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The Steering Group reports on progress and updates of the Framework's development and implementation. This page offers current and previous media releases and every edition of the ABSF eNews.

For more information, follow our Twitter page @BeefFramework.


Media releases

The Steering Group reports on progress and updates of the Framework's development and implementation. This page offers current and previous media releases and every edition of the ABSF eNews.

For more information, follow our Twitter page @BeefFramework.


Media releases

  • Aussie beef: halving emissions and leading sustainable production

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    12 Jun 2019

    Thursday, 6 June 2019

    A report card into the sustainability of the Australian beef industry from paddock to plate has today been released by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC).

    The 2019 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update shows an industry that’s achieving major milestones in its care for people, land and livestock.

    The report demonstrates the contribution that cattle producers make to sustainably managing almost half of the Australian landscape and the significant contribution the sector has made to the national emissions profile and health of regional and rural communities.

    The Update reports against the priorities of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, an industry initiative that aims to meet changing community expectations and support a thriving beef industry.

    Highlights include reducing the carbon accounts of the sector by 56%, demonstrating the ambition to be net carbon neutral by 2030 is on track.

    Independent Chair of RMAC, Don Mackay, said the 2019 Sustainability Update sends a clear message to customers and other key stakeholders that the industry is demonstrating a self-directed approach to improving the environment and welfare of animals in its care while producing high quality and nutritious beef.

    “The 2019 Update for the first time benchmarks our industry’s commitment to achieving the right balance of tree and grass cover and shows that forest and woodlands on beef-producing land nationwide are increasing and removal of primary forests has declined more than 90 per cent since 1990,” Mr Mackay said.

    “Our customers recognise the important role our beef producers play in managing the landscape, biodiversity and our grasslands, and our 2019 Update captures this.”

    Chair of the Framework’s Sustainability Steering Group, Tess Herbert, said the report demonstrates the value that can be gained through collaboration.

    “In developing our sustainability report card, we’ve continued to collaborate with industry, beef business, Australia’s major financial institutions and agribusiness, technical experts and key customers around the world,” Mrs Herbert said.

    “Our report is evidence this collaborative approach works. It shows that we have achieved a better outcome for our industry and the environment in which we operate over the past year.

    “Australia remains 100% exotic disease free and producers are doing more to support animal health by increasing vaccination rates by 11% in the past year,” Mrs Herbert said.

    Mrs Herbert said she and the Framework team were pleased the report showed that despite huge challenges, such as drought, that Australian beef farms are more profitable, reporting a 4.4% increase across the board in returns over a five-year period. She emphasised that the report also identified where further work was required.

    “We can now look at the change in balance of tree and grass cover across 56 Natural Resource Management regions. We will now work with producer groups and other interested parties to build on primary indicators for the dual benefit of improving production and the environmental base.”

    Mr Mackay said the ‘take home’ message for the 2019 report card and the best thing for customers to do is to buy Aussie beef and support a sustainable industry.

    “Australian beef has always traded on being clean and green and by capturing data across a wide range of indicators we can now further demonstrate this to our customers and other stakeholders. This evidence is essential in helping ensure that consumers continue to feel great about eating the world’s best beef,” Mr Mackay said.

    CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE FULL REPORT

  • Sustainability taking off in the Australian beef industry

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    30 May 2019

    Tuesday, 21 May 2019

    Australia’s beef industry will launch its second sustainability report next month, which will show industry is committed to improving how it cares for natural resources, animals and people.

    The report will celebrate progress made on issues that matter to customers, investors, special interest groups and the community more broadly.

    It will also include areas for improvement and outline the industry plan for how to address these challenges.

    The report is being produced by the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (the Framework), a whole-of-industry initiative to define and track sustainable beef production in the Australian context.

    The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) initiated the Framework, and its Independent Chair, Don Mackay said the publication of the 2019 Annual Update marked an enormous milestone for the project.

