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Strategic Goals for Improvement

Knowing our past and current performance is only the first step on our sustainability journey.

Setting ambitious and strategic goals is critical to making continual progress and actions with identified outlines our roadmap for success.

2030 Canadian Beef Industry Goals

Building on the CRSB’s first National Beef Sustainability Strategy set in 2016, the Canadian Beef Industry came together to establish a suite of strategic long-term goals, looking towards 2030.

These goals address a diverse range of priority topic areas and demonstrates how we are working together to set ambitious targets with strategic actions to make real improvements.

The 2030 goals highlight the role of the Canadian beef sector as integral for climate change mitigation, conserving biodiversity and our natural ecosystems, supporting people and communities, embracing innovation, and our contribution to a sustainable food system.

The Sustainability Strategy

The CRSB’s National Beef Sustainability Strategy is centered around the Canadian beef industry’s 2030 goals, with an overarching sustainability community goal and economic goals.  The strategy outlines key performance indicators and strategic actions, initiatives and opportunities to make progress over time.

Although all are deemed important for industry sustainability, throughout the strategy, those highlighted in bold text have been identified as the key priority areas of focus. Many areas of opportunity have been identified, some of which is already underway through the industry’s goals working groups.

Expand each of the goal areas below to learn more about the goals and actions and how the CRSB, its membership and industry partners will collaborate on our journey of sustainability. 

Our Main Goal

To build on a collaborative, credible and aligned sustainability community in Canada.

Over the past 10 years, the CRSB has built a collaborative community that encompasses passionate people involved in the sustainability of the beef value chain and beyond.

Our main strategic activities to further this community for the next few years include:

  1. Strengthen CRSB’s reputation as the trusted organization for beef sustainability in Canada.
  2. Build shared understanding of the balanced health of people, animals and the environment.
  3. Establish and maintain strong relationships, partnerships and communication with the scientific community.
  4. Further engage youth leaders in CRSB’s work.
  5. Inform and support information-sharing that advances the sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain.

ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS AND ACTIONS

Environmental impact is often the first thing to spring to mind when thinking of the sustainability of a food system. The Canadian beef industry has set some ambitious goals to make environmental improvements by 2030 across a variety of key areas, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity, reducing waste, conserving land and water used for beef production and enhancing biodiversity. Beef farmers and ranchers across Canada, and those involved throughout the beef supply chain are committed to working together to achieve these goals.

2030 Goals

  • Reduce primary production GHG emissions intensity 33% by 2030.
  • Safeguard 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon stored on land managed by beef producers.
  • Sequester an additional 3.4 million tonnes of carbon every year.

Strategic Actions

Scientific research innovations and many collaborations are already underway in this
area. 

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Encourage research and collaboration to optimize cattle diets.
2. Promote implementation of practices to enhance manure management.
3. Collaborate with initiatives that work to safeguard carbon storage ad increased carbon sequestration.
4. Collaborate with initiatives that support improvements in feed and forage production.
5. Collaborate with initiatives that develop genetic selection tools that reduce GHG emissions.
6. Measure and disseminate the Canadian beef sector’s GHG footprint and carbon stock.
7. Promote communication and knowledge transfer between the research community and producers to increase uptake of practices that reduce GHG emissions and improve carbon sequestration.

2030 Goals

  • Reduce food loss and waste (from secondary processing to consumer) by 50% by 2030.
  • Increase the value of AAA and Prime carcasses, to be equivalent with the US, by building demand for all cuts on the carcass.
  • Support the development, regulatory approval and adoption of improved food safety interventions and technologies throughout the supply chain.

Strategic Actions 

Players across the beef supply chain from farm to fork are setting goals and targets for reducing food loss and waster, and all are committed to be part of the solution. This includes efficient use of resources, up-cycling food waste by beef producers, and reducing both food loss and food waste from the primary  processor all the way through to the consumer.

