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Key decision-makers from the horticulture, technology, transport and retail sectors gathered in Sydney recently to discuss the levers that need to be pulled for the horticulture industry to be more sustainable now and into the future.

Following on from the release of the Australian-Grown Sustainability Framework last year, the Rural Research and Development Corporation and Hort Innovation teamed up with the International Fresh Produce Association to host an inaugural Horticulture Sustainability Summit to help inform annual reporting against a range of measures.

Hort Innovation General Manager of Stakeholder Experience Dr Anthony Kachenko said the summit marked a shift in industry priorities.

“The Australian horticulture industry is seeing sustainability as a tangible, achievable and necessary part of their businesses. Ten years ago, sustainability – from environmental management and waste minimisation to workforce development – did not get the same consideration it does today,” he said.

“This rise in sustainable business practices is driven by a growing collective conscience that is felt by not only growers but also the consumers they serve and those that invest in their businesses.”

Best-practice approaches already being applied by industry businesses were discussed at the summit, along with what is working, what is not and how that can be harnessed to create annual sustainability reporting for the industry as a whole.

The information gathered at the Summit will help form part of the Australian-grown Horticulture Sustainability Report, a reporting document providing baseline data aligned with the focus areas within The Sustainability Framework. Key focus areas include Nourish and Nurture, People and Enterprise, Planet and Resources and Less Waste, which consider the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers strategic investment funding arm. The inaugural report is expected to be completed in October.

For more information, access the Australian-Grown Sustainability Framework here.