    “Since we launched the Framework in 2017, industry has worked with stakeholders and technical experts to ensure we’ve got robust, credible and practical measures, including for the beef industry’s vegetation management,” Don says.

    “This year, we have data for 80 per cent of Framework indicators, which gives industry a great foundation from which we can launch the next stage of the Framework; setting targets.

    “Our plan is to consult with industry and external stakeholders to set targets for the six key priorities, to encourage action to ramp up on sustainability.”

    Don said he was pleased beef businesses were using the Framework to develop their own sustainability issues, and it had been shared with representatives from high value domestic and export markets.

    Highlights to expect from the report include:

    • Implementation plan developed for target for the Australian red meat industry to be carbon neutral by 2030;
    • The first national vegetation indicators and measures for the beef industry;
    • Increased use of pain relief on cattle;
    • Establishment of the National Livestock Genetics Consortium to deliver more than $400 million in industry improvements; and
    • The beef industry’s involvement in the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA) to invest in practical extension solutions informed by industry input on work, health and safety risks.

    The full report will be available on Thursday 6 June on www.sustainableaustralianbeef.com.au.

    For more information or to organise an interview with Don Mackay, please contact Laura Griffin at laura@curriecommunications.com.au or 0400 170 663.


  • New team of beef leaders to drive our sustainable future

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    04 Dec 2018

    Tuesday, 4 December 2018

    The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) is excited to announce five new members of the Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) to drive implementation of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.

    Independent Chair of RMAC, Don Mackay, said the new members of the expanded SSG brought a range of skills and experience to the SGG, and represented different sectors and geographic regions of the beef industry.

    The new members join newly appointed SSG Chair, Tess Herbert.

    Mr Mackay said the EOI process was extremely competitive with over 40 applications received. He said the high number and calibre of the applicants demonstrated increasing industry awareness and support for the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.

    “The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework shows customers, consumers, governments and investors that we’re committed to continuously improve how we care for animals, natural resources and the people who work in the industry and who consume our beef,” Mr Mackay said.

    “The new SSG members, who have all shown exceptional leadership in the industry, will help to build on the achievements of previous members to develop the Framework and start its implementation.”

    He said the new members had knowledge of the Framework themes of animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and the community.

    The incoming SSG members are:

    • Carl Duncan: Group Manager Resource Efficiency at Teys Australia
    • Melinee Leather: Central Queensland beef producer and previous Chair of the Cattle Council of Australia Animal Health & Welfare & Biosecurity Committee
    • Stephen Moore: General Manager Corporate and Commercial at North Australian Pastoral Company
    • Trevor Moore: Group Systems and Compliance Manager at the Northern Co-operative Meat Company
    • Jenny O’Sullivan: Victorian beef producer, agritourism operator and Chair of the South East Victoria and Tasmania Regional Committee of the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC)

    The new SSG are responsible for progressing the Framework, including addressing data gaps; refining some sustainability indicators; delivering the next Framework Annual Update in May 2019; communications related to the Framework and continuing to provide advice to RMAC on sustainability matters.

    Mr Mackay thanked former SSG Chair Bryce Camm and outgoing SSG members Jim Cudmore and Tony Hegarty for their commitment to progressing the Framework. The new members join existing SSG members: Greg Campbell, Susan McDonald, Kim McDougall and Dr Michael Maxwell.

    ENDS


    Media contact: Laura Griffin, Currie Communications, 0400 170 663 or laura@curriecommunications.com.au
  • Tess Herbert to lead Australian Beef Sustainability Framework

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    21 Nov 2018

    Wednesday, 21 November 2018

    The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) today announced the new Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) to drive implementation of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.

    NSW lot feeder and farmer Tess Herbert will chair the seven-member group of business leaders from across the beef value chain, including grass- and grain-fed production, processing, marketing and live export.

    Independent Chair of RMAC, Don Mackay, made the announcement at Red Meat 2018 in Canberra today and says the Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the role was competitive.

