Nicola Hinder from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has some timely tips for agribusinesses looking to build sustainability across their operations.
As food security and climate change concerns rise around the world, sustainable agricultural growth is becoming more critical.
Aussie agricultural businesses need to focus on reducing the impact of production and supply chain logistics on the environment. This will not only help Australia meet its sustainable development goals but will keep free and open trade with global partners flowing.
Nicola Hinder is acting Deputy Secretary of the Agricultural Trade Group, part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). She says each region and country have a different take on sustainability.
‘France’s approach to agricultural sustainability, for example, is very different to the Australian approach. This is because of its climate, variations and industry. It certainly doesn’t mean that one country takes environmental considerations more seriously than the other,’ she says.
‘But what it does mean is that it’s increasingly important for countries to take an outcomes-focused approach to global sustainability. Because a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work for everyone and potentially leads to harm, not good.’
Hinder points to three government departments that work together for Aussie export businesses on the world stage.
‘The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) unlocks doors. They’re the ones that identify the “big T trade” possibilities like free trade agreements,’ she says.
DAFF then opens those doors by handling technical market negotiations. ‘We provide the assurance to a trading partner that the goods we’re exporting are clean, green, food-safe, consumer-ready, and produced in ways that meet certain market requirements,’ says Hinder.
And once those doors have been opened, ‘Austrade is the fabulous group that shows people where their agricultural goods can be exported to,’ she says.
Each of these departments is deeply committed to sustainable productivity growth.
‘We’re focused on environmental stewardship, productivity, resilience and social wellbeing in an Australian context,’ says Hinder. ‘We also need to be able to benchmark these against differing international contexts.’
Agricultural sustainability is a shared goal among all of Australia’s agricultural industries.
‘We have a strong agricultural sustainability story to tell – one that is suited to the Australian environment but can also be demonstrated to suit the outcomes sought by trading partners,’ says Hinder. ‘But there is still a lot to do to make sure our sustainability story is told – and told right.’
Hinder suggests seven ways Aussie agricultural businesses and producers can use sustainability principles to grow their exports.
Images courtesy of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry