An initiative led by   

It pays to be sustainable.

Cargill’s certified sustainable beef program is an effort to implement the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s Certified Sustainable Beef (CSB) Framework in our Canadian supply chain. The initiative enables Cargill’s retail and foodservice customers to source certified sustainable Canadian beef and market beef products to Canadians with an on-product CSB logo and claim. It also helps tell Canadian consumers the real story about our industry’s sustainability efforts. The initiative has helped Canada become the first country to deliver beef from certified sustainable sources, establishing Canadian beef as synonymous with sustainability in the global market.

By participating, beef producers will make a monumental, long-term investment in our industry. This collaborative effort will help strengthen consumer trust in our products and promote the vitality of our industry – and producers could earn financial credits along the way. As consumers grow more discerning about where their food comes from, it’s our responsibility to alleviate their concerns. Join us in our efforts to do right by our consumers, our livestock, our planet and future generations.

Consumers want transparency.

Canadians are concerned with the humane treatment of farm animals and the wellbeing of the environment. And transparency is a fast approach to solving their concerns.

Beef ranchers and farmers' dedication to responsible practices is admirable, and we need to reflect that in the information we share with consumers. Cargill’s certified sustainable beef program helps us tell the producer's story in a way that builds trust in the Canadian beef industry.

Communicating sustainability to consumers.

Establishing a certified sustainable supply chain enables consumer-facing sustainability claims, both in-store and on-pack. This makes it clear to consumers that they’re purchasing certified sustainable beef, all while showcasing the Canadian beef industry’s dedication to transparency.

What is Cargill's certified sustainable beef program?

The program is an initiative to deliver a certified sustainable supply chain to participating foodservice and retail customers. This is a way for the Canadian beef industry to demonstrate its sustainability and showcase the strengths of its existing beef programs.

In the end, our goal is to strengthen trust among consumers by creating consumer-facing claims about certified sustainable beef production in Canada.

What is sustainable beef?

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

Five principles guide beef sustainability.

These are the principles of sustainability as defined by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

1. Natural Resources
The global beef value chain manages natural resources responsibly and enhances ecosystem health.

2. Community and People
Global sustainable beef stakeholders protect and respect human rights, and recognize the critical roles that all participants within the beef value chain play in their community regarding culture, heritage, employment, land rights and health.

3. Animal Health and Welfare
Global sustainable beef producers and processors respect and manage animals to ensure their health and welfare.

4. Food
Global sustainable beef stakeholders ensure the safety and quality of beef products and utilize information-sharing systems that promote beef sustainability.

5. Efficiency and Innovation
Global sustainable beef stakeholders encourage innovation, optimize production, reduce waste and add to economic viability.

How Cargill's certified sustainable beef program works

Watch this short video to learn how cattle are tracked.

How to join

For a producer, it takes just a handful of steps to participate:

1. Get trained and audited by VBP+ or audited by Where Food Comes From as a certified sustainable operation

2. Register for TrustBIX, ensure your contact information is up to date, and authorize your chosen auditor and TrustBIX to include your cattle’s data in anonymous aggregated reporting

3. Provide the cattle movement information, including age-verification and move-in reporting, needed to determine your qualification and enable credit payments

There is no additional sign-up step with Cargill.


Below are the partners following the standards set by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
The Cargill’s sustainable beef program aims to deliver beef from sustainable supply chains to participating customers in accordance with the CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework.

Customers will gain a competitive advantage in their respective marketplaces with a verified sustainable beef supply chain.

Cargill’s sustainable beef program is based off of the CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework, which includes:

• How producers are scored
• What will be measured
• Guidelines for audits and auditors
• Chain-of-custody requirements
• Claims and labelling guidelines
• Processes for establishing equivalency with other tools and programs

In addition to undergoing audits for our own sustainability practices, Cargill is responsible for tracking the volume of qualifying beef delivered to participating customers and identifying new customers. We look forward to showcasing the Canadian beef industry through this effort.

Verified Beef Production Plus
VBP+ is responsible for auditing cattle production operations.

Producers are responsible for scheduling audits with VBP+ and paying the costs associated with registering in the program.

TrustBIX is responsible for tracking the cattle through the supply chain via RFID ear tags.

Producers are responsible for tagging their cattle and sharing data with TrustBIX. That way, TrustBIX can validate cow-calf operations, backgrounders, feedlots and processors/abattoirs.

Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF) is a third-party food verification company with a mission to help tell your story through standards and/or claims. WFCF will verify cow/calf operations, backgrounders, feed yards and processors to CRSB standards, which can qualify your operation for Cargill’s program.

Get Involved

Cargill and our partners continue to seek out organizations, customers and producers to support and participate in our effort. Greater participation leads to more opportunities for the Canadian beef industry as a whole. To get there, we need your help. If you or your association are interested in getting involved, please contact any of our partners.

