Beef Industry Leads the Way in Sustainability

By Hugh Christie on
19 April 2023

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF), launched in 2017, is a world-leading initiative that aims to set a path for best practices in the beef industry.

The framework has identified critical indicators to measure the industry's progress toward a sustainable future, focusing on four key themes: Best Animal Care, Economic Resilience, Environmental Stewardship, and People and the Community. These themes have been developed and identified by the industry itself, and the ABSF currently tracks 53 indicators across 24 priority issues that are grouped under the key themes.

One of the framework's significant features is that it has been developed by the industry after years of consultation and aligns with the UN Sustainability Development Goals. It provides a better understanding of modern farming practices, including provenance, production systems, and a vision for the future, which is essential given consumers' expectations.

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The world is progressing toward a sustainable future, and the competing priorities in achieving this are evident. On the one hand, the beef industry is being asked to feed a growing population, which leads to intensive agricultural operations. On the other hand, the Australian government, the red meat industry, and many corporates and industry groups have made commitments to bring down emissions in the red meat industry. The government has legislated a 43% reduction and net-zero emissions by 2050, while the Australian Red Meat Industry has committed to being carbon neutral by 2030.

Farmers are making great progress toward being net-zero in greenhouse gas emissions. For example, emissions have fallen by 59.1% since 2005, with continued improvements across farms, feedlots, and processors. Additionally, the industry has reduced water usage in beef production, with 68% less water required to produce a kilogram of beef than 30 years ago.

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The supply chains must also contribute to decarbonisation outside of the farm gate. It is crucial that the entire industry responds to consumers' demands for sustainability, ensuring there is enough produce to feed the world and our nation. The ABSF is now seeking supply chain input through a new survey, which can be found on the ABSF website and closes on April 5.

The ABSF, Sheep Sustainability Framework and Diary Sustainability Frameworks are excellent examples of farming sector’s approach to sustainability and is certainly one of many we’re hearing from you the members.

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If you have something similar on your mind or just want to tell us your views and ideas, we encourage members to visit us at AGFEST site 604 - Sixth Street this year. AGFEST is returning bigger and better than ever, with the event returning to the first week of May for three days from the 4th to the 6th. We will have a range of exhibitors on site, including Aurora, Telstra, WFI, Red Hot Tips, Animal Health Australia, PET (Primary Employers Tasmania), and Madec Employment.

Most importantly, we will have a dedicated space where members can come down and chat with us around the ‘kitchen table’. We encourage you to mark the date in your diary and grab your tickets if you haven't already done so. The sustainability issue is just one of many that we are hearing about from members, and we want to ensure that the entire industry is leading the conversation to get the best outcomes for Tasmanian farmers.

We provide a united voice

As the largest advocacy group in Tasmania and the only one that focuses exclusively on farming and the rural sector, the future of Tasmanian agriculture is our focus.

Join the TFGA today for a greater future.

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Kellie Morris