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The challenge

Current sustainability reporting is inadequate for agribusiness

There are currently no industry norms or globally recognised practices for evaluating and measuring sustainability efforts in agribusiness. 

The private sector, in particular agribusiness, with its strong links to community and the environment, is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 global goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Saline tolerant seeds for dry season cropping

Despite many agribusinesses actively contributing to the SDGs, there are currently no industry norms or globally recognised practices for evaluating and measuring efforts in official reporting, nor any benchmarks available with which to report against. The models used to report on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are not adequate enough to cover the SDGs.

So how do agribusinesses assess their performance against sustainability and/or the SDGs when there are no clear metrics, when there is poor data or the data is repetitive? If agribusiness had a better understanding of how business practices can contribute to sustainable development this might enable changes in business practice .

Our response

Empowering agribusiness to take a lead on delivering the SDGs

Together with our partners, we want to explore how agribusiness actions can translate to SDG progress.

Water access changes women's participation in agriculture

We want to be able to provide frameworks, approaches and insights that enable the private sector to take a leading role in contributing to sustainable development while gaining competitive advantage from their efforts. We know that to develop the metrics and assessments needed requires a systematic and integrated effort across a substantial breadth of expertise.

Right now, our approach is to:

  • Build cross-sectoral partnerships to co-develop approaches and solutions
  • Track private sector performance against SDGs through enhanced understanding and evaluating impact
  • Develop solutions that aim to de-risk CSR and growth strategies through informed sector/activity benchmarking and monitoring
  • Provide full line of sight across SDGs, by looking across business and the value chain (as opposed to current siloed and thus high risk approaches)
  • Empower champions in SDG performance.

The results

It’s a work in progress

Together with partners, we’re setting out to better understand what it is that agribusinesses value, what efforts are currently in place and what is most needed?

CSIRO contributes to the SDGs in many ways, and our longstanding knowledge of agriculture, value chains and food systems innovation combined with expertise in complex monitoring and evaluation (M