    “It’s great to see grassroots support for the project that shores up the longevity and prosperity of the Australian beef industry,” Mr Mackay says.

    “By defining sustainable beef production and tracking performance each year, the Framework helps to protect our market access and ensure we remain in the driver’s seat on issues that impact our industry.”

    Mr Mackay says Mrs Herbert is well known within industry and has demonstrated her leadership and strategic skills within her own business and as President of the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association.

    Mrs Herbert and her husband Andrew operate two feedlots with a combined 12,500-head capacity: Gundamain at Eugowra and Ladysmith at Wagga Wagga, both in NSW. Their business also includes fat lambs, wool growing, breeding Angus cattle, cropping, and hay and silage production.

    Mrs Herbert is a passionate advocate of the Australian beef industry and agriculture more broadly and says she is excited to be part of a whole-of-industry project to define and track its sustainable practices.

    “We cannot take Australia’s reputation for producing high-quality beef for granted. Consumers, customers, investors and other stakeholders, and even members of the public, increasingly want proof that our product is clean, green and sustainable,” she says.

    “The Framework helps provide proof we’re meeting the promise that our animals are cared for and that our product is safe, nutritious and consistently high quality.”

    Mrs Herbert has thanked previous SSG members, including outgoing Chair Bryce Camm, and says she looks forward to building on the great work they’ve done to establish the Framework, collect data, report on industry performance and prioritise industry focus through genuine consultation with beef industry stakeholders.

    The SSG chaired by Mrs Herbert will be responsible for progressing the Framework, including addressing data gaps; refining some sustainability indicators; delivering the next Framework Annual Update in May 2019; continuing to work with RMAC and advise on related sustainability matters; and more.

    ENDS

    Media contact: Laura Griffin, Currie Communications, 0400 170 663 or laura@curriecommunications.com.au


  • Call for applications for passionate people to drive sustainable beef future

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    22 Oct 2018

    Monday, 22 October 2018

    Exceptional individuals from across the Australian beef value chain with a passion for driving long-term sustainability are invited to apply to join the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework’s (Framework) Steering Group (SSG).

    The Red Meat Advisory Council who oversee the framework, are calling for Expressions of Interest for the SSG from Australian producers, lot feeders, livestock exporters, manufacturers and retailers.

    Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Mr Don Mackay, says being part of the SSG is an exciting opportunity to contribute to ensuring continual improvement in the industry in order to meet customer and other stakeholders’ expectations.

    “You can be part of a select group that will build on the Framework’s achievements. In the past year alone, the SGG has played a central role picking six priority areas for industry action, the annual report and identifying a path forward.”

    “Critically we are now at the point in the process that we need to ensure that the message is out there – on farm, in feedlots, in processing, in transport – that sustainability is an opportunity for the Australian beef industry and one that we all need to address and capitalise,” Mr Mackay says.

    “Sustainability is a whole-of-supply chain approach and we call on talented individuals from pre and post farm gate to get involved.”

    Chair of the SSG, Mr Bryce Camm will step down from the SSG at their next meeting in November to take up a role as President of Australian Lot Feeders Association.

    Mr Camm says being part of the SSG is a great opportunity for people to express their passion for the sector and help drive a critical process for the future prosperity of the industry.

    “I will continue to be a strong advocate for the Frameworks continued success and more importantly work towards a sustainable future for our industry,” the outgoing Chair says.

    The Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) brings together leaders from across the beef value chain, from farm to retail, to progress the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, a project that supports the longevity and future prosperity of the industry. The 2017 SSG Terms of Reference can be found here.

    Launched in April 2017, the Framework was developed by industry in collaboration with stakeholders to meet the evolving expectations of consumers, customers, investors and other stakeholders. It defines sustainable beef production in an Australian context and tracks performance in animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and the community.

