CFA at AG Innovation Showcase 2020 – Session on Sustainable Beef

 Deputy General Manager at the Cool Farm Alliance (CFA), Daniella Malin was invited to this year’s Ag innovation showcase at the end of August, where Cargill Protein, software provider TrustBIX, and consultancy services Viresco Solutions Inc. joined the session titled “Sustainable Beef: Exploring Solutions that Enhance Trust”. Gurneesh Bhandal, Senior Sustainability Manager, Cargill Protein started the conversation, acknowledging that beef contributes to protein intake and rural livelihood, but also contributes to a negative environmental footprint. Addressing these and other related challenges require collaboration between stakeholders (producer associations, customers, environmental groups, academics). Cargill tries to implement this through its certified sustainable beef sourcing program. The company is supported by TrustBIX who provided the needed technical solutions for tracking, measuring, and auditing the data generated. 

Jonathon Alcock, Sustainable Development Director at Viresco Solutions added that trust within and outside the beef sector is essential to make initiatives and engagement successful, e.g. by including producers right from the beginning. Viresco is also working on this by engaging with large agri-food companies to invest in supply chains and producers through initiatives like carbon monetisation. 

CFA’s Daniella Malin commented on the importance of sustainable certification as the first step toward meeting standards, traceability, and enhancing consumer trust, while “the quantification of carbon footprint and the relationship between current practices and climate mitigation potential in agriculture are the next steps”. The Cool Farm Tool (CFT) was developed for this second layer, to extend literacy about this relationship throughout the industry globally. It enables growers to understand the gap between current practices and future potential to mitigate climate change while deriving multiple additional benefits. Daniella Malin further explained that “quantification in the CFT is distilled in a simple, streamlined way, so the focus lies not on complex data collection, but rather on taking action and understanding how we can build incentives for farmers. The use of the tool in global supply chains promotes GHG mitigation by encouraging practices that ultimately benefit soil health, water retention, and thus the profitability of agriculture.”

If the consumption of meat is here to stay, it is necessary to develop approaches that align with each stakeholder’s objectives in order to reduce the impact of the livestock sector on climate change. Sustainable beef is a growing arena for innovative solutions that enhance trust with consumers and reward producers. Consumers want transparency in the environmental impact of the beef they consume and are willing to pay a premium for it. Ranchers take pride in their sustainable work and benefit from financial incentives and positive visibility across the marketplace. Digital solutions like the ones provided by TrustBIX and Cool Farm Tool provide the foundation for future efforts like tying carbon offsets to carbon sequestration and rotational grazing practices.