Why Beef Sustainability is Important

It’s no secret that the world population is growing. In fact, experts predict the global population to be over 10 billion by 2050. We have to be able to produce more food out of fewer resources. It’s one of the big reasons why beef sustainability is important for our food system. It’s also why food companies such as Cargill, McDonald’s, Loblaws and many others, as well as conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited Canada and World Wildlife Fund (to name a few) have made efforts to support sustainable agriculture. Being able to produce beef in a way that’s responsible to the environment, animals and consumers is crucial for the industry to survive.

Collaborating for Greater Sustainable Impact

The strength of the CRSB is the collaboration between producers, companies and organizations involved in beef production towards a common goal of continuous improvement and advancing sustainable practices.  The synergistic effect of bringing together many perspectives working together allows us to make a greater impact than all working independently towards the same goal.  That's why our partners are key to sustainability impact on the ground.  This Certification Framework is just a piece of CRSB's work. Our Sustainability Benchmarking analyzes the sustainability performance of Canadian Beef production and sets robust goals for improvement, and a strategy for achieving them.  A Projects Inventory demonstrates the immense body of work being done, not only by CRSB, but by our partners and industry professionals, to advance continual improvement in environmental, social and economic areas that will ensure a sustainable future in agriculture and food production. 

Visit CRSB's Sustainability Benchmarking page to learn more about the National Beef Sustainability Assessment, including the 10 Goals for Continuous Improvement and the Strategy of how we are working to achieve them.  An Interim Report on this Strategy was released in February 2020, and the Canadian beef industry is working on long-term strategic goals to achieve by 2030.

Cattle and Conservation - Making the Connection

Climate change. Environmental protection. Consumer demands. Global markets. Nowhere is the convergence of these issues more apparent than in the livestock industry.
For decades, Canadian cattle producers have made conservation part of their operations. Today, these efforts to conserve wetlands and grasslands are setting new standards for sustainability in working landscapes. With a viable and productive beef industry we can ensure farming families stay on the landscape and continue to turn Canada's grassland into a high quality, nutritious, delicious food, that also protects these ecologically-important landscapes. 
Karla Guyn - Ret. CEO, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Did You Know?

Beef producers in Canada manage 44 million acres of grasslands. Native prairie grassland are iconic landscapes that provide vital habitat for over 60 at-risk species and offer much of the carbon capture potential for our country. However, these grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate - even considered one of the most endangered ecosystems in the entire world. Cattle play an integral role in maintaining and preserving grasslands for the plant and animal species that call them home.

If you think that beef production is not sustainable - consider this. Land used for cattle production is approximately one-third of Canada's total agricultural land, YET it provides two-thirds (68%) of the wildlife habitat capacity. As a result, land used to raise cattle is home to thousands of species of wildlife and many species at risk.  Cattle production benefits grasslands, wetlands, healthy soils and biodiversity.  Cattle help keep the soil healthy, trap immense amounts of carbon in the soil, and contribute to a thriving ecosystem.

Areas where cattle are raised protect grasslands and wetlands. Cows and ducks both need grass and water to survive - they use the same habitat and co-exist swimmingly.

Cattle raised in Canada are part of the climate change solution - our production system is a great example of a resilient, sustainable and low greenhouse gas emission system.  You should feel good about choosing beef as part of a healthy, sustainable diet. If you want to make an impact, consider reducing the amount of food waste in your household rather than the amount of beef you eat.

Beef Producers and conservationists have common goals - Good Grass, Clean Water, Healthy Animals, Safe Food, Biodiversity and above all, a SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT.

Canada needs beef farmers. Beef belongs on the Canadian landscape.

 

Learn more about the ecosystem benefits of sustainable beef production.

 

You may be surprised to know about some of the conservation-minded organizations that work hand-in-hand with Canadian Beef producers and groups like the CRSB to protect and enhance Canada's grasslands, wetlands and precious ecosystems.

McDonald's Scale for Good

McDsMcDonald's believes that delicious food can also be sustainable - for their customers, for the producers that grow and raise the ingredients, and the environment.  As one of the world's leading restaurant brands, they use their "Scale for Good" to make this vision a reality. McDonald's has identified a number of key global priorities, beef sustainability among them, where they believe they can make the greatest difference and drive industry-wide positive change. These key priorities include: Climate ActionBeef SustainabilityPackaging and RecyclingCommitment to Families, and Youth Opportunity.

We recognize that the size and reach of our business puts us in a unique position to improve people’s lives and the environment. We want to use our Scale for Good and continue raising the bar on what it means to be a responsible company committed to people and the planet.
Francesca DeBiase, Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer, McDonald’s Corporation

Learn more about McDonald's Scale for Good

 

Leadership in Beef Sustainability - McDonald's Canada

In Canada, McDonald's has been a trailblazer in beef sustainability as a founding member the CRSB, and fosters collaboration with all CRSB members. They believe in the collaborative approach, and have worked hand-in-hand with beef producers and the Canadian Beef industry to create programs that work for everyone.

McDonald's Canada's beef sustainability journey included a commitment to source sustainable beef, verified at each stage of the supply chain. Beginning in 2015, through a collaborative process with the Canadian Beef industry, McDonald's Canada developed a series of sustainability indicators that that eventually formed the backbone for the development of the CRSB's Sustainable Beef Production Standard. The pilot program evaluated whether indicators could be assessed on-farm, and the cattle tracked through verified sustainable farms and ranches from "Birth to Burger". When this pilot program wrapped up in 2016, McDonald's Canada passed the torch to the multi-stakeholder membership of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef with the vision for a certified sustainability program for the whole beef industry, not just McDonald's, that would provide consumers with the assurances they seek about sustainable practices in beef production. That process culminated in this Certified Sustainable Beef Framework, and McDonald's continues to tell that sustainability story through the farmers and ranchers they are committed to all the way through the beef supply chain.

Read about the results of the Pilot, and what they learned.


 

sustainable future heroIn 2018, McDonald's Canada was the first to source a portion of the beef for their Angus burgers from Certified Sustainable farms and ranches, audited according to the CRSB's sustainability standards. Following their lead, other companies are joining the movement to show how beef production is part of the climate change solution, supporting continuous improvement from environmental and social perspectives, as well as supporting strong economic outcomes for the industry.

Check out McDonald's Canada's sustainability mission