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GRSB2014

Sustainability has many faces and a common understanding is hard to come by at times. This conference series brings people together to formulate a path forward.
2014 Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

Karl Williams, Director, FAI Farms with Benchmark Holdings, talks about farmers can measure sustainability. He suggests the "S" word is over used and, from a farmer perspective, the word is lost in the conversations.

Mr. Williams uses the model of the three Es (Economics, Ethics, and Environment) throughout the presentation, highlighting how real farmers are accomplishing sustainability. He suggests there only needs to be a set of simple measures in order for there to be a meaningful conversation.

Dawn Robinson, Regional Director, Latin America, Proforest, talks about the context, drivers, and trends of sustainability. Ms. Robinson highlights some of the standards and tools that are available to help support sustainability efforts.

She closes with some of the challenges, including audit fatigue / duplication, exclusion of smallholders, and the race to commit maybe outpacing the processes and tools in place.

Tre’ Cates, Chief Operating Officer/CFO, Savory Institute, points out how holistic management provides the management tools to understand nature and work with it. Mr. Cates says that the opportunity is to recognize that what is happening on farms is something that can increase the livelihoods of people, through holistic management of the world’s grasslands.

Francesca DeBiase, Vice President for Strategic Sourcing & Sustainability, Worldwide Supply Chain, McDonald’s, shares a video of people from different backgrounds and ages showing off their football (soccer) ball handling skills in surprising settings. The video is "about sharing our story in an authentic way that's fun". For beef sustainability,

Daniel Meyer explains what Roundtable for Responsible Soy is about and how it is being developed. This new sustainable soy initiative has developed governance, a sustainable definition, and a process to certify soy operation as sustainable. Key take aways: 1) Successful sustainability communication is tailored to different circumstances and contexts, 2) Attention to the myths of sustainability! and 3) Make the complex look simple and work on accessibility.

Kim Essex, Senior Vice President, Director, North American Food Practice, Ketchum, shares the stories that science does not always resonate well for consumers with respect to food and agriculture. Using the lead around the idea of "if only everyone recognized farmers' need to feed the world", Ms. Essex looks at what Food 2020 looks like and the messages that consumers hear.

Her take aways: 1) Be a listener, 2) Acknowledge concerns, and 3) Take actions that demonstrate authenticity and accountability.

Charlie Arnot, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Food Integrity, talks about building the trust between agriculture/food companies and consumers. Mr. Arnot shares how building a social license to operate is key for companies to sustain that trust.

Mr. Arnot also covers what happens when companies loose the trust and regulation is implanted to "fix" the social license and trust shield. Mr. Arnot suggests that companies need to begin their public engagement, open their digital doors, and commit to an online and in person engagement culture throughout.

Dr. Kim Stackhouse, Director of Sustainability Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, shares the dos & don'ts discovered in the USA on doing lifecycle assessments. Dr. Stackhouse says it is important to remember that "Zero impact is not possible": there are tradeoffs and food production will result in an impact and the the goal is improvement over time.

Dr. Stackhouse concludes with the importance of having good science as a baseline for sharing beef sustainability stories over time.

This panel discussion with Dr. Marty Matlock (University of Arkansas), Dr. Kim Stackhouse (National Cattlemen's Beef Association), Brian Lindsay (SAI Platform), and Karin Kreider (Executive Director, ISEAL Alliance) addresses challenges in sustainable beef. Two of them: 1) how to develop sustainability indicators and, 2) what is the role of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.