Where to from here for primary production standards?


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by Jane Lovell, TOA

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  • This is intellectualising the issue. What is the issue – consumers want to know more about how products are produced. Why? Lack of trust? Profit protection – negative media and stories erodes profits. Shareholders demand profits. By product of this is “compliance mentality”. Basically disgruntled producers who could be prone to “do the minimum” to “get through audit”. So we get more and more clever with the systems, the skills of auditors, the reporting requirements, the level of training in systems management.....we write Codes of Practice, and interpretive guidelines, supporting documents, compliance criteria Where in the world is this happening? Amongst the most affluent – Europe, UK and here For many producers this feels like a lose:win situation
  • Meanwhile back at the ranch......people are talking about food security “ access at all times to an available and reliable supply of adequate, safe and nutritious food” We can already see this in some many parts of the world. India, Africa, This is a lose:lose scenario
  • I hear stories of this sort of behaviour when retailers are short of product - the shelves will not be left empty – produce will be found somewhere.
  • This is a women’s self help group outside Hyderabad in India. These women are scraping a living and putting aside small amounts of money – like their own bank – which can then be used to encourage a real bank to lend a bit more money to the group. And what is this money used for? One of these women took a loan from this group to move into a house, instead of living beside her plot of land under plastic. Another one bought a goat, then another goat, amassed a herd of 50 goats and sold them all for her daughter’s dowry....
  • To what extent are “systems” a luxury, driven by abundance and status anxiety? We can afford to be choosey. What happens when the impacts of climate change start to bite here? Move from abundance to scarcity – from our traditional western supply chain to some of the supply chains we see in developing countries
  • What evidence is there that this could happen in Australia? Murray - Darling 1995 water cap on allocations ACCC overseeing the trade in water Take the Murray-Darling....
  • Who else is seeing this potential future?
  • This is the win:win
  • Single label – precedent already established in an alliance between Coles and Biological Farmers of Australia, with the Australian Certified Organic logo being used to unite organic products certified under a variety of organic certification standards to make it less confusing for the consumer to identify organic products. Also the Environmental Systems Recognition Framework for Horticulture – funded by the Australian Government through Caring for our Country and managed by Horticulture Australia Limited. A means of recognising environmental assurance systems that meet agreed standard with the aim of maximising choice of systems for producers and for retailers and minimising the confusion and system “turf war” that we have seen in quality assurance and food safety. Rewards include improved environmental sustainability of the farm, efficient delivery and access to support (financial, technical, social), reduced insurance premiums (like a rating one driver with AAMI), reduced interest rates with bank due to reduced risk (longer term sustainability of the farm). Not reliant on short term government funding – would be a practical demonstration of Corporate Social Responsibility we can all find on the websites of multi-nationals and big business and as such would be supported by these businesses. Increased efficiency – problem – solution package with delivery by those best placed geographically and technically.
  • Miwatj Health – East Arhnem Land collaborative approach to significant health and social issues for indigenous communities Collaboration between indigenous and western professionals Social, emotional and cultural well being of the community Clinical services – walk in walk out service Chronic disease outreach team Child and maternal health outreach team Men’s health outreach program – preventive Community based educational and preventive programs Alcohol and other drugs program Suicide mitigation program Policy and planning – population health data to see key health issues Bringing together of communities with similar problems for efficient delivery – research needs are identified, appropriate support is available
  • Probably one of the best examples of community engagement around environmental issues in Australia is Landcare. People enjoy going to meetings and working bees and field days. Its a combination of social interaction and technical information. Quite a different vibe to food safety training days.... This is the vibe we need.
  • Success depends on compatibility of cultures, empathy for each other’s businesses, acceptance of each others expectations, mutual trust and motivation to develop relationships Major agrifood business, 2010
  • Where to from here for primary production standards?