Finding program eligible cattle

First, contact your current supply partners to find out whether or not they are VBP+ Registered or audited by Where Food Comes From. VBP+ provides lists of cattle for sale from VBP+ Registered operations, available by auction on its website.

Please keep in mind that these VBP+ listings can connect you to VBP+ Registered operations; however, they do not guarantee that all cattle from listed operations will be harvested by Cargill. To qualify for a financial credit, cattle must be processed at Cargill’s High River or Guelph facility, which have been audited against the CRSB standard. Cattle must move through operations registered with TrustBIXS ( to allow for tracking. Only cattle moving through a fully certified chain – cow/calf, feedlot, packer – are guaranteed a financial credit. If you are a VBP+ Registered producer and would like to add your cattle to these listings please contact your Provincial Coordinator.


Stay informed on the CBSA Pilot.

Eastern Cargill plant tapping into sustainable beef  Read article

Ottawa Invests Over $600,000 In Verified Beef Production Plus   Read article

Canadian Sustainable Beef Pilot Project Extended  Read article

Cargill Canadian Beef Pilot Project Momentum Continues  Read article

Cattle producers can now take beef sustainability to the bank  Read article

Cargill reports Canadian beef sustainability pilot progress Read article

Cargill Canadian beef sustainability project expanding  Read article

A world without beef is just not sustainable  Read article

Beef sustainability is in full swing  Read article

Will sustainable beef pay?  Read article

Canadian consumers yearn to know more about the beef they eat; Cargill pilot to provide answers.
Read article

Will consumers pay more for verified sustainable beef?  Read article

Cargill launches Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot  Read article

Certified Sustainable Beef  Read article

Participating Customers

We thank our customers for their support and for helping to set the standard for certified sustainable beef production in Canada.

“McDonald’s is proud to continue our long-standing support for Canadian beef producers by participating in this innovative Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot project.  I would strongly encourage all beef producers to sign up, so that we can work together to strengthen the vitality of the industry and keep Canada on the leading edge of global beef sustainability efforts.”

Jeffrey Fitzpatrick-Stilwell,
Senior Manager, North America Sustainability
McDonald’s Corporation

“Loblaw is participating in the Canadian Beef Sustainability pilot project to demonstrate our commitment to the development of a sustainable beef supply chain. As a founding member of the CRSB, we’re pleased to see all aspects of the industry working together to drive a more sustainable food system in Canada.  With the launch of the CRSB framework and verification process in December, now is the time for suppliers to engage in the process and join the growing numbers of beef producers proud to be verified against the CRSB indicators.”

Jennifer Lambert,
Senior Manager, Sustainability
Loblaw Companies Limited


What progress has been made in the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot?

The CBSA Pilot was launched in October 2017.  Since then, we have focused on building industry awareness of the effort, developing the fundamental chain of custody system to be used for tracking cattle and beef through certified operations, and building solutions to enable certified sourcing claims for our customers.

To build awareness, we attended several industry conferences, regional producer meetings and other workshops to directly engage with beef producers. We are also expanding our online reach through our website and social media. Producer interest in the program continues to grow and the volume of beef from certified sustainable supply chains has increased each quarter.  But, there is still a long way to go!

For chain of custody, the pilot tested and developed methodology for tracking eligible cattle through audited live animal supply chains and the methodology for tracking resulting supply chain sustainability certifications from the beef carcass to finished products.  We continue to improve our chain of custody management system.  For example, we are also working on ways to include additional herd management systems in our chain of custody management system to allow for more qualifying cattle to be included in the program.

Cargill is also investing energy and resources into developing solutions for those customers interested in supporting the effort. Companies such as McDonald’s Canada and Harvey’s are currently making consumer-facing claims on select menu offerings.  Yet Cargill is also working with additional to finalize solutions that will soon be announced.

Who purchases the beef that qualifies as certified sustainable?

Certified sustainable beef is being delivered to the customers of CBSA, including McDonald’s Canada, Harvey’s, and Cactus Club.

How much credit is paid back to producers? Who is paying for these credits?

The financial credit paid back to producers varies each quarter.  During the first quarter of the pilot, cattle producers each earned $10-per-head for every animal they supplied that qualified. This credit increased to $20.11-per-head during the second quarter of the pilot, and since then has ranged between $18-$19 per head.  We expect that the amount of credit payments-per-head will continue to vary each quarter due to factors including total number of qualifying animals, participants’ beef demand and cattle weights.

Participating customers are funding the pilot. A share of the funds collected from customers is redistributed back to producers who contribute cattle to the certified sustainable volume. TrustBIX identifies the qualifying producers and administers payments on behalf of the pilot.

How do qualifying producers ensure they receive payment of the financial credit?

