ANALYSIS - Kim Stackhouse, NCBA Director of Sustainability Research, explains how the NCBA Lifecycle Assessment Study shows that sustainability of US beef production has improved 5 per cent when looking at all three pillars - economics, social and environmental.
The beef industry was the first food system to benchmark its current status in a holistic manner that encompasses all three aspects of sustainability. The research included an evaluation of thousands of data points to quantify the industry’s progress since 2005. Now, the beef industry can for the first time provide science-based answers to questions about its sustainability and how to improve.
“This comprehensive analysis will provide a roadmap for the journey toward a more sustainable beef industry,” said NCBA Director of Sustainability Kim Stackhouse. “The US beef industry is one of the most complex biological, economic and social supply chains in the world. As such, measuring these complex, interrelated systems is difficult but critically important to the future stability and profitability of the industry.”
For the beef industry, sustainability has been defined as the process of meeting beef demand by balancing environmental responsibility, economic opportunity and social diligence throughout the supply chain, said Stackhouse.
“By ensuring that these three pillars of beef production are balanced, the industry will be well positioned to continue future growth,” she said.
According to Stackhouse, the beef industry has made significant improvement toward a more sustainable future over time. Despite the current rate of progress, the beef industry’s path toward continuous progress is never-ending.
“Sustainability is a journey and there’s really no end-point to this work,” she explained. “We can always be more sustainable than we are today. That’s what we’re working toward, that continuous improvement that will make us better over time.”
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