A better alternativeThe environmental degradation caused by poorly managed cattle production is well documented. But we also know that beef production—when sustainably managed—can benefit our environment.
For example, grazing can maintain the health of grasslands, and improve soil quality with manure. Beef production also provides social benefits, such as poverty alleviation and the promotion of community vibrancy.
► From soil compaction to loss of forests, read about the environmental issues related to beef production
Our approachWWF envisions a world where all beef is grown in a way that is environmentally sustainable. By working with producers as well as companies and their supply chains to improve the sustainability of beef production, WWF is helping ensure that consumers have choices for a safe, affordable and sustainable diet.
Established in 2010 with support of WWF, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) brings together the biggest players in the industry to advance continous improvements in sustainability of the global beef supply through leadership, science and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration.
ProgressThe Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef was recently created.
Better Production for a Living Planet
Beef production isn’t going to decline. So we urgently need to improve how production takes places and how we use land.
CASE STUDY: Dealing with the effects of overgrazing
Supported by WWF-Brazil and Embrapa Beef Cattle (part of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture), rancher Thimoteo Lobreiro is tackling soil erosion and make his business more sustainable.
At his farm in the Cerrado, Thimoteo grows microorganisms which, when sprayed on to fields, restore soil fertility. He also gives his grass a break and the chance to regenerate by regularly rotating cattle.
As a result, Thimoteo doesn’t have to spend so much on chemical fertilizer, weed killer, expensive seeds and cattle feed. So, while his productivity is higher, his costs are around 40% lower than on conventional ranches. His meat also tastes better.
And healthier soil means insects and birds are flourishing too.
- Habitat conversion;
- Overgrazing – decreased plant biodiversity, low residual plant cover and soil erosion;
- Greenhouse gas emissions;
- Water and air pollution; Impacts from feed production (grass versus grain-fed);
- Indigenous livelihoods tied to beef production.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions;
- Improved food safety and nutrition.
Be part of the solution
► Eat smart – if you buy beef, buy sustainably-produced beef and let your retailer know that you prefer sustainably-produced beef. This will help catalyse action, inform the process and contribute to the development and uptake of standards and certification.