GrainGrowers forum provides industry sustainability focus

Grain Central, March 20, 2024

The Grain Sustainability Forum took place yesterday in Canberra. Photo: GrainGrowers

NEARLY 100 stakeholders, including supply-chain and grower representatives, met in Canberra yesterday to discuss the next steps towards industry sustainability.

The GrainGrowers Grain Sustainability Forum drew together participants committed to defining sustainable grain production and strengthening the industry’s foundational credentials.

The Minister for Regional Development, Local Government, and Territories, Kristy McBain, also addressed the event, speaking about her passion for the regions and her mission to ensure that young people can remain and thrive in regional Australia.

Attendees were briefed on the latest developments with the Grain Sustainability Framework (GSF).

Improved governance, including the establishment of a GSF Council with representatives from GrainGrowers and Grain Producers Australia, stronger collaboration, and strategic stakeholder engagement are all now being finalised as part of future activities.

GrainGrowers general manager major projects Sarah Hyland said the forum was a great opportunity to bring together a wide cross-section of industry participants to drive the issue in a farm-focused way and deliver real outcomes for growers.

“Over the coming weeks, we will announce a raft of updates to the GSF designed to make it inclusive and operationally effective,” Ms Hyland said.

“We were pleased to give attendees a glimpse of this updated approach.”

Grain Producers Australia sustainability spokesperson Mark Schilling, a fourth-generation grain farmer from Cunliffe on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, said the GSF was designed to deliver the best outcomes and genuine value for growers.

“GPA is looking forward to engaging closely with GrainGrowers through this new and reinvigorated process, to deliver a sustainability framework that can clearly articulate our strong  credentials to local and international markets and ultimately enhance value for all growers,” Mr Schilling said.

“This exciting opportunity will also harness expertise and reflects our strategic work across a
range of policy areas, to deliver stronger sustainability and profitability for all Australian grain

Ms Hyland said the GSF had a crucial role to play in using defensible data to monitor, measure and report industry performance against sustainability issues.

“With the marked increase in environmental, social and governance reporting, the GSF is a vehicle to provide transparent, credible evidence of industry performance and improvement.”

Ms Hyland explained to attendees that one of the key initiatives currently under way was a materiality study to identify the themes that underpin industry sustainability.

“In 2019, the initial study identified 10 material themes, and even though it is only a few years old, the discussions at the forum highlighted that a lot has changed in this area.”

“The current study will ensure we as an industry can be responsive to current and emerging issues and place us in the best possible position to meet stakeholder expectations.”

A group activity session conducted by ERM Consulting partner Alan Dayeh and STR Consulting principal Dr Robyn Leeson updated participants on the progress of the What Matters Most for a Sustainable Grain Industry project.

The discussions around the room covered a range of stakeholder activities impacting sustainability across the supply chain, highlighting the importance of developing a thorough understanding of the issues that underpin industry sustainability.

The forum also included a panel discussion featuring supply chain representatives who addressed the issues of “sustainability as strategy.”

The panel included:

Australian Grain Technologies wheat breeder Russell Eastwood;

Nutrien Ag Solutions head of commercial sustainability Rebecca Underwood;

Cranmore Farms director and WA grower Tracy Lefroy;

New Leaf Ag director and Qld grower Nigel Corish;

GrainCorp general manager sustainability Michael Anderson; and,

Mort and Co sustainability manager Brad Robinson.

The panel explored sustainability across the Australian grain supply chain, providing specific insight from grain breeders, growers, input suppliers, and other supply chain participants.

To round out the event The Future Centre foresight strategist Melissa Clark-Reynolds gave the closing keynote address, entitled: Grain tomorrow: exploring the future of sustainable agriculture.

According to Ms Clark-Reynolds, the future is messy, just like the present.

Source: GrainGrowers


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Grain Central's news headlines emailed to you -