Thursday, June 13, 2024

Wool industry leads metrics for environmental reporting

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Farming for the Future, Media Release, 22 April 2024

With consumer demand for “nature-positive” wool outstripping supply, a new project is underway to provide consistency and certainty for woolgrowers around measuring and reporting on environmental performance.

Wool

Led by Australian Wool Innovation and the Woolmark Company in collaboration with Farming for the Future, the Natural Capital and Environmental Performance Measures for Australian Wool Growers project aims to support woolgrowers with on-farm decision making and reporting to their customers, using consistent, science-based, practical metrics. The project is due for completion in June 2024

TWC’s aim with this project is to define a standard set of measures, in consultation with industry, that are science-based, verifiable and cost effective for growers to use. The project is researching the existing metrics used in ecological research and sustainability certifications, and consulting with industry on standards for defining and measuring regenerative or nature positive trends on farm. The project will preserve the ability of certification organisations and brands to satisfy their unique market needs, while ensuring claims and reporting are defensible, providing greater clarity and certainty for woolgrowers, brands and consumers.

Dr Sue Ogilvy, Program Director, Farming for the Future said “The model we’re exploring is comparable to chips in computers. Laptops come in different sizes, colours, displays and other features that meet individual customer preferences, but in general, the chip that runs them is identical. In this project, the metrics are the chip, and the laptop is the different certification pathways, brands and claims. All with unique value proposition and applications for different markets.”

“There are significant benefits of consistency in metrics at multiple levels of the supply chain, but particularly for wool growers who can use standardised metrics for their own management and decision-making, as well as for reporting to supply chains and banks if there’s an incentive for them to do so. Consistency in metrics will enable ag tech innovation to support simple, cost-effective measurement. And science-based metrics will align with International Frameworks for accounting for carbon and nature, and provide rigour to markets such as the EU.”

Emma Gittoes Bunting, Global Sustainability Manager with Australian Wool Innovation, said “We recognise that sustainability is a journey, and that woolgrowers and consumers have different priorities and they start from different positions and histories. This project will accelerate the uptake of sustainability reporting amongst woolgrowers, and enable consumers and brands to reward woolgrowers for their sustainability achievements.”

Dr Ogilvy provided an update about the project at the IWTO Congress in Adelaide on 18 April. Wool industry stakeholders are invited to provide input to the project team by registering their interest here or scan QR code below and answering a few questions before 28th April.

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