USRSB High-Priority Indicator Goals & Sector Targets

The USRSB is setting goals and sector-level targets for all six high-priority indicators: Air & greenhouse gas emissions, land resources, water resources, employee safety & well-being, animal health & well-being and efficiency & yield. While each high-priority indicator has its own goal and targets, these components of beef sustainability substantially overlap, often with clear synergies. For example, progress in improving land management will likely have concomitant benefits for reducing air and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing and/or maintain soil carbon stores, improving water infiltration and reducing nutrient runoff.


Across the diverse membership of the USRSB, we recognize we must continue to improve to leave a better future for the next generations. These goals and sector-level targets are a starting point of accelerating improvements; they are not the end point, rather they are a catalyst for the industry to innovate and demonstrate our collective ambition to improve outcomes.

high-priority indicators

Air & greenhouse gas emissions

Land resources

Water resources

Employee safety & well-being

Animal health & well-being

Efficiency & yield

usrsb_goals1

AIR & GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS 

The U.S. beef supply chain will achieve climate neutrality by 2040.

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Has a grazing management plan (or equivalent) been implemented that protects or improves soil and plant community health, including soil carbon sequestration? 

Sector target 

  • 385 million acres covered by a written grazing management plan by 2050.

Existing metric 

  • Are strategies in place to manage air and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? 

Sector target 

  • The feedyard sector will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% per pound of beef by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Are strategies in place to optimize energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions at company facility(ies)? 
  • LEVEL 2
    What is the company’s carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per head or CO2e per mass of finished product?
  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company make CO2e publicly available?
    Does the company track air and GHG emissions over time and set goals for continued improvement?
    Does the company participate in partnerships, initiatives or programs to further GHG reduction and improve air quality?

Sector target 

  • 90% of beef processed in the U.S. comes from companies with a GHG reduction strategy, are reporting against that strategy by 2025 and are delivering on their GHG reduction goal by 2030.
  • By 2030, all beef packers and processors will be taking tangible action to achieve an approved science-based target to reduce emissions in line with limiting global temperature increases to well below 2 or, ideally, 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Has the company assessed its scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions? 
  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company have a plan to reduce its scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions?
    Has the company assessed the scope 3 GHG emissions of its beef value chain?
    Does the company engage suppliers and encourage adoption of USRSB air and GHG metrics in its beef value chain?
  • LEVEL 3
    Is the company participating in a credible external system reporting for GHG emissions?
    Has the company set credible GHG emissions targets?
    Can the company demonstrate progress towards these targets?

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have set credible GHG reduction goals to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2023;
  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have set credible GHG reduction goals for their company to reduce scope 3 emissions and are publicly reporting progress by 2030; and
  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have a strategic plan in place by 2030 with concrete steps to achieve climate neutrality for the beef value chain by 2040 for scopes 1, 2 and 3.
usrsb_goals2

LAND RESOURCES

The U.S. beef supply chain will work to maintain and improve grazing lands under the care of U.S. beef producers. We will do this by:

  • Establishing a baseline for acres under grazing management plans (GMPs) by 2023; 
  • Achieving 385 million acres covered by a written GMP by 2050; and 
  • Supporting programs that respect property rights, create value and expand producer capacity to deploy well-managed grazing strategies to ensure lasting legacies founded on conservation and economic success

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Is a grazing management plan (or equivalent) being implemented to protect and/or improve the land resources, including succession/transition planning? 

Sector target 

  • 385 million acres will be covered by a written grazing management plan by 2050.

Existing metric 

  • Has a nutrient management strategy or plan been implemented? 

Sector target 

  • All feedyards are implementing nutrient management plans and practices by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • Does the company have initiatives and/or explore opportunities to mitigate land and biodiversity impacts from new facility developments? 

Sector target 

  • All facility construction, renovation or expansion projects will include a plan to mitigate impacts on natural resources by 2025.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Has the company assessed the deforestation risk in its beef supply chain? 

  • LEVEL 2
    Is the retail/foodservice company working with organizations to support U.S. farmers and ranchers in developing and implementing grazing management plans?
    Does the retailer have environmental and community engagement policies to mitigate land impacts from new site developments on greenfields over five acres?
    Does the company have a no net deforestation policy for its beef? 

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have assessed conversion risk in their U.S. supply chain, set science based goals and, by 2025, will implement a strategy to reduce conversion.