BIX is acting as the clearing house for the CBSA Pilot and will be dispersing funds to producers. Please make sure that your contact information (mailing information and phone number) is up to date in BIX to avoid delays in issuing payments. Simply log in to your BIX account and the site will immediately ask you to update your account.

I am VBP+ audited cow-calf operation and/or feedlot and my cattle are processed at Cargill’s High River plant. Why did I not receive a financial credit?

There can be several reasons for this. First, make sure you are registered with BIX, have given VBP+ permission to share your VBP+ status with BIX, and that your contact information in your BIX account is up to date. Secondly, your cattle may have been sold/bought from a non-certified operation before being processed at Cargill’s High River plant. To ensure payment, cattle must move from a certified cow/calf operation to a certified feedlot and then to a certified plant. At this time, Cargill’s High River plant is the only plant that has been audited against the CRSB’s standard. Cargill will soon have its plant in Guelph, Ontario audited as well.

How can I find cattle from CBSA Pilot eligible operations available for sale and how can I sell my cattle into CBSA Pilot eligible operations?

There are many options – contacting your current supply partners about whether or not they are CBSA Pilot eligible is the best. They either need to be VBP+ Registered or have been audited by Where Food Comes From to be eligible for the CBSA Pilot. However, if you would like some assistance, VBP+ does have lists of cattle available for sale from VBP+ Registered operations by auction on its website. If you are a VBP+ Registered producer and would like to add your cattle to the website, please contact your Provincial Coordinator.

Who are the auditors in the pilot?

Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) and Where Food Comes From are the two auditing bodies partnering in the CBSA pilot. Interested producers should contact their provincial VBP coordinator and/or Where Food Comes From’s  Kathryn Britton for more information.

What is the cost of audits by VBP+ and Where Food Comes From?

Costs can vary depending on size and type of operation, as well as by province. Producers interested in working with VBP+ should contact their provincial VBP+ coordinator to get more information. Producers interested in working with Where Food Comes From should contact Kathryn Britton at to get more information about the audit process and costs.

Who is leading the pilot? Who else is involved?

Cargill is leading the pilot with key partners including Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+), Where Food Comes From and TrustBIX (BIX). Participating customers are funding support to help reward producers for their contribution. While the CRSB is not directly involved, the pilot is using the CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework.

Who can participate?

All Canadian cow-calf operations, backgrounders and feedlots are eligible to participate in the pilot.

How do producers join the pilot?

To participate, you must

  1. Get trained and audited by VBP+ or audited by Where Food Comes From,
  2. Register for BIX,
  3. Age verify or move-in your cattle in the CLTS database or BIX.

There is no additional sign-up step with Cargill.

How can I help?

Since cattle only qualify if they are moved through a fully certified supply chain, more widespread participation will increase everyone’s chances of receiving the financial credit. You can help by encouraging your peers, suppliers and customers to join.

What if I participated in the McDonald’s or CRSB pilot? What if I am VBP (but not VBP+) Registered? Am I eligible?

McDonald’s pilot participants should contact Where Food Comes From to discuss their audit status and to be grandfathered into the CBSA pilot, or contact VBP+ to become VBP+ Registered.

To check audit status from the McDonald’s pilot through Where Food Comes From, contact Kathryn Britton at

VBP+ has agreed to recognize your McDonald’s or CRSB pilot on-site verification as your VBP+ on-farm audit, meaning for VBP+ purposes your operation can receive VBP+ Registered status starting on the date of your on-site verification.

In order to take advantage of this offer from VBP+, please follow the steps below:

  • Complete a self-assessment covering all four modules
  • Confirm your successful completion of McDonald’s VSB or CRSB Pilot Verification (via confirmation email or certificate)
  • Feedlots (> 5,000 head) are required to submit a written protocol for non-ambulatory/downer cattle

Additionally, if you ARE a VBP Registered Operation (On-Farm Food Safety), to become fully VBP+ Registered you must:

  • Provide a sample of records of deaths/euthanizations
  • If you were due for a re-audit prior to December 31, 2017 but have not yet completed it, the McDonald’s or CRSB verification will be accepted as satisfying the pending VBP+ audit

If you ARE NOT a VBP Registered Operation and would like to become fully VBP+ Registered you must:

  • Demonstrate completion of On-Farm Food Safety Training (OFFS)
  • Provide a sample of records for OFFS, including record of deaths/euthanizations

If you are unsure about your VBP/VBP+ status:

Contact your local VBP+ Provincial Coordinator or the VBP+ Business Manager, Shanon Argent at or 1-403-275-8558 ext. 304 for more information


To get started, contact your VBP+ Provincial Coordinator or

Sharon Argent
National Business Manager

Contact BIXS:
Hubert Lau

Deborah Wilson

Contact Cargill:
Gurneesh Bhandal