Industry ready to seize sustainability opportunities

Industry ready to seize sustainability opportunities

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The grains industry has a great record of leaving the in good shape for the next generation but in order to get the most out of sustainability schemes it must be able to quantify its successes.

The grains industry has a great record of leaving the in good shape for the next generation but in order to get the most out of sustainability schemes it must be able to quantify its successes.

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Rather than seeing sustainability accreditation as a burden, the grains industry should be set to grab new chances it presents.

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THE HEAD of Nutrien Ag Solutions believes the Australian grains industry is ready to seize opportunities presented in the emerging sustainability space.

"Sustainability is going to be an increasingly important topic in the grains industry in the next couple of years and how it impacts farm businesses will come down to individual farmers' approaches," said Rob Clayton, Nutrien Ag Solutions managing director.

"You could look at it as another burden in terms of regulation and red tape, but we prefer to see it as an opportunity," Mr Clayton said.

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"At Nutrien we definitely see a market that wants to see farmers that can prove they are farming sustainability and with that we can see new income streams with people wanting to pay more for products they know are grown sustainably," he said.

Mr Clayton said one of the keys would be for farmers to be able to quantify what they were doing in the sustainability space.

"People need to be able to demonstrate what changes they have made in terms of cutting emissions or their carbon footprint, once they are able to show these improvements through data they are on their way to potentially making their hard work pay."

He said Nutrien had been involved in sustainability schemes in North America for the past couple of years where it continued to grow in importance.

"In the US there are two major sustainability programs, Vera and Gold Standard, and it is likely Australia will follow a similar path, there will be companies out there offering accreditation schemes, but I don't think we'll have 20 different ones."

He said he saw Nutrien being involved to help growers with the process, such as coming up with farm plans to allow farmers to cut emissions through things such as reducing fuel and fertiliser use, moving through to providing mapping services that measured how much carbon was being stored.

"There is a lot of work to do in terms of tracking and tracing what is happening on farm which customers are going to demand, we see that we are well placed with our expertise to help provide the services that allow farmers to do this."

He said while there was a lot of work to prove sustainable practice there was significant promise in terms of marketing.

"A lot of growers have made commitment to markets, similar to the ISCC program when you export to the EU, which is going to open new markets for them."

"We've always been proud of our clean and green production systems here in Australia, we feel that by generating more data farmers will be able to take advantage of their sound stewardship and land management practices in a tangible way," Mr Clayton said.

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