues for the beef industry relevant to sustainable production of beef in Australia.

In 2014, industry and stakeholders were consulted on how to improve transparency and report across the broad areas of sustainability at an industry level.

Following the industry’s decision for the Red Meat Advisory Council to lead the development of the framework, Deloitte was appointed in 2015 to explore what available data sets exist for the industry to use for reporting, rather than establishing new data systems. In the same year an industry wide social license review was undertaken by FutureEye.

In 2016, the Red Meat Advisory Council appointed the Sustainability Steering Group to lead the development of the first sustainability framework.

In 2016 an update of the 2011 materiality review was undertaken by STR Consulting.

Throughout the process, consumer research, retailer discussions, NGO discussions and the review of global frameworks have all informed the process.



2016 - 2017: Designing the Framework collaboratively

The first SSG led the design and development of the Framework through a collaborative process between industry stakeholders, external stakeholders and the public. Following this collaborative process, the Framework was launched in March 2017.

Three stages of consultation were conducted to inform the design of the Framework:

  1. Industry consultation
  2. External consultation
  3. Public consultation

Industry consultation

The industry consultation phase of the project involved 25 face to face meetings to enable industry bodies to provide input to the draft framework that the SSG developed. The discussion document that was used for industry consultation can be viewed here.

External consultation

External consultation with retailers, Non-Government Organisations, government and other relevant stakeholders gathered input from 36 key external stakeholders. The discussion document that was used for external consultation can be viewed here.

Public consultation

Grass roots industry and the general public were invited to provide feedback on the draft framework. The draft framework can be viewed here. An archive of the discussions and surveys from this online consultation, ordered into the four theme areas:

During the public consultation phase, a number of organisations provided formal submissions in response to the four themes.

An explanation as to what changed following the online consultation and a response to suggestions received can be viewed here.



2017 - 2018: Refining, taking action and reporting progress

The second SSG, appointed in May 2017, began the implementation phase of the Framework. Managing the Framework included:

  • Reviewing and refining existing indicators
  • Seeking the relevant data
  • Establishing the beef industry's first sustainability Consultative Committee to continue the conversation with external stakeholders
  • Selecting six key priority areas for the industry to focus activity on
  • Conducting an initial stocktake of industry's sustainability activity aligned with the Framework
  • Establishing an expert panel for the balance of tree and grass cover key priority area to advise on the best indicators
  • The release of the Framework's first Annual Update in May 2018 at Beef Australia, reporting on industry's sustainability performance and progress on the Framework

Since the Framework's launch in 2017, the SSG has been reviewing indicators and and seeking the relevant data, in consultation with industry and external stakeholders. As a result of these efforts, three indicators have been removed from initial Framework. A number of indicators have also been re-worded, which is outlined in the Sustainability Annual Update Report (2018).

The % compliance with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL)

ASEL requires a whole-of-chain risk-based approach to be applied to preparation of cattle for export, from the farm through to the discharge of animals the country of destination.

This entails oversight over a large number of specific and general animal welfare and stringent reporting obligations. The industry is working with Government to identify how best to report on indicators across the supply chain, whilst properly capturing the complexity and context of animal welfare outcomes. In the meantime, mortality data from ASL has been used in indicator 1.1d as a useful proxy measure.

The % of national cattle herd covered by a documented animal health plan

This indicator was removed, with a focus on prevention measures such as vaccination. There is no system for developing or recording animal health plans. It should be noted that many aspects of an animal health plan are now covered under the new farm biosecurity plans. The adoption of these biosecurity plans will be tracked as an indicator.

The % of producers with a drought plan

This indicator was removed, as indicators including groundcover and soil health as well as business measures were deemed more relevant to drought preparedness than the presence of a documented plan. There is also no way of capturing the existence of a drought plan, unlike biosecurity plans which are part of LPA, an audited system.

Five steps were outlined to commence implementation of the Framework. These have since been completed.



2019 - 2021: Driving implementation

At the start of 2019, a third SSG was formed to drive implementation of the Framework.

To continue progressing the Framework and striving towards a more sustainable industry, the SSG has developed a 10-step workplan. This workplan covers a three-year period from 2019-2021.

The second Annual Update (2019) has been released, reporting on progress for the first time since the first Annual Update was released in 2018.