An initiative led by   

It pays to be sustainable.

The Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration (CBSA) Pilot is an effort to create a certified sustainable Canadian beef supply chain. It will help 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, you’ll make a monumental, long-term investment in our industry. Your involvement will help strengthen consumer trust in our products and promote the vitality of our industry – and you 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.

Your dedication to responsible practices is admirable, and we need to reflect that in the information we share with consumers. The CBSA pilot will help us tell your story in a way that builds trust in the Canadian beef industry.

Communicating sustainability to consumers.

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

What is the CBSA Pilot?

The CBSA Pilot is a one-year 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 the CBSA Pilot works

In order to earn financial credit, cattle must go through a certified sustainable beef supply chain. That means your cattle can only have spent time on cow-calf operations, feedlots and processors that are certified sustainable.

How to join

1. Get trained and audited by VBP+ or audited by Where Food Comes From,

2. Register for BIXS,

3. Age verify or move-in your cattle in the CLTS database or BIXS.

There is no additional sign-up step with Cargill.

CBSA Pilot Partners

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

Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
The CBSA pilot aims to deliver beef from sustainable supply chains to participating customers in accordance with the CRSB’s sustainability framework.

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

The CBSA Pilot is based off of the CRSB’s 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.

Beef Infoxchange System
BIXS is responsible for tracking the cattle through the supply chain via RFID ear tags.

Procucers are responsible for tagging their cattle and sharing data with BIXS. That way, BIXS 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 the CBSA Pilot.

Get Involved

CBSA representatives continue to seek out partner organizations, customers and producers to support and participate in our pilot. 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 VBP+ Registered Cattle

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

Please keep in mind that these listings can connect you to VBP+ Registered operations; however, they do not guarantee that all cattle from listed operations will be harvested by Cargill’s High River plant. To qualify for a financial credit, cattle must be processed at High River, which has been audited against the CRSB standard. Cattle must move through operations registered with BIXS ( 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.

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

Inaugural 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?

For the first six months of the pilot, we focused on building awareness about the effort and developing the fundamental chain of custody system to be used for tracking cattle and beef through audited operations.

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. This work will be continued over the next few months as well.

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. No claims are being made by customers yet, but we needed to set up the infrastructure to allow for future claims.

How much beef qualified as certified sustainable in the first quarter of the pilot? Who purchases this volume?

In the first six months, more than 1.2 million pounds of beef qualified as certified sustainable product according to the CRSB Framework’s supply chain guidelines. This volume is being delivered to McDonald’s Canada, Loblaw, Swiss Chalet and Original Joe’s as participating customers in the pilot.

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

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. We expect that the amount of credit payments-per-head will continue to vary each quarter due to factors such as 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. The Beef Info-Exchange System (BIXS) identifies the qualifying producers and administers payments on behalf of the pilot.

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

BIXS 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 BIXS to avoid delays in issuing payments. Simply log in to your BIXS account and the site will immediately ask you to update your account.

I am a 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 BIXS, have given VBP+ permission to share your VBP+ status with BIXS, and that your contact information in your BIXS account is up to date. Second, it may be that your cattle were sold/bought from a noncertified 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 (High River).

How can I find cattle from VBP+ Registered operations available for sale, and how can I sell my cattle into VBP+ Registered operations?

There are many options – contacting your current supply partners about whether they are VBP+ Registered is the best. However, if you would like some assistance, VBP+ does have lists of cattle available for sale from VBP+ Registered operations by auction and through AgriClear 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 Jordan Hinton at 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 Jordan Hinton 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 Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS). 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 cow-calf operations, backgrounders and feedlots across Canada 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 BIXS,
  3. Age verify or move-in your cattle in the CLTS database or BIXS.

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 Jordan Hinton 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 set out 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/euthanasia
  • If you are due for a re-audit prior to December 31, 2017, the McDonald’s or CRSB verification will be accepted as satisfying the upcoming VBP+ audit

Or, 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 records of deaths/euthanasia

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

Contact your local VBP+ Provincial Coordinator or the VBP+ Business Manager, Virgil Lowe, at or 1 (403) 295-1808 for more information.


To get started, contact your VBP+ Provincial Coordinator or

Virgil Lowe
National Business Manager

Contact BIXS:
Hubert Lau

Deborah Wilson

Contact Cargill:
Gurneesh Bhandal