Australian beef industry’s third annual sustainability scorecard released


Beef Central (Australia)

June 25, 2020


The Australian beef industry’s latest annual sustainability ‘report card’ released today shows the industry is making progress on key sustainability indicators but there is work to be done to better engage industry.


Details from the latest annual Australian Beef Sustainability Framework update, the third since its inception, were shared at an offical ‘e-launch’ earlier today. The Queensland Rural Press Club-hosted zoom conference included a panel discussion involving Sustainability Steering Group chair Tess Herbert; chef Darren Robertson; wholesaler and early mover in carbon neutral beef marketing, James Madden; Group Manager Resource Efficiency & Sustainability from Teys, Carl Duncan; and Queensland producer and Agforce President, Georgie Somerset.


The Framework defines sustainable beef production and tracks performance over a series of indicators annually.


While the framework is well known with its intended audience, there is work to be done to better engage industry, Mrs Herbert said.


“Since launching four years ago the feedback from external stakeholders, including retailers, banks and NGOs is that the framework is valuable,” she said.


“It is providing a clear and transparent report card on where we are up to in the areas they care most about. Our customers, investors and other influential stakeholders are extremely supportive of the transparency, progress, balance and accessibility of the framework.


“Where we can do better is to engage more with producers and other members of the supply chain. That is something that our Steering Group is focussed on in 2020.”


In a post-pandemic world a renewed focus by consumers on the ethics and sustainability of their food is likely, Mrs Herbert said.


“We certainly all enjoyed seeing shelves of beef cleared in the early stages of COVID-19, as consumers flocked to a product they trusted. While some may see this as a sign that sustainability is no longer as prominent as a priority, the experts are pointing to an increased focus on how food is produced and the ethics of food as we move out of the pandemic.


“Without a doubt the operating environment is changing for our industry and has been for some time. That is why in 2017 the industry developed the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework. It’s about building trust and working collaboratively within industry and with our customers and investors.


“Ultimately the framework aims to ensure that Aussie beef is not only recognised for its high quality, but for the care we take in looking after our people, our animals and the natural environment in which we operate,” said Mrs Herbert.


Mrs Herbert will note that there is still work to be done to highlight the benefits of transparency and collaboration to industry...