Extensive livestock production occupies 25% of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the Earth, and Australian beef production contributes about 10% of this total land footprint. Therefore, the management of cattle has major implications for natural vegetation, soils, biodiversity, and atmospheric greenhouse gases in Australia and globally. To meet global sustainability targets and consumer expectations, a variety of environmental Standards, Certification and Assurance (SCA) schemes are being developed and implemented to enable producers to verify claims relating to their products. Improved standardization and coordination are now needed to address the rapid proliferation of credentialing systems that use different frameworks, methods and levels of scientific verification. Using the Australian grass-fed beef industry as a case study, we identified the measures, metrics and methods that are currently used by SCA schemes for climate and biodiversity credentialing. From here, a co-design process with industry representatives was applied to develop recommendations for credentialing in extensive beef production, feedlots and meat processing. It was clear that the successful adoption of credentialing by beef producers will require flexible and user-friendly support tools that use scalable data sources such as existing producer records, agtech databases and remote sensing information. Substantive rewards and incentives will be required to support producer engagement with the SCA schemes. Overall, ’more needs to be done to ensure the transparency of schemes and to meet benchmarks for integrity such as determining uncertainty and support though peer-reviewed science.

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