Sustainability summit Hort innovation 2022

Key decision-makersfrom the horticulture, technology, transport and retail sectors gathered for the inaugural Horticulture Sustainability Summitas part of an industry-wide effort to improve sustainability.

The Summit, hosted by the Rural Research and Development Corporation, Hort Innovation and theInternational Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), followed the release of theAustralian-Grown Sustainability Framework in 2021 and was held to help inform annual reporting against a range of measures.

Attendees discussed the levers that need to be pulled for the horticulture industry to be more sustainable in the short- and long-term. Hort Innovation general manager of stakeholder experience Anthony Kachenko said the event marked a shift in industry priorities.

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

More than 50 industry representatives attended the Summit in Sydney with many sharing their sustainability journey and best-practice approaches.

IFPA ANZ chief executive Darren Keating said while IFPA, and others including major companies, may have sustainability policies in place, it was important to get everyone in the horticulture industry on the same page and share learnings wherever possible.

“When it comes to protecting the stewardship of our land, our people and our local and global reputations, there should be no competition between business’, just a collective agreement that we are all doing whatever we can to move in a positive direction,” said Keating.

The information gathered at the Summit will help form part of the Australian-grown Horticulture Sustainability Report, an inaugural reporting document that provides baseline data aligned with the focus areas within the Sustainability Framework. The report is expected to be completed in October 2022.