Changing community expectations - Implications and strategies for the Australian Agribusiness Industry - Oziris - Intelligent - Secure

“By 2030, the Australian agribusiness industry will be world-leading in all aspects of sustainability challenges like climate change, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, product & packaging waste, product safety & quality, biosecurity, biodiversity, nutrient & pesticide use, animal welfare, water availability & efficiency as well as work health & safety. Through a collaborative, proactive and across multi-commodities approach, the Australian agribusiness industry can meet our community expectations while remaining commercially viable.”

 This report forms the third in a series of reports commissioned by Agribusiness Australia that seek to identify and explore key macro trends that will play a leading role in shaping the future direction of Australia’s agribusiness industry. Having previously viewed the industry through both an economic and a geopolitical lens in the respective 2020 State of the Industry and Belt and Road Initiative reports, here we adopt an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) lens to assess the significant external influences that will impact the sector’s growth and sustainability.

There can be little question that the expectations Australian society has of the agribusiness industry in today’s world have evolved significantly over the past decade. Growing awareness and a sense of urgency around environmental and social issues has led to an expectation that the agribusiness industry must act responsibly and sustainably. Indeed, all industries are subject to this same scrutiny. Still, agribusiness stands out to be one of the most closely monitored owing to its vital connection to the natural environment and the social welfare of the community.

To achieve its stated growth ambitions to build a $300 billion (AUD) Australian food and agribusiness industry (pre and post-farmgate) by 2030, the industry must increasingly engage with the Australian Mark Allison Chairman, Agribusiness Australia community and adopt new and innovative ways to validate its social licence to operate. Reliable access to essential resources such as land, labour, water, and capital is at stake, in addition to the industry’s ability to maintain access to and compete profitably in vitally important high growth and high-value markets at home and abroad.

 Fortunately, the Australian agribusiness industry has a long history of both environmental stewardship and animal welfare. As a result, we have a solid base of goodwill amongst the community to further build the necessary levels of credibility and trust in its sustainable practices. Innovative strategies, big data, technologies, good governance and planning will enhance our ability to achieve the ESG best practices more effectively. However, there are challenges we need to face too. Naturally, in such a diverse sector, the specific ESG priorities differ as does the degree of preparedness to meet stated goals. Some of the community expectations might not be real or doable in a sustainable framework. This report seeks to provoke debate and discussions about the convergence of agribusiness and community expectations to come up with a plan that is profitable, productive and sustainable.

 This report provides the latest update on the forces of change in the community as well as current community issues and industry actions as the base for debate and discussions. We hope to promote a cross-sectoral collaboration to share insights, leverage resources and drive timely action. Collectively we will shape a prosperous agribusiness industry of the future that Australians can be justifiably proud of.