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Scientific research is increasingly convincing regarding the environmental impacts of food production, and this situation contrasts with a greater consumer awareness. Under these premises, the development sustainability labels arises, for example for beef, which offer a guarantee that the production is carried out according to the principles of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Due to the lack of research in this regard, the objective of this article is to identify and analyze existing sustainability labels for beef and on-going initiatives in this regard in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in relation to silvopastoral systems. For this, a qualitative-descriptive study was carried out based on primary (expert interviews) and secondary information (e.g., scientific articles, documents from international organizations such as FAO, IICA, ECLAC, and others, and publications of entities involved in sustainability labelling). The results show as a success the consolidation of labels based on these production models in countries such as Brazil (labels: Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef, Sustainable Angus), Uruguay (label: Carbon Neutral Meat), and Colombia (labels: Aval Ganso, Colombian Beef Grass-Fed CO, Sustainable Cattle Label, Environmental Label for the Cattle Sector). This last country stands out for the diversity of recently emerged labels, which, although still under development, expose it as a benchmark at the regional level. However, difficulties are also recognized in the multiple contexts addressed, such as the aversion of producers to implement silvopastoral systems, considering that this implies the availability of economic resources, knowledge, and training that are difficult to access. Another difficulty is the low demand for the certified end-product due to the additional cost that it may represent, much more so considering an international pandemic scenario that continues to affect employment and incomes and, therefore, consumer decisions. On the other hand, the case of Argentina stands out, which, despite its advances in public policies and legislation for the development of a sustainable cattle sector, has not made considerable progress in the development and use of sustainability labels for meat. The situation in Central American countries is also worrying, where no initiative of this type have been identified. It is concluded that the development of sustainability labels for the cattle sector that consider silvopastoral production models is an important step in the transition towards an environmentally responsible cattle sector, but this process must be articulated with other types of strategies and actions of various actors, such as governments, legislators, and NGOs.

Keywords:

sustainability labeling, sustainable intensification, sustainable cattle farming, animal welfare, carbon

Manuel Díaz Baca, Leonardo Moreno Lerma, Stefan Burkart

Presentation within symposium:

S-21 The socio-ecological dynamics of tropical silvopastoral systems

Sustainable Beef Labeling in Latin America: Initiatives based on Silvopastoral Systems

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