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies are working with organizations to support U.S. farmers and ranchers (e.g., technical assistance, financial assistance, etc.) in developing and implementing grazing management plans on 385 million acres by 2050.
usrsb_goals3

WATER RESOURCES

By 2050, the U.S. beef supply chain will improve water management strategies and improve water quality. We will do this by:

  • Benchmarking water use and quality by 2025; 
  • Improving retention and capture of nutrients for beneficial use; and 
  • Supporting feedstuffs growers to achieve their water sustainability goals

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Is a grazing management plan (or equivalent) being implemented that maintains or improves water resources? 

Sector target 

  • 385 million acres covered by a written grazing management plan by 2050.

Existing metric 

  • Are water resource management strategies implemented at the auction barn that address water management, water use optimization/conservation and water quality? 

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member organizations representing livestock markets that handle cattle have implemented a water management plan by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • Are water resource management strategies implemented at the feedyard that address water management, water use optimization and conservation and water quality? 

Sector target 

  • All feedyards are assessing water availability and implementing water conservation management practices by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Is a water resource management plan implemented at the facility? 

  • LEVEL 2
    How many wastewater permit non-compliances has the facility had in the previous calendar year?
    What is the water use in gallons/head/day (packers) or gallons/pound of beef processed (processors)?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company track discharge water quality over time?
    Does the company have set goals for continued improvement?
    Does the company make water performance efforts public?
    Does the company participate in partnerships, initiatives or programs to further advance water resource management?

Sector target 

  • All beef packers and processors have assessed water risk and impacts of their direct operations and assessed water risks in key sourcing regions by 2030; and

  • All beef packers and processors have implemented concrete steps (e.g., support technical or financial assistance, transparency efforts) to encourage adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework water metrics in the U.S. beef value chain by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Has the company assessed the water risk of its operations and locations? 
  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company have a plan for water resource and risk management, including both quantity and quality impacts?
    Has the company assessed the water risk of its direct beef suppliers?
    Does the company engage suppliers and encourage adoption of USRSB water resource metrics in its beef value chain?
  • LEVEL 3
    Is the company participating in a credible system for reporting water stewardship?
    Has the company set water targets based on its assessments?
    Can the company demonstrate progress towards these targets?
    Does the company track performance on water stewardship in its beef value chain?

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have assessed the water risk and impacts of both direct operations and of their beef suppliers by 2025 and are implementing improvement plans, tracking performance and publicly reporting progress of water stewardship across the company’s sourcing footprint by 2030; and
  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have implemented concrete steps (e.g., support technical or financial assistance, transparency efforts) to encourage adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework water metrics in the U.S. beef value chain by 2030.
usrsb_goals4

Employee Safety & Well-being

The U.S. beef supply chain is committed to continuously improving the safety, development and well-being of individuals working throughout the industry. We will do this by:

  • Reducing the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) by 50% by 2030 in relevant operations; and 
  • 10% year-over-year increase in individuals trained for stockmanship and safety through identified programs to reduce injuries on farms and ranches

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Are all individuals who are involved in the operation trained in stockmanship and safety and are they implementing these practices on the farm or ranch? 

Sector target 

  • 10% year-over-year increase in individuals trained for stockmanship and safety.

Existing metric 

  • Is an employee safety program in place? 

Sector target 

  • All livestock marketing businesses handling cattle represented by USRSB member organizations will have documented and implemented an employee safety plan by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • Are feedyard employees trained and is an employee safety program implemented at the feedyard? 

Sector target 

  • All feedyard employees will be trained in relevant safety protocols by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Does the company have a documented employee safety and well-being program that engages front-line employees and leadership?  

  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company track Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR)?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company track trends on TRIR and reference rates against the NAICS industry standard rate to set goals for the upcoming year?
    Does the company participate in partnerships, initiatives or programs to further advance employee safety and well-being?

Sector target 

  • All companies have a robust employee safety program by 2023.

  • Sector reduction in TRIR by 50% by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Does the company have clearly documented policies and procedures around employee workplace safety and training programs?
    Does the company require training on food safety and handling techniques for beef? 
  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company have a supplier code of conduct (or equivalent) that includes employee health and safety policies and have a system for tracking compliance of its beef suppliers?
  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company track the number of direct company employees (not value chain) completing safety and training programs?

