The results of a pilot programme conducted by NZRSB and delivered at a field day on Rangitikei Station last week are proof NZ can do it, Bunting said.
The NZRSB, formed late last year, is about beef industry stakeholders from across the supply chain working to position NZ as a leading producer of beef that is safe and produced in a way that is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.
“We need to ensure we not only keep up with other countries, we want to be world leaders,” Bunting said.
As part of the process, the Roundtable has defined standards for NZ and identified the metrics for achieving the standards in practice.
This has seen six farming operations put to the test to push the boundaries of the NZ farm assurance programme (FAP) in the verified sustainable beef pilot.
“With the market pressures as such, we need to demonstrate awareness of sustainable practice,” Bunting said.
“Using the FAP as a basis to work from, we developed and have now tested FAP Plus (FAP+) and we have proven we can do it.
“We have got ratification from the producer base that this NZFAP+ standard for sustainable beef is viable.”
Bunting says the six on-farm practical pilot programmes were deemed necessary before moving forward.
“We needed the practical proof that what we had identified in theory could work in practice,” he said.
“If we were just marking the conclusion with a report and a video then we had failed.”
The pilot programme was a 50:50 funded venture between industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries under the auspices of Roundtable founding members Anzco Foods, Silver Fern Farms, Greenlea Premier Meats, Fonterra, McDonald’s, Beef + Lamb NZ, AgResearch and World Wildlife Fund for nature and farmers.
Any stakeholder in the supply chain can join the Roundtable with Alliance Group being one of the more recent.
KPMG and Rabobank are also supporting the work of the Roundtable.
“We have some pretty hefty companies trusting us with what we plan to achieve,” he said.
Bunting says the Roundtable is not about duplicating work that industry is already doing.
“We picked up what Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has been doing and moved it up a step to NZFAP+,” he said.
“Our ultimate goal is to create a Verified Mark, not just specified to farm, but from farm to processor to manufacturer to use in the market to underpin a brand.”
As an example, beef and lamb could align its Taste Pure brand as more than marketing it compliant from the farm, but right through the chain from farm to processing plant to manufacturing.
The pilot focused on working with McDonald’s for its Big Mac patty.
“We have proven that we have a collective here that will all line up to demonstrate the sustainable value of beef no matter who the producer, processor or manufacturer,” he said.
“We have a product that ends up in the market with one mark and one of few such marks that exist on the global scene.
“This is the benefit of collaboration, no processor sat there and tried to claim they own this, there’s no external competition with the whole supply chain working for the same common goal.”
Step two will involve producing a strategic plan to articulate the value proposition with a three-year plan and budget.