Industry stakeholders discuss key markers of beef sustainability at Canberra forum


More than 30 representatives of State Farming Organisations, Research & Development Corporations, and the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF) Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) met in Canberra this week to discuss the indicators used to track industry’s sustainability, at the annual ABSF Industry Forum.

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF) was established in 2017 to define sustainable beef production within the unique Australian context.

To reflect this definition, ABSF comprises four themes – animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and community, with 24 identified priority areas.

For each priority, key indicators are used to track progress.

Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) CEO, Alastair James, said this week’s review of indicators built on discussions undertaken last month by the ABSF’s Consultative Committee, which serves as a reference group to provide insights and perspectives from Australian and international stakeholders, external to the red meat industry.

Those involved in that group include retailers, banks, investors, environment, and welfare non-government organisations, agribusinesses, researchers, government policy organisations, and industry groups.

“The ABSF is a powerful tool for demonstrating our industry’s sustainability credentials, providing demonstrated evidence, with verified data, in support for the work we do on-farm and in-business,” Mr James said.

“Not only does this help to focus investment within the industry but, importantly, it gives us a data-backed platform from which we can communicate with and engage external stakeholders, including special interest groups, media, customers, and the broader community on our industry’s sustainability.”

A key function of the ABSF is the development of its Annual Update to report back on progress made against the indicators identified as most important for measuring and demonstrating the industry’s continuous sustainability improvement.

These indicators are consistently reviewed and refined to ensure they remain relevant to the evolving local and global sustainability discussion.

“The Annual Update is a critical resource supporting industry in communicating our sustainability credentials and it is important the indicators we use to measure performance are legitimate and meaningful markers of our successes, opportunities for improvement and progression,” Mr James said.

“That is why ongoing consultation with industry, including this week’s Industry Forum, the Consultative Committee, surveys, and the continual work of the SSG is imperative to the evolution of the indicators and ensuring the ABSF is responsive, contemporary, and relevant.”

This year’s ABSF Annual Update is scheduled for launch in June.