    Jim Cudmore will also step down from the SSG. Jim has been a driving force in the framework, having led the initial review in 2014 of how the Australian beef industry could promote its sustainability credentials, and through extensive consultation and work developed into the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework.

    “I have been involved since the start and believe that the time is right for fresh input into the future development of the Framework,” Jim says.

    “I remain passionate about continual improvement for the beef industry, telling our story through meaningful data and analysis, and most importantly providing businesses with the tools that provide real impact.”

    How to apply

    To nominate please send a copy of your CV and brief cover letter to executiverecruitment@rmac.com.au

    Nominations close on 9 November, 2018 and it is anticipated that appointments will be made in November.

    People who can demonstrate knowledge in one of the Framework’s themes (animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and the community) or the six priorities for industry action will be looked upon favourably.

    Efforts will also be made for the SSG to include representatives from different parts of the value chain and regions of Australia.

    Responsibilities of the SSG include:

    • Reporting to RMAC on the Framework and actions the beef industry is taking to be sustainable
    • Managing the Framework, including providing direction to framework Secretariat on tracking, measuring and reporting against the Framework’s indicators to ensure the priorities, indicators and data are accurate, credible and reflect stakeholder input;
    • Advising industry on where research, adoption, policy or communication activity is required to meet the expectations of our customers and other stakeholders; and
    • Promoting the Framework through events, media and social media.


    There are 4-6 meetings held a year.

  • Beef industry reports progress on sustainability, calls for rational, evidence-based debate

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    10 May 2018

    10 May 2018

    A week after the Queensland Parliament passed contentious native vegetation laws, a new report shows a sustainable and thriving Australian beef industry committed to better social, animal welfare, environmental and economic outcomes.

    Queensland beef producer and chair of the Sustainability Steering Group Bryce Camm said the launch of the inaugural Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update 2018 (the Update) could not have come at a better time.

    “We have seen last week in Queensland how policy can be introduced that doesn’t meet the needs of industry or the community,” Mr Camm said.

    “The Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update, on the other hand, prioritises collaboration and evidence-based policy making and is a great opportunity for industry to elevate the debate.

    “The Update shows the industry working towards a collective future through establishing $35 million in research partnerships in animal welfare, launching a proactive antibiotic monitoring program in Australian feedlots, having research pathways in place to Australia towards a carbon-neutral beef industry by 2030 and putting in place an action plan for environmental stewardship, particularly tree and grass cover.”

    Mr Camm said the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (the Framework), as a whole-of-industry initiative, had appointed an expert third-party panel of eminent scientists to help industry define and report on the balance of grass and tree cover.

    “We’ve appointed a team of world-leading remote sensing experts, biologists and conservationists to our expert panel because there is no agreement on what is or how to accurately measure the tree growth and tree/ pasture changes in vegetation managed by the Australian cattle industry – and, indeed, the related expectations of our customers,” he said.

    “We have agreement from industry, retailers, banks and environment groups to review the advice of key technical experts in order to develop a longer-term solution to managing vegetation for the mutual benefit of industry productivity and environmental outcomes.

    “We believe we can achieve better industry outcomes that honour our commitment to customers and voters and we sincerely hope governments start to recognise this.”

    The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is an initiative of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and prioritises six key areas: animal husbandry techniques, profitability across value chain, balance of tree and grass cover, antimicrobial stewardship, managing climate change risk, and health and safety of people in industry.

    Independent Chair of the RMAC, Mr Don Mackay, said the ABSF addressed issues that could be very emotive from an industry and community perspective, such as land management, animal welfare and more.

    “We must clearly communicate how we as an industry manage issues that our customers and stakeholders are interested in and concerned about.

    “The Annual Update tackles these issues head on and provides the platform for discussions with government, investors, customers and other stakeholders,” he added.

    “As an industry the time to act on sustainability is now. We must continue working together to ensure the longevity and prosperity of our industry and defend challenges presented to us.

