Research

Grains industry sustainability survey closes on Sunday

Liz Wells, October 22, 2019

THE AUSTRALIAN grains industry and those who live it touches are invited to help shape its first sustainability framework by completing a 10-minute Behind Australian Grain survey.

GrainGrowers national policy manager Fiona McCredie. Photo: GrainGrowers

Conducted by KPMG, it follows on from the Behind Australian Grain report, which identified 10 sustainability themes of high interest to the grains industry and its external stakeholders.

GrainGrowers has been instrumental in the Behind Australian Grain initiative.

Chief executive officer, David McKeon, said the survey would help determine how the grains industry best responded to those themes, which covered areas as wide-ranging as rural communities, and the use of inputs, including fertiliser and herbicides.

The survey opened earlier this month, and closes at midnight on Sunday.

Mr McKeon said the results would help the industry chart its course on sustainability, as some large grain-trading organisations were already doing.

“We believe this is a pro-active step,” he said.

“It’s about ensuring what we’re doing for mixed farmers aligns with other commodity frameworks in the beef, dairy and sheep meat industries.”

Mr McKeon said institutional investors were increasingly looking for indications of sustainability from industries in areas like social license and consumer confidence.

“It’s about ensuring Australia is a great place to do business for grains, and when we’re delivering to markets, we’ve got a really strong basis for negotiations.

“Consumer and customer trends and expectations are changing; we need to be at the forefront of that.”

The survey is open to metropolitan as well as rural and regional respondents.

The 10 sustainability themes addressed in the survey are:

  • A changing climate;
  • Responsible use of inputs;
  • Environmental stewardship;
  • Enduring profitability;
  • Market access and competitiveness;
  • A changing consumer;
  • Supply-chain assurance;
  • Vibrant communities;
  • Grower health and wellbeing;
  • Unlocking innovation.

The survey does not require written answers, or any income-based information, but does allow respondents to identify priorities for the grains industry in relation to several areas, including climate and environmental stewardship.

Mr McKeon said results from the survey would be a key input into the development of the framework.

“The survey will start to refine the priorities. We are aiming to get to a high level of industry agreement by the end of 2019 on the basis of sustainability, and the setting of targets and goals will be undertaken in 2020.”

Organisations which sit with GrainGrowers on the Behind Australian Grain steering committee are:

  • Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre;
  • Grain Producers Australia;
  • Grain Trade Australia;
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation;
  • National Farmers’ Federation.

Click here to do the survey.

 

 

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