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2019 Spring - Managing agriculture’s ecosystem services

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FPJ1603C - Williams et al (2019), Harmonisation of on-farm metrics for sustainability assessment of Australian agricultural industries

Williams, J, Smith, R, Ball, A, Reid, N & Kahn, L (2019), Harmonisation of on-farm metrics for sustainability assessment of Australian agricultural industries, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 16, no. 3, Spring 2019, pp. 15-22, Surry Hills, Australia.

A growing number of national and international sustainable agriculture certification/recognition schemes, often referencing Best Management Practices (BMPs), are being developed with the aim of improving agricultural practices and recognising and rewarding land managers who can demonstrate steps towards minimising their environmental footprint. This development is being driven largely by environmentally conscious consumers and social license considerations, and the need to build resilient production systems in the face of increasing climate variability. However, with an increasing number of recognition and compliance schemes comes greater complexity in measurement and reporting. In many instances, metrics are not independently scientifically validated, resulting in consumer scepticism in the messages being communicated. In order to decrease complexity and increase buy-in, there is a need for a harmonised, national reporting scheme for sustainable agriculture recognition that sits across industries, is scientifically validated, aligns with international conventions and provides consumers with an independent and trustworthy data source for product comparison. 

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