OSI’s Commitment to Industry Roundtables is Key to Achieving Far-Reaching Sustainability Goals
July 9, 2020
At OSI, we value the partnerships within our industry and supply chain, and with our customers and people in our communities. These relationships are important not just for our business, but also for our sustainability goals. We believe that we find the best solutions to difficult challenges through partnership and working together with others in our industry to make longer-lasting impacts on our goals. That is why OSI is a founding member of and participates in various industry roundtables around the world.
Roundtables are an optimal way to accomplish sustainability goals in our supply chain when bringing together parties with differing opinions, and result in both tested and proven outcomes. OSI’s commitment to industry roundtables provides the company with a number of ways to understand risks and address challenges in our supply chain that might occur outside of our company operations. Through these roundtables, OSI can hear the representative voices of all our stakeholders and share best practices and industry insights on sustainability priority topics. We are also able to partner with academic experts and industry leaders to advance sustainability innovations for our supply chain and train others on best practices.
Because we believe that sustainability is precompetitive, these roundtables also allow us to collectively tackle issues that do not meet our ethical responsibilities. They also ensure all players within our supply chain and industry are coordinated by defining the criteria used to represent industry sustainability objectives, as well as support each other in meeting sustainability commitments. It is one of the best ways we have to join with industry leaders to advance sustainable agriculture across our many sourcing regions. All of these activities help OSI and our partners hold ourselves accountable to an agreed standard for sustainable practices in manufacturing and supply chain responsibility.
The roundtables in which OSI is involved go well beyond industry groups, which are primarily established to keep track of trends. These roundtables allow for the convening of partners and, in many instances, critics to ensure we are addressing the challenges within our industry and looking for opportunities to communicate with and learn from each other. These roundtables also include all industry stakeholders, especially producers, which means that while sustainability initiatives begin on the farm, each member of the value chain is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of their own processes.
OSI’S HISTORY IN INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLES
OSI continues to work and seek out opportunities in sustainability to bring more members of our industry together in these non-competitive and established programs with standard criteria. Protein supply chains are complex systems with a wide variety of producers and practices that differ across each country and region. For this reason, we harness our partnering mindset and look for ways to work collaboratively with our counterparts in the industry in order to communicate effectively with our stakeholders and contribute to meaningful change.
OSI participates in dozens of industry roundtables and is a founding member and dedicated supporter of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), and the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS).
OSI also works hard to lend our expertise and leadership to the work of the roundtables. OSI’s Chief Sustainability Officer Nicole Johnson-Hoffman served two consecutive terms as president of the GRSB. Michael McCarthy, OSI’s global head of beef and Pork, is now serving in our GRSB board position. Claire Donoghue, OSI’s European sustainability director sits on the ERBS and chairs their Technical Working Group.
The Technical Working Group is responsible for overseeing the different country platforms that comprise the ERBS and establishing recognized sustainability programs that are benchmarked to ERBS targets in each European country. As part of the country specific recognition process, the Technical Working Group is establishing country-level baselines to report progress as well as manage work plans to deliver volumes of sustainably sourced beef.
REGIONAL ROUNDTABLES SEEK TO TACKLE GLOBAL CHALLENGES WITH LOCAL SOLUTIONS
As a global company, it is important for OSI to participate in both global and regional roundtables alike. While the GRSB can help the industry set standards and share best practices across borders, the regional roundtables ensure that local regulations and animal management practices are taken into consideration when devising strategies and implementing tactics to tackle sustainability challenges. What might work in the United States might not be feasible in Europe. Even throughout Europe, there are production differences from country to country that we need to consider, so the ERBS relies on country level platforms to provide their specific guidance in line with the regional roundtable.
Within Europe, OSI has been involved as founding members of the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) since its establishment as a regional GRSB-aligned roundtable. Within the GRSB’s network of regional roundtables, the ERBS has uniquely established target metrics and ambitious industry goals. OSI has used these targets to structure its farmer engagement and sustainable sourcing programs in each of the ERBS country platforms where it operates, sources and carries out project work.
In the ERBS, each country’s platform is structured to best suit individual production practices and leverage existing sustainability schemes or farm assurance programs. OSI is proud to be a driving force in the ERBS goal of establishing a recognition process for ongoing and emerging sustainability programs across each European country. From these positions of influence, we are leading or directly supporting the country-level platforms in Germany, Poland, the UK and Ireland.
This continued participation puts OSI in a strong position to share key learnings from our vast network of operations around the world, as we leverage our country-specific understanding and global spread to make strong peer-to-peer connections throughout the industry and also be at the forefront of learning and improvement in our own operations.
SOLVING THE GREATEST SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES OF OUR GENERATION TOGETHER
This kind of involvement also allows OSI to maintain communication with partners and competitors to tackle challenges and discuss recommendations made by industry working groups, such as those that aim to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and other sustainability goals.
We know that each member of the supply chain may be working toward the same goal and many times have experienced a similar challenge to others. Solving problems together can result in achieving significant impacts. This is where together, we can go far as an industry to solve some of the greatest sustainability challenges of our generation.