Research indicates that Canadian consumers (75%) believe that reducing waste is one of the ways they can contribute to improving sustainability in their own day-to-day lives, and the supply chain also plays a key role.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Encourage programs and projects that help food diversion efforts and reduce barriers to implementation.
2. Further enhance understanding of food loss and waste in the Canadian beef value chain.
3. Encourage research and adoption of packaging that enhances product life, and reduce food waste and environmental impact, while aligning with on-going national and global initiatives.
4. Support initiatives to improve carcass quality and utilization.

2030 Goals 

  • Maintain the 35 million acres of native grassland in the care of beef producers by focusing on economic viability of producers and supporting programs that incentivize conservation in collaboration with Canadian crop groups.
    Maintain a network of natural landscapes and healthy functioning ecosystems through well-managed grazing systems that maintain sustainable plant communities and healthy rangelands:
    • Maintain and enhance the 68% of wildlife habitat capacity.
    • Enhance ecosystem services.
    • Encourage practices that build soil organic matter and enhance soil biodiversity.

Strategic Actions

There has been a strong focus on the role that Canadian beef producers play in improving and conserving land used for grazing cattle, and the critical habitat for wildlife and species at risk that these lands, particularly Canada’s native grasslands, play – much of which are managed by Canadian beef producers.

We are all working to collaborate on initiatives that support producers, to incentivize and reward their conservation efforts that provide key nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation, and to build trust through sharing these stories importance with the public.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Support the creation and adoption of ecosystem services payments, markets and producer incentives.
2. Facilitate collaboration across stakeholder groups to develop a shared understanding of the challenges and potential solutions to promote biodiversity.
3. Support work that builds understanding and enhances or restores habitat quality and quantity on beef [production] operations.
4. Build further awareness and use of range health assessments by producers.

2030 Goals

  • Promote practices that maximize water quality and retention, to deliver healthier landscapes, resilience to drought and flood events, and groundwater recharge as appropriate to the region’s precipitation.
  • Improve water use efficiency in the beef value chain.
  • Build recognition by the public and policymakers of the benefits provided by grassland ecosystems, including:
    • Protection of wetlands
    • The role of wetlands as important carbon sinks
    • Filtration of nutrients that protect water quality and reduce non-point source pollution
    • Resilience to drought and flood events
    • Support groundwater recharge and future water supplies

Strategic Actions

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Build further beef producer understanding, awareness and use of riparian health assessments by supporting organizations that are enhancing awareness and promoting adoption of tools.
2. Collaborate with stakeholders to further measure the relationship between beef production and wetland conservation, and the associated ecosystem services being provided.
3. Partner with organizations that deliver producer extension to encourage uptake of practices to preserve wetlands.
4. Build awareness about the limitations in water risk assessments and the importance of local context when interpreting the results, both nationally and internationally.
5. Support innovation that increases water use efficiency within the processing and packaging sectors. 
6. Support improvement in feed yields/productivity, drought resistance and irrigation practices to reduce the blue water footprint of feed.

SOCIAL GOALS AND ACTIONS

Social factors are equally important to a product’s sustainability. The social assessment made key observations in the life cycle of Canadian beef production, identifying strengths and how to manage the risks and challenges in regard to labour management, people health and safety, animal care and antimicrobial use.

2030 Goals

  • Create a culture of health and safety across the beef industry supply chain.
  • Reduce serious, fatal and fatigue-related incidents by 1.5% per year up to 2030, by supporting education, awareness and improvements in farm and ranch safety.

Strategic Actions

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Collaborate regarding on-farm health and safety awareness and best practices implementation.
2. Enable dialogues regarding health and safety, including mental well-being, for all beef value chain participants.
3. Promote a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and transparency for all people within the beef supply chain.

2030 Goal

  • Support innovation, research, refinement and commercialization of technologies throughout the supply chain that support economic viability and worker conditions.

