About the Framework

What is the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework?

The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework provides a tool to certify farms, ranches and processing facilities against sustainability standards, enabling retail and foodservice companies to meet sustainable sourcing commitments, and consumers to purchase beef from certified operations. 

The multi-stakeholder membership of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef developed the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework with the mission of driving the advancement and recognition of beef sustainability in Canada through a world class operation–level certification program.

The Framework supports producers and processors in demonstrating the sustainability of their operations while at the same time assisting the retail and food service industry in their sustainable beef sourcing efforts. The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework also provides guidelines for credible and transparent messaging for communication with consumers via marketing and product labels.

About the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework



The purpose of the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework is multi-faceted.

  1. Consumer interest in supporting sustainable food systems is growing
  2. The agriculture supply chain is interested in sharing scientifically robust information with an increasingly removed consumer
  3. Retail and food service companies are grappling with balancing the needs of various stakeholders

At the same time, NGO’s are keenly interested in supporting sustainable agriculture systems and ensuring high standards of animal care are being attained.

Given these numerous factors, the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework was developed with multiple purposes in mind:

  • Advancing beef sustainability in Canada
  • Recognizing leadership and best practice within the industry
  • Ensuring a consistent, robust and meaningful definition of sustainable production in Canada
  • Avoiding duplication of efforts to define and verify sustainable operations
  • Supporting supply chains interested in making meaningful sustainable sourcing commitments and subsequent communications
  • Enabling consumers to purchase sustainably sourced product, and 
  • Supporting the understanding of sustainable beef production in Canada 



Implementation of the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework is guided by the following principles:


CSB credible icon Credible to all stakeholders securing trust through robust assurances, transparency, inclusivity and vigorous scientific review
 CSC effective icon Effective in driving the advancement and understanding of sustainable beef production
 CSB economically viable icon  Economically viable for the CRSB to manage and stakeholders to use
 CSB valuabel icon  Valuable to industry participants and consumers
 CSB aligned icon Aligned with the Five Principles of Sustainable Beef as set by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

*Note there is no significance in the order of the principles

Wherever possible, the CRSB has followed the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling (ISEAL) Standard-Setting and Assurance Codes to ensure good practices are followed throughout the framework development process. The CRSB is currently a subscriber to ISEAL, which is an initial step to full membership commonly used by programs in their early development stages.


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Components of the Framework

The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework includes four main components:crsb indicators

  1. The Standards:
    1. Sustainable Beef Production Standard: the indicators that are audited on farms and ranches.
    2. Sustainable Beef Processing Standard: the indicators that are audited in beef processing facilities.
  2. Assurance Protocols: guidance and requirements for the certification process.
  3. Chain of Custody Requirements: technical and administrative requirements for tracking beef and claims about beef sourced from certified operations.
  4. Sustainability Claims: guidance on how to communicate about Certified Sustainable Beef.


Wondering how to get involved?

If you are a customer, farmer/rancher, processor, retail or food service, auditor or certification body you can get involved in the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework. Click on the links below to get started.


Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot project 

In October 2017, a pilot project was launched to help develop the processes and infrastructure required to implement the CRSB's standards and requirements for an audited supply chain.  Spearheaded by Cargill, in partnership with Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) and the Beef InfoXChange System (BIXS), with support from Loblaws, McDonalds, CARA (Swiss Chalet & Original Joe's), and most recently, Cactus Club Restaurants, the CBSA Pilot is encouraging industry participation, in part, by providing financial credits for producers who participate in the Pilot.  For more information, visit www.CBSApilot.ca.

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Public Consultation


Photo courtesy of Canada Beef Inc.

Development of the CRSB's Certified Sustainable Beef Framework was accomplished through extensive engagement of over 70 individuals on three multi-stakeholder committees representing CRSB's membership across the beef value chain.  In addition to the valuable feedback gathered through consultation with CRSB members, beef industry stakeholders and subject matter experts, four rounds of public consultation on the sustainability indicators helped guide development of the Sustainable Beef Production Standard and the Sustainable Beef Processing Standard. Over 250 comments were received during consultations.  The CRSB appreciates all those who took the time to review and comment.

Below you will find links to comments received during the public consultations, with commenter recommendations, and individual responses to each comment from CRSB.

Sustainability Indicators for Beef Production

Draft 1: Sustainability Indicators for Beef Production - 60-day comment period (February 9 - April 16, 2016)

Draft 2: Sustainability Indicators for Beef Production - 30-day comment period (February 28 - April 1, 2017) 

Sustainability Indicators for Beef Processing

Draft 1: Sustainability Indicators for Beef Processing - 60-day comment period (June 29 - August 29, 2017)

Draft 2: Sustainability Indicators for Beef Processing - 30-day comment period (October 5 - November 4, 2017)


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The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is an ISEAL subscriber. ISEAL subscribers are organisations and individuals who commit to the ISEAL mission to strengthen sustainability standards systems for the benefit of people and the environment, and confirm that none of their activities or the activities of their subsidiaries or parent companies run counter to the ISEAL mission or vision. There are no compliance requirements for ISEAL subscribers.