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have employee workplace and food safety training in place by 2023.
  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have a public code of conduct (or equivalent) that includes employee health and safety policies and have a system for tracking compliance of their own operations and their U.S. beef suppliers by 2023.
usrsb_goals5

ANIMAL HEALTH & WELL-BEING

The U.S. beef supply chain will continue to improve animal health and well-being. We will do this by:

  • Strengthening our commitment to the highest standards of animal care; and
  • Achieving sector-relevant targets linked to optimal animal care through increased participation in trainings, certification programs and implementation of policies

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Has the operation adopted Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) or similar program principles into management of the farm or ranch? 

Sector target 

  • Increase the number of individuals trained and certified in BQA or equivalent by 10% year-over-year.

Existing metric 

  • Are employees trained and auction-specific Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) principles being implemented at the auction market? 

Sector target 

  • All cattle handling employees of livestock marketing businesses represented by USRSB member organizations are trained through BQA or Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • Are feedyard employees trained in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) principles and are these principles implemented at the feedyard?

Sector target 

  • All feedyard employees in a livestock handling role are trained and certified in BQA principles by 2030.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Packer: Does the company have a comprehensive animal welfare program including third-party verification?
    Processor: Does the company have a documented animal welfare policy (or equivalent) and encourage the adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework’s animal health and well-being metrics? 

  • LEVEL 2
    Packer: What was your company’s total number of USDA non-compliance animal welfare violations per 100,000 head processed in the previous calendar year?
    Packer: What percentage of cattle come under a third-party audit? What percentage pass on first audit?
    Processor: Does the company use second-or-third party animal welfare audits, such as the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI)Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide, to verify policy compliance to at least the packer level?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company track animal health and well-being over time and set goals for continued improvement?
    Does the company engage its suppliers or participate in partnerships, initiatives or programs and/or engage its suppliers to advance continuous improvement regarding animal health and well-being in the beef value chain?

Sector target 

  • By 2025, all beef packers who handle animals will pass third-party animal transport and handling audits and all packers and processors will require all suppliers to implement mandatory employee training and follow BQA standards for animal care./li>

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Does the company have a documented and publicly available animal care and handling policy?
    Does the company encourage the adoption of USRSB metrics in its beef value chain? 

  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company verify compliance with its policy at least to the packer level?
    Does the company have a policy for audit failures?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company engage its suppliers on continuous improvement and emerging issues regarding animal health and wellbeing in its beef supply chain?
    Does the company track and assess progress on animal health and well-being outcomes that align with its policy?

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have a publicly available animal care and well-being policy by 2023.

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have implemented concrete steps to encourage the adoption of U.S. Beef Industry Framework metrics and measuring progress against metrics by 2025.
usrsb_goals6

Efficiency & Yield

The U.S. beef supply chain will improve efficiencies, enhance product value and increase demand, which collectively will enable operations and businesses to maintain and improve individual and community financial health.

Sector targets

Existing metric 

  • Is there a strategy implemented to optimize animal productivity through improved nutrition, reproduction, genetics, technologies and practices? 

Sector target 

  • Develop a cow-calf financial health index and set sector targets for improvement by 2025.

Existing metric 

  • Are cattle performance and operational efficiency tracked over time for this facility? 

Sector target 

  • Continue to enhance cattle performance and feedyard efficiency.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Is a program to divert waste from landfills implemented at the facility? 

  • LEVEL 2
    How much mass of waste/head or waste/mass of finished product does the company divert from landfill?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company track waste reduction over time and set goals for continued improvement?
    Does the company participate in partnerships, initiatives or programs to further advance waste reduction strategies?

Sector target 

  • All beef packers and processors are delivering on a public-facing food waste reduction goal by 2030.

  • By 2030, all beef packers and processors have implemented a zero waste to landfill diversion program and goal that is audited by an accredited third party to a published standard.

Existing metric 

  • LEVEL 1
    Has the company assessed food waste in its own operations? 

  • LEVEL 2
    Does the company have programs focused on reducing food waste in its operations, including beef waste?
    Does the company have policies that encourage adoption of the Framework’s metrics and enable suppliers to find alternative uses for safe, wholesome surplus products (beef, in particular)?

  • LEVEL 3
    Does the company set targets and track performance of its food waste reduction programs, including beef?
    Does the company engage its direct suppliers and track performance on food waste reduction in its beef value chain?

Sector target 

  • All USRSB member retail and foodservice companies have assessed food waste and have set a target to reduce food waste by 2023 and are reporting progress publicly by 2025.

sustainability resources

Want to explore more resources to implement sustainability practices at your business? The USRSB offers a variety of free resources to help you to identify areas where you excel and offer solutions in the areas which need improvement.

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