    “We may never satisfy an environmental or anti-animal-industry activist agenda, but we must do better for our own businesses and our customers and Australian voters. Our industry depends on it to continue to live up to our claims we are producing sustainable Australian beef.”

    Mr Mackay thanked all the people within the industry and external stakeholders who contributed to the Framework’s development and its first Annual Update.

    “The Annual Update is an exciting milestone for the industry and we sincerely appreciate the input of all of those involved.

    “Our customers and consumers are demanding more information so they can be confident to continue buying our beef, and our Framework provides that information,” Mr Mackay said.

    “It’s a great resource that provides evidence on how our industry is progressing on animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and community.”

    The 72-page Annual Update reports on how the beef industry is progressing on indicators that were developed through extensive consultation with industry and external stakeholders over 2016-17. It follows on from the initial Framework report (2017) and has data for 29 per cent more indicators than when the Framework was launched last year.

    Launch event

    Mr Camm and Mr Mackay were joined by fellow Sustainability Steering Group member Susan McDonald, who is the Managing Director of Super Butcher, and representatives from McDonald’s and Rabobank at the sold-out seminar at Beef Australia to launch the Annual Update.

    Ends…

    Note: Mr Don Mackay is available to pre-record interviews on Wednesday, 9 May. 2018

    Media contact: To organise an interview with Mr Don Mackay and for other enquiries, contact Laura Griffin, Currie Communications, at laura@curriecommunications.com.au or 0400 170 663.


  • Beef industry leaders, customers to address why sustainability matters at Beef Australia

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    30 Apr 2018

    30 April 2018

    Industry leaders and representatives from global food and banking giants will tackle the question 'Sustainability for the Australian Beef industry... why?' at a seminar at Beef Australia.

    The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework – a whole-of-industry initiative to define, measure, report on and guide sustainability – will also launch its first annual update on the progress of the beef industry at the seminar.

    Speakers include Andrew Brazier, a Director of Supply Chain at McDonald's Corporation, who has commercial responsibilities for the beef, pork and fish categories for the more than 10,000 restaurants in 37 countries in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

    Andrew will share his unique insights working with the one of the world’s biggest buyers of beef. McDonald’s is in a unique position dealing with consumers, suppliers and farmers from across the globe.

    “McDonald’s is committed to working with the beef industry and farmers to increase productivity and profitability for the beef industry in the long term.”

    Lachlan Monsbourgh, Head of Sustainable Business Development at Rabobank Australia, will also share his insights at the sustainability-focused seminar at Beef Australia.

    “From a risk management perspective banks are now looking beyond financial performance. We need to understand the health of the environment and the management of risks, including animal welfare,” Lachlan says.

    He says one of the issues Rabobank – one of the world’s largest rural lenders – is most interested in is natural resource management to ensure long-term agricultural productivity and environmental outcomes.

    Beef sustainability update to be launched

    These guest speakers will be joined by Australian beef industry leaders involved in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework – Don MacKay (Red Meat Advisory Council Independent Chair), Bryce Camm (Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group and Camm Agricultural Group CEO) and Susan McDonald (Member of the Sustainability Steering Group and Super Butcher Managing Director).

    Bryce will officially launch the landmark beef sustainability report at Beef Australia.

    “The report was developed to meet stakeholder expectations, but it is also incredibly useful for industry to be able to clearly understand our customers, investors and other stakeholders’ priorities. There is a commercial imperative for anyone in the beef value chain to understand these priorities and how, as an industry we are responding,” Bryce says. “The Sustainability Steering Group are excited to present this report to industry and our external stakeholders.”