Strategic Actions

This is a new topic area in the current strategy. Availability of skilled labour is an important issue being tackled across the Canadian agri-food system and many other sectors, and the Canadian beef industry is no different. While the labour gap is growing, there are many job opportunities but creative solutions are needed to match the right people, in the right place with the right jobs, with training and retention strategies.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Support initiatives that increase labour availability, training, recruitment and retention.
2. Promote implementation of practices to enhance labour management.
3. Support adoption of best management practices, business tools and new technology to reduce workloads across the beef supply chain, focusing particularly on family farm businesses, while considering the practicality of implementation.

2030 Goals

  • Ensure the five freedoms of animal well-being by increasing adoption of on-farm management practices:
    • Attain 92% reproductive efficiency in Canadian beef production (85% in 2018)
    • Adopt management and breeding choices that support animal welfare (e.g. calving ease, polled genes, pain relief)
  • Establish and maintain a surveillance system to monitor cattle production practices across Canada.

Strategic Actions

Animal care is a success story in Canada, and many federal regulations and industry standards (e.g. Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle) play a role; increased coordination and communication across areas within the beef supply chain are areas for improvement to fully secure animal care throughout the cattle life cycle.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Increase communication and coordination between all stakeholders to ensure animal health and welfare at every stage of the beef cattle life cycle.
2. Promote animal care awareness and implementation of practices through the dissemination of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.
3. Promote awareness of best practices for animal handling with respect to transport.
4. Support research, innovation and knowledge transfer regarding animal care protocols and products.
5. Communicate the importance of adoption of pain control protocols and products.
6. Improve genetic selection tolls that support animal welfare, while considering environmental or productivity benefits.

2030 Goal

  • Ensure the effectiveness of existing and future antimicrobials is preserved to support human and animal health and welfare.
    • Develop, monitor and disseminate best practices regarding antimicrobial use
    •  Quantify and describe baseline antibiotic use practices in Canadian feedlot production
    • Determine and monitor antibiotic resistance profiles in bacteria of concern in feedlot cattle

Strategic Actions

Antimicrobial use is important to the industry and its stakeholders. There are good practices currently being utilized by producers to ensure responsible use. Further training would be beneficial to drive continuous improvement.

Room for improvement exists with respect to the adoption of management practices associated with AMU, including further reduction of stressors and increased access to veterinarians in some
regions.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Build shared understanding for the importance of balanced health for people, animals and the environment in regard to antimicrobial use in beef cattle.
2. Promote the importance of veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) regarding responsible antimicrobial use.
3. Support understanding of the importance of antimicrobials as a proven science-based tool in the beef industry to ensure animal care.

ECONOMIC GOALS AND ACTIONS

The economic performance underlies all aspects, and is critical to the success of any food system. The economic sustainability of the Canadian beef industry has undergone many supply and demand shocks over the past few years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread severe drought in 2021.

The following economic goals and actions will continue to the viability and resilience of the Canadian beef industry.

Goal

Increase the financial viability of beef production in Canada.

Strategic Actions 

The resilience and ability to shift according to market conditions has resulted in increased off-farm income and a growing feedlot sector despite high feed prices. However, inflationary pressures have increased the cost of inputs faster than cost of outputs.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Support increasing producer financial literacy and viability.
2. Encourage financial incentives for beef producers related to ecosystems goods and services provided by the beef industry.
3. Support innovation, research, refinement and commercialization of technologies throughout the supply chain that support economic viability and worker conditions.

Goal

Increase demand for Canadian beef by building awareness and trust in sustainable beef production in Canada. 

Strategic Actions 

Consumer demand here in Canada and globally for protein remains strong, with a preference for high quality beef.

Key actions for the CRSB and its members include:

1. Support increased capacity of the beef supply chain to respond to market demands.
2. Support responsible communication of production practices that are of interest and concern to consumers.
3. Promote knowledge transfer and acceptance of sustainable and safe beef production technologies by producers, customers, and policymakers, in both domestic and international markets.

Research Gaps and Priorities

Set by the CRSB’s Scientific Advisory Committee, research priorities identify research and data gaps to improve on the robustness of the National Beef Sustainability Assessment. Collaborations and research and investments  to address these gaps in preparation for the next Assessment will be critical to continuous improvements.