    1. 1. Where to from here for primary production standards? Jane Lovell TQA Australia AUSTRALIA
    2. 3. Primary production standards <ul><li>Beyond food safety </li></ul><ul><li>Based on my experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>primarily horticultural </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>market not regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not a technical presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Using environmental assurance as example </li></ul>
    4. 5. Head <ul><li>Multiple systems </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple audits </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple labels </li></ul><ul><li>Trying to connect producers and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Trying to prove trust and responsible practices </li></ul>
    5. 6. Eurofruit February 2010 No 426
    6. 7. Multiple systems <ul><li>“ The fresh produce trade has come under such huge pressure from ethical and environmental lobby groups during the last two decades that the need to convey a huge number of different qualifications to the general public has potentially left the consumer faced with more trademarks and labels than he or she perhaps knows what to do with .” </li></ul><ul><li>Mike Knowles, Eurofruit Feb 2010 </li></ul>
    7. 8. Multiple systems <ul><ul><li>Expect more audits because the customers expect more </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Johnathan Sutton, Tesco Asia and Oceania </li></ul>
    8. 9. Multiple systems <ul><li>Environmental assurance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freshcare Environmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SQF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Farms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global G.A.P. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Property Management Planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainable Farms Tasmania </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enviroveg </li></ul></ul>
    9. 10. Multiple systems <ul><li>Carbon footprinting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PAS 2050 – Carbon Trust, Planet Ark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ISO 14067 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GHG Protocol WRI/WBCSD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aeon – “Global Warming Prevention Declaration” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Casino – preparing for mandatory environmental labelling in France </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EC – role of carbon footprinting in European climate polich </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greenpeace – pilot labelling in Austria with organic as best case standard </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. Multiple systems <ul><li>Ethical audits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Woolworths ethical audits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coles ethical questionnaire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fairtrade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SQFI Ethical sourcing module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rainforest Alliance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Water footprinting </li></ul>
    11. 12. Result <ul><li>More unhappy growers </li></ul><ul><li>Confused consumers </li></ul><ul><li>More work for “us” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thank goodness it’s Friday” </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty attracting and retaining talented trainers, auditors etc </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient? </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable? </li></ul>
    12. 13. Stomach <ul><li>No food </li></ul><ul><li>No systems </li></ul><ul><li>Survival and subsistence </li></ul><ul><li>Who cares about connection with producers..... we’re hungry! </li></ul>
    13. 14. No food – no systems <ul><li>“ for most people in....the rest of the developing world, gaining nourishment – by growing it, trying to find work to earn money to buy it, or simply stealing it – is a struggle every single day .” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tony Fry, Griffith Review 2010 </li></ul></ul>
    14. 16. No food – no systems <ul><li>Local, national and international impacts of climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in supply : demand balance in developed countries </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers might not want so many assurances or labels if they are hungry </li></ul>
    15. 17. No food – no systems <ul><li>Water shortages - Murray-Darling </li></ul><ul><li>1958 Murray-Darling was the centre of “the transfiguration of a continent by irrigation science...” </li></ul><ul><li>Ernestine Hill ‘Water into Gold’ </li></ul><ul><li>Early 1990’s toxic blue-green algae outbreak covering a thousand kms of the river </li></ul>
    16. 18. No food – no systems <ul><ul><li>“ Interstate sales of horticultural products are set to increase with projected supply shortages of a range of products caused by water shortages in eastern Australia” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, 2009 </li></ul></ul>
    17. 19. No food – no systems <ul><li>“ It is critically important that WA horticultural producers retain a dominant position in the domestic market into the future to be able to capture opportunities that will emerge over the next decade . ... opportunities that will arise from global food shortages ....... ” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, 2009 </li></ul></ul>
    18. 20. Result <ul><li>Increased risk – food safety, environmental degradation, hunger </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer not worried about how food is produced </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of control of production </li></ul><ul><li>Civil unrest </li></ul><ul><li>Unsustainable </li></ul>
    19. 21. Heart <ul><li>Best practice comes first </li></ul><ul><li>‘ United’ systems approach – recognition and equivalence </li></ul><ul><li>Single certification opens multiple doors </li></ul><ul><li>Reconnection between producers and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Increased trust and goodwill along the supply chain </li></ul>
    20. 22. Compelling best practice <ul><li>Certification is a painless by-product of what is already happening on farm </li></ul><ul><li>Single label, easily recognisable by consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction of system turf wars </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple rewards - financial, environmental, social </li></ul>
    21. 23. Compelling best practice <ul><li>Focus on best management practice implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-issue approach with appropriate expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Problem – solution efficiently packaged </li></ul>
    22. 25. Compelling best practice <ul><li>“ the second pillar of effective relationships is trust...” </li></ul><ul><li>Greg Foran, Woolworths Ltd NSW </li></ul><ul><li>“ trust is the life blood of an organisation” </li></ul><ul><li>Stephen Covey </li></ul>
    23. 26. Result <ul><li>Sustainable primary production </li></ul><ul><li>Single certification / label </li></ul><ul><li>Supply chain partners trusted and valued </li></ul><ul><li>Goodwill abounds, high emotional bank accounts, resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient </li></ul>
    24. 27. Which future? <ul><li>We decide, whether consciously or not </li></ul>
    25. 28. <ul><li>Success depends on compatibility of cultures, empathy for each other’s businesses, acceptance of each others expectations, mutual trust and motivation to develop relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Major agrifood business, 2010 </li></ul></ul></ul>
    26. 29. <ul><li>Thanks </li></ul><ul><li>Jane Lovell </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>