    The Annual Update covers the beef industry’s progress since the Framework was launched in April 2017. Some of the key updates include:

    • Stakeholders decided on six key priority areas for industry focus (which are animal husbandry techniques; profitability across value chain; balance of tree and grass cover; manage climate change risk; antimicrobial stewardship; and the health and safety of people in industry).
    • The Framework team has appointed an expert panel on balance of tree and grass cover that will advise industry on developing an evidence-based indicator and target across the areas of pasture health, managing regrowth, deforestation and vegetation management.
    • $35 million research partnership established in animal husbandry.
    • Access to pain relief for cattle improved after pain relief products that can be administered by producers entered the market in late 2016.
    • Established a proactive antibiotic monitoring program in Australian feedlots
    Event details

    Date: Thursday, 10 May 2018 Time: 12-1pm Location: Beef Australia, Rockhampton
    Room: Gallagher Energizer Room (James Lawrence Pavilion)

    Join the panellists and members of the Sustainability Steering Group for drinks and nibbles straight after the seminar.

    Register via the Beef Australia website or email the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework team directly by contacting Pip Band at pband@mla.com.au.

    About the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework

    The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework ("The Framework") is a collaborative project to guide the Australian beef industry to be more sustainable. It will launch its first annual update at Beef Australia. The Framework was initiated by the Red Meat Advisory Council and developed by the Australian beef industry to meet the customers, investors and other stakeholders’ changing expectations for a sustainable industry.

    The Framework defines sustainable beef production and tracks performance over a series of indicators related to animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and community. These indicators have been developed through broad consultation with stakeholders and technical experts.
  • Why more beef producers need to get behind the Sustainability Framework

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    08 May 2018

    16 April 2018

    Susan McDonald, a member of our Sustainability Steering Group, speaks on the importance of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework in light of the recent live sheep export saga. The Framework is proof of the industry's leadership and action on sustainability issues.

    Discussing both the backlash from the live-ex saga and recent changes to vegetation management legislation, Susan McDonald noted that the Framework was an important step for the beef industry to take control of the sustainability discussion.

  • Carbon Neutral announcement supported by Australian Beef Sustainability Framework

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    by Eleanor @ Framework, 23 Nov 2017

    23 November 2017

    The Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group for the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, Bryce Camm, has welcomed news from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) yesterday that the industry could be carbon-neutral by 2030.

    “The prospect that we could be carbon-neutral by 2030 is an incredibility exciting one in terms of demonstrating our economic and environmental credentials to Australia and the world,” said Mr Camm, a fourth-generation Queensland grain and grass-fed cattle producer.

    “Reducing emissions is one of the key priorities of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, and work is already in progress by a large number of producers and most processors.

    “The framework is about ensuring we are meeting customer, investor and other stakeholder expectations and these groups have clearly communicated to industry that carbon is one of their top priorities.”

    In September, following widespread consultation, the Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) selected managing climate change risk as one of six high-priority areas in sustainable beef production.

    In the Framework managing climate change risk covers GHGs, fertiliser application and fossil fuel use (both on-farm and in processing) and carbon capture and sequestration.

    In addition to managing climate risk, the other high-priority areas in the Framework are:

    • Animal husbandry techniques
    • Profitability across the value chain
    • Balance of tree and grass cover
    • Antimicrobial stewardship
    • Health and safety of people in the industry

    Independent Chair of RMAC, Mr Don Mackay said; “The red meat industry has reduced emissions within the national greenhouse inventory from 20% to 13% since 2005.

    “We are proud to have significantly contributed to the Australian Federal Government 2030 targets under the Paris agreement. But, as ever, more needs to be done when it comes to policy settings that drive real value for red meat businesses.”

    The ABSF is an initiative of RMAC aimed at demonstrating to the community our commitment to a thriving Australian beef industry that strives to continuously improve the wellbeing of people, animals and the environment.

  • Beef Steering Group picks top six areas for action, improvement

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    by Eleanor @ Framework, 28 Sep 2017

    27 September 2017

    A new milestone for the implementation of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework has been marked with six high-priority areas selected for focus by the beef industry.

    The six priorities selected by the Sustainability Steering Group are animal husbandry techniques, profitability across the value chain, tree and grass cover, antimicrobial stewardship, managing climate risk and the health and safety of people in the industry.

