Sustainability credentials project
This project is building awareness around sustainability credential systems for farmers.
The following information has been put together to provide landholders with an understanding of what sustainability credentials are, how they work, and what the benefits are.
The information below will take you to clickable links for more information.
This project is supported by Murray Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
WHAT ARE SUSTAINABILITY CREDENTIALS?
As a producer, we know you are working hard to deliver premium quality food and fibre and are proud of your sustainable farm practices.
Australian products are renowned for the ‘clean green’ image. However, consumers are becoming more selective in their purchases, looking for sustainable brands promoting good environmental practices.
How do you prove to a buyer or a stranger on the street that you are caring for your land? Sustainability credential frameworks could be the answer!
Have you heard of Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee? Or RSPCA-approved chicken?
These are both common examples of sustainability credential frameworks. Many Australian farming industries are developing these frameworks to enhance their marketing platforms and guide research and development. They also help Australian industries to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability credential frameworks provide production guidelines for farmers based on best management practices. The aim is to demonstrate a farmer's environmental, social and economic sustainability. Having the data to support a ‘clean green’ image boosts industries' marketing power and helps to generate the best possible return at the farm gate.
HOW DO SUSTAINABILITY CREDENTIALS WORK?
There are two different ways sustainability credential systems are used.
- As a guide for research and development, highlighting key issues and complementing any existing quality assurance or audit systems.
- Sustainability frameworks can also be used as an audit to assess farmer practices and allow them to gain a formal accreditation as a sustainable producer.
In order to take part farmers must:
- meet the benchmarked credentials
- pass an initial independent audit
- maintain farm practices to pass future audits
There are several established frameworks already being used in Australia, including:
- Cotton Australia’s myBMP
- Australian Beef Sustainability Framework
- Dairy Australia’s Sustainability Framework
- Australian Eggs Sustainability Framework
- Land to Market – Holistic Farm Management
And some still in the development phase:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABILITY CREDENTIALS?
Incorporating sustainability credentials into their farms shows that farmers are:
- Environmentally responsible
- Socially responsible
Benefits to farmers include:
- Increased productivity and environmental health
- Improved worker safety, business integrity and consumer confidence
- Greater bargaining power when selling produce
- Access to premium markets and improved investor interest
- Pride in the knowledge you are doing the right thing and meeting best management practices.
WHY SHOULD I GET INVOLVED?
It’s more paperwork right? Wrong! Do you already keep cropping and spray records? Do you follow the animal welfare and NLIS protocols with your livestock? Do you operate within your local land and water legislation? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are already on the right track to getting involved.
These things you’re already doing are key components of most sustainability frameworks. So why not use all that data to help broaden your marketing opportunities? And align your business with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
BEFORE YOU START – RELEVANT RESOURCES
For some general information on where to start your journey towards sustainability credentials, click here.