Upon unanimous vote by the board of directors of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, was elected as the 2016 president of the global organization. Also voted in to GRSB leadership positions were Carlos Saviani, World Wildlife Fund, elected as vice president, and Cameron Bruett, JBS, elected as an Executive Committee member-at-large.
Laycraft, a well-known spokesman for the beef cattle industry in Canada, has extensive experience in the areas of trade, product safety and animal disease issues. He has been active on both the national and international levels, addressing issues impacting Canada’s beef producers for several years.
“The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has well established itself as the global meeting area for discussions on defining and identifying sustainable beef production. Given this accomplishment, the GRSB is moving forward into a new era, and the development of a strategic plan is needed going forward,” said Laycraft. “Supporting the establishment of new national or regional roundtables and initiatives, as well as helping coordinate and connect an international sustainability research strategy are roles that I feel the GRSB is well suited to take on.”
Forrest Roberts, former CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in the U.S. and current GRSB president, indicated his support of Laycraft being elected to lead the organization in the coming year. “GRSB has made tremendous progress since its founding in 2012, and Dennis will help to continue the organization’s success,” said Roberts. “Building on GRSB’s definition of sustainable beef adopted a year ago, there is momentum among the regional roundtables in Brazil, Canada, and the U.S. to do the hard work of developing indicators and metrics to measure sustainability in the beef value chain and GRSB will need to be engaged in order to provide any needed guidance.”
At its 2014 Global Conference in São Paulo, Brazil, GRSB members adopted a set of principles and criteria necessary to define sustainable beef production on a global scale. Given the complexity and vast differences in beef industries throughout the world, GRSB intentionally did not put forth specific indicators and means of verification, as those are best developed by the various beef-producing regions. (GRSB’s Principles and Criteria for Defining Global Sustainable Beef are available at www.GRSBeef.org.)
According the Ruaraidh (Rory) Petre, GRSB’s executive director, the regional roundtables are working toward establishing the needed benchmarks. “The Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) has made significant progress on determining indicators in its region and is currently accepting public comments on its Indicators Guidebook for Sustainable Livestock. Robust work is also being done by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef as well as the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.”
GRSB’s 2016 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef is scheduled to be held in Laycraft’s home country. “We are excited to be hosting the Global Conference in Alberta, Canada in the coming year,” said Laycraft. “This major event will allow Canada to showcase the work it is doing in making beef more sustainable in our region, as well as providing a stage upon which the global beef value chain can share work toward sustainability.”
Laycraft will take the reins of GRSB on January 1, 2016.