    Of the six priority areas in the shortlist, five were proposed by the Framework’s Consultative Committee – a cross-sector reference group made up of industry and external stakeholders, established to ensure the views of key external stakeholders continued to be considered as the Framework is implemented.

    Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group (SSG), fourth-generation Queensland cattle grain and grass-fed cattle producer, Bryce Camm, said the shortlisting of the Framework’s 23 priority areas was a key task for the SSG.

    “As an industry led group we were really happy to see that each of the four framework themes - economic resilience, environmental stewardship, people and community, and animal welfare – were represented in the shortlist of priority areas from the Consultative Committee.

    “The five priorities that the Consultative Committee recommended were all endorsed by the Sustainability Steering Group. We also added the ‘health and safety of our people’, recognising that our people are at the centre of our industry. The Steering Group felt strongly that it is important to acknowledge the importance of looking after our own people and for industry to work together to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for everyone in the beef supply chain,” Mr Camm said.

    “From an industry perspective it was encouraging to see the emphasis our external stakeholders place on profitability across the supply chain. It was ranked second by the Consultative Group. A summary report of the Consultative Committee workshop is available on the framework website.

    As a result of this ranking by the Framework’s independent Sustainability Steering Group a number of activities will be undertaken. Activity will include a stocktake of activities across industry and external organisations to identify gaps and duplication to ensure coordinated strategies are in place. Expert groups will be established to advise industry on the most appropriate measures where they have not yet been determined and future approaches to deliver continual improvement.

    The Framework was established by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) to support a strategy in the Meat Industry Strategic Plan for improving the transparency of the Australian beef industry, aligning practices with community and consumer expectations, and directing industry investment for continuous improvement.

    Independent Chair of RMAC, Mr Don Mackay, said the Framework had been established to meet the changing expectations of customers and stakeholders, and ensure continued trust and market access for Australian beef.

    “Today's consumer wants to know where their food comes from and, increasingly, major customers, investors and other stakeholders are requiring information about production practices,” Mr Mackay said.
    “The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is about addressing this demand for information, and growing the prosperity and longevity of the businesses, the families and the communities our industry represents.”

    The six selected priority areas are below, with the definitions as outlined in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework. The first five were proposed by the Consultative Committee, with the sixth added by the Sustainability Steering Group.

    1. Animal husbandry techniques
    These techniques include castration, horn removal (dehorning), branding, and ear marking. The industry aims to find alternatives to invasive practices (i.e. breeding selection for the polled gene) and where practicable administer pain relief before carrying out necessary husbandry procedures.

    2. Profitability across value chain

    To be economically sustainable the industry must generate a positive rate of return over the long-term on all capital used in cattle raising and beef production. Rate of return is measured by A rolling average of farm business profit, total factor productivity across the value chain and cost of production.

    3. Balance of tree and grass cover

    Well-managed landscapes and cattle production are not considered mutually-exclusive. Tree cover is not always an optimal environmental outcome. The beef industry is working to ensure protection of high conservation areas without unintended environmental or production consequences.

    4. Antimicrobial stewardship

    Maintaining the efficacy of antimicrobials so that infections in humans and animals remain treatable is of critical importance. Antimicrobial stewardship aims to improve the safe and appropriate use of antimicrobials, reduce patient harm and decrease the incidence of antimicrobial resistance.

    5. Manage climate change risk

    This covers greenhouse gases emitted along the beef value chain, including methane through cattle digestion, fertiliser application and fossil fuel use (both on-farm and in processing), measured by kg CO2e emitted when raising and processing beef, and carbon capture and sequestration.

    6. Health and safety of people in industry

    Working environments through the beef value chain, especially on-farm, expose employees and contractors to risk. Currently reliable data only exists for notifiable fatalities, however the industry recognises that injuries resulting in time off work present a significant risk to our people and productivity.