Interim Progress Report

National Beef Sustainability Strategy

Leadership through CollaborationNBS ExecutiveSummary FINAL Page 1

An update on the Canadian National Beef Sustainability Strategy


In 2016, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) published its first-ever National Beef Sustainability Assessment, benchmarking the overall performance of the Canadian beef industry from environmental, social and economic perspectives.

A National Beef Sustainability Strategy accompanied the assessment and was the first step in developing a comprehensive approach to advancing initiatives that will further enhance the sustainability of the Canadian beef industry. This interim report shows substantial progress has been made in building a stronger and more united beef sustainability community and increasing public awareness of sustainable beef production. The CRSB believes it is important to communicate the progress and impact that has been made, and identify areas that need attention. This will help us meet the goals set out in the 2016 strategy by 2023, when the next comprehensive National Beef Sustainability Assessment is expected.

Together with our members and stakeholders, we are pleased to report that 86% of the environmental, 75% of the social and 83% of the economic action items in the strategy have been completed, or are in progress.

“We are extremely proud of the work that our multi-stakeholder membership and industry stakeholders have accomplished together over the past three years, and demonstrates the value of collaboration in achieving our continuous improvement goals. These achievements have established Canada as a global leader in beef sustainability, and we look forward to continuing to work together to build trust and transparency about practices that enhance the environmental, social and economic sustainability of beef production in Canada.”

Anne Wasko, Chair of the CRSB and rancher from Eastend SK

The implementation of these Sustainability Strategy action items will advance the journey of sustainability within the Canadian beef industry.

Summary & Report

Below you will find an Executive Summary of the Interim Report, a full report of progress (as of January 2020) made since 2016 and opportunities to focus efforts on outstanding actions items in the Sustainability Strategy.

Some of those outstanding items include:

  • Developing a key performance indicator for riparian health;
  • Reducing food waste at the consumer level
    • improving product packaging to extend product life and reduce waste
    • enable label messaging to improve understanding of of best before/use by dates to reduce waste
  • Improving the income of downstream value chain participants;
  • Promoting culture of diversity, inclusion and transparency;
  • Promoting the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle within the producer community;
  • Regulatory changes related to branding requirements on exported animals;
  • Communicating the role of technology and innovation in relation to beef sustainability; and
  • Addressing consumer concerns about beef production in Canada and its impact on the environment


Executive Summary

Full Report

What our Members are saying...

“Beef raised in Canada is done using the best practices in the world and Ducks Unlimited Canada recognizes the role ranchers play in sustainable agriculture every day. We will continue to support and work with the CRSB and others in the Canadian beef industry to emphasize the importance of having cattle on the landscape for the betterment of our wildlife, our water, our grasslands and our overall environment.”

~ Emily Lowe, Regional Agrologist – Beef Industry, Ducks Unlimited Canada


“Since 2016, baseline inventories have been completed [in Alberta] with a total of 24 ranches and grazing associations covering 189,000 acres, and 32 habitat enhancements have been implemented as part of their Habitat Conservation Strategies. These projects are producer-driven and highlight the benefits of collaborative stewardship programs building on local knowledge and the positive impacts they can have for biodiversity and wildlife habitat.”

~ Brad Downey, Sr. Biologist – Alberta Conservation Association


“As a certification body for the CRSB, Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) verifies animal care practices of Canadian beef producers through multiple methods.  These uphold the intent of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, and were developed using National Farm Animal Care Council’s Animal Care Assessment Framework. Through our verification of animal care practices, VBP+ is helping both Canadian beef producers and our retail and foodservice partners maintain consumer trust in beef production.”

~ Shannon Argent, Business Manager – Verified Beef Production Plus


“At Harmony Beef, we had the privilege to design a world leading beef plant from scratch and to assemble a unique supply chain with local suppliers and partners. We embedded CRSB standards, research and best practices into our design, resulting in outcomes that have been inspiring and empowering to our employees.  We emphasize high quality employee contributions, regardless of origin or background - our employees represent 47 different nationalities, roughly one quarter of the countries in the world. Our inclusive approach founded on the highest ethical standards results in a collaborative devotion to excellence from an enthusiastic team brimming with ideas.  We continually strive for ever-higher standards of sustainability, safety and responsibility.”

~ Cam Daniels, Harmony Beef Ltd.


“The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) invests in research projects to provide scientific evidence to support the utilization and continued improvement of certain technologies or production practices.  Some projects currently underway include evaluating the economic and environmental impacts associated with certain technologies. These projects will assist in communicating how technology contributes to changes in land, water, feed use and what the associated cost : benefits are to industry and the environment. It is critical that technologies can be used safely to support producer viability.”

~ Andrea Brocklebank, Executive Director – Beef Cattle Research Council


We invite you to download and share these in your social channels or in your own stakeholder communications (click on each one to download). 

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If you are working on any projects or have data that would help to fill the identified gaps, please reach out to us at