AUSTRALIA’S proposed sheep sustainability framework will improve industry transparency and build consumer trust in wool and sheep meat, according to the project’s leader.
Chair of the Sheep Sustainability Steering Group, Professor Bruce Allworth, said the framework will be a crucial tool for industry to build trust by painting a clear and honest picture of sheep production in Australia.
“Our sustainability framework will improve transparency for Australia’s sheep industry and provide evidence to our customers that the food and fibre they purchase has been produced responsibly.
“It will assist our industry to better understand its opportunities, challenges and impacts in key areas around animal welfare, environment and climate change and industry sustainability and profitability,” Professor Allworth said.
Red meat producers and industry participants are being consulted and have been invited to comment on a draft framework document before 9 December, 2020.
Meat & Livestock Australia said the Australian Sheep Sustainability Framework will be a world first and is designed specifically for the Australian sheep industry and its supply chain. The industry led framework identifies sustainability priorities, demonstrates best practice and uses evidence to track industry progress against key indicators, MLA said.
The framework is the product of extensive and targeted industry engagement and consultation by the industry appointed Sheep Sustainability Steering Group. Public consultation will further inform the Framework prior to its official launch in April 2021.
MLA said the framework will outline industry’s commitment to sustainability through four key themes of:
Caring for our sheep
Enhancing the environment and climate
Caring for our people, customers and communities
Ensuring a financially sustainable industry.
Dr Allworth said the steering group is asking industry stakeholders to tell it whether the sustainability priorities we’ve identified, and indicators we’ve included, are the right ones.
“We’re calling for those involved in the sheep meat and wool industry right across the value chain – from producers through to customers – to help us define what sustainable production is, and how we measure and report it.
“The framework, once published, will be a living document, subject to regular materiality review and refinement to ensure it continues to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, reporting regularly against its sustainability priorities.”
Sheep Producers Australia and WoolProducers Australia have been leading the framework development, with Australian Wool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia providing funding together with strategic and secretariat support.
The other members of the steering group are Gundagai Meat Processors chief executive officer Will Barton, Tasmanian producers Dr Will Bignell, New England Wool managing director Andrew Blanch, New South Wales producer Michael Field, Victorian producer Johnny Gardner, South Australian producer Deanna Lush, Western Australian producer Emily Stretch, SustainaWOOL program manager Dr Paul Swan, Victorian producer Mark Wootton.
To provide comment on the draft framework, visit https://sheepframeworkyoursay.com.au/ by Wednesday, 9 December 2020.