JBS Australia’s new Great Southern Farm Assurance sustainability framework is expected to boost the credentials of the company’s certified grass-fed lamb and beef program in the United Kingdom market.
The company launched the sustainability framework today in response to evolving consumer expectations.
A Great Southern lamb and cattle producer advisory committee helped develop the sustainability framework to ensure their on-farm practices meet the evolving expectations of customers and consumers, the company said.
The company said the Great Southern Farm Assurance Program brings together about 4000 beef and lamb producers from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia to capture the responsible practices they use on-farm and develop ways to promote them directly to customers.
JBS Global UK managing director Nick Sherwood, said the inclusion of the Great Southern Farm Assurance sustainability framework will be well suited to the UK market following agreement to an in-principle Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement.
“As the UK FTA comes into force and with the increased focus on sustainability and carbon reduction in agriculture, this sustainability framework boosts Great Southern Beef and Lamb’s credentials in the UK market,” Mr Sherwood said.
JBS southern division chief operating officer Sam McConnell said the company is committed to sustainability today for the future.
“So it is critical that we continue to evolve our on-farm standards to align with our customers’ expectations.
“The new Great Southern sustainability framework is aligned with the broader JBS sustainability program and our stakeholder’s ESG commitments,” he said.
The sustainability framework was developed in conjunction with Producers and customers:
JBS Southern’s farm assurance and supply chain manager Mark Inglis said farmers have been valuing the environment and animal wellbeing, on farm, for decades.
“This sustainability framework is about capturing those practices in a formalised way to communicate their outcomes.”
The farm assurance sustainability component comprises seven pillars, with each pillar contributing to the sustainable future of the Great Southern Program. Producer data is measured and recorded via third-party auditors.
“This will allow us to benchmark the overall program using a simple sustainability index to explain both to customers and producers where the Great Southern Program sits in regard to these pillar outcomes,” Mr Inglis said.
“It will give us a starting point that will allow us to work from into the future.”
The seven pillars are:
Soils: Understanding soils and the importance of a healthy balance
Pastures: Matching the right mix of pastures to the environment they are grown in
Vegetation: Protect soil coverage, assist in maintain healthy waterways, and recognise current and past efforts
Water: Ensuring the use of quality water and managing the water usage for maintaining stock health and maximising animal and plant production
Livestock: Ensuring the wellbeing of our livestock is of paramount importance
People: Providing a healthy and safe workplace environment for employees, families and owners
Carbon management: Assessing the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the Great Southern value chain to enable a working baseline for improvement. Achieve a net zero position for Great Southern Farm Assurance in line with the global JBS net-zero GHG emissions by 2040 target.
The Great Southern program also has a commitment to plant one million trees to offset greenhouse gas emissions produced by its value chain.
“We will be planting native trees and native shrubs on JBS-owned properties and assisting our Producers across southern Australia in planting the trees on their properties,” Mr McConnell said.
“Where there is need for additional carbon offsetting, this will take place in Australia for Australia. We will not offset our carbon overseas.”
The farm assurance program also announced the development of a new certification logo that will be used on all lamb and beef products produced under the Program.
“The Farm Assurance Program pledges to customers that their grass-fed beef and lamb has met rigorous quality and sustainability standards.
“When customers see products come into their restaurant or store with a farm assurance logo, they will know Producers have ticked all the boxes – from animal welfare to responsible water use,” Mr Inglis said.