***This interview is an extract from the SAI Platform Annual Report 2021. To read the full interview, go to the Annual Report 2021.***
Claire Donoghue is Co-Chair of the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) and Operations Director and Head of Sustainability at OSI.
How has your second year as co-chair of the ERBS been different from the first, Claire?
We’re very much moving towards practical action and beyond development and planning. My first year focused on ensuring that platforms were aligned with the ERBS as a whole so we spent a lot of time on agreeing and setting targets and designing reports from countries on their progress. This year we’ve started using the reports to assess our progress and from there determine next steps.
How’s that impacted on what you do?
It’s more about disseminating information and practical implementation. We’ve really transitioned to the stage where we listen to, and understand Platforms’ needs and come up with practical solutions to help them hit their targets. We’re helping Platforms within countries to interact with farmers, the wider community and other ERBS members to share insights and lessons learned from all of our work.
What kind of lessons have been learned?
The willingness to work together in a collaborative way for the beef industry as a whole has struck me. For example, Platforms such as Ireland and France that have well-established programmes are sharing their methodologies with countries like Poland who are starting out. This is a huge saving in terms of resources and will enable those Platforms who are further behind to progress at a quicker rate. It also means we are well positioned to welcome new Platforms to the Roundtable, which is a goal for us for 2022.
What have been your biggest challenges in 2021?
It was COVID-19 again which created a second year of challenges. I’m very much looking forward to getting back out to farms and seeing real-life examples of some of the practices we’ve put in place.
How has the relationship with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) developed?
The GRSB has progressed well with their strategy and direction and spent a lot of 2021 devising their own targets. We were heavily involved in each of the groups assessing these targets. It’s great that the GRSB and the ERBS are moving in the same direction and addressing opportunities and challenges that are common to the beef industry globally. Despite a myriad of different production systems and different challenges, there is also a lot of common ground for us to work on together.
Looking to 2022. What do you hope the ERBS is going to do?
This year Rozanne Davis joined as ERBS Director, and she has been amazing. We have ambitious and exciting plans for 2022. Building on what I said earlier, we really want to demonstrate and communicate the benefits of the ERBS to members. This involves sharing examples of practices with them and exploring member-funded research to help us all hit targets.
What is the mood of members?
It’s positive. There are a lot of companies making bold statements and setting ambitious goals around carbon targets. This increased focus on sustainability and the claims that companies are making has mobilised the group and added momentum to our mission.
It’s SAI Platform’s 20th anniversary next year. What do you think we have achieved in the past 20 years?
SAI Platform can be proud of what it has achieved within a relatively short time span. In the beginning, meeting the needs of different industries such as beef was challenging. The fact that SAI Platform could embrace that challenge and work in different ways, in different areas to shape the sustainability agenda really shows their expertise and knowledge, and consequent value for members.
This interview is an extract from the SAI Platform Annual Report 2021. To read the full interview, go to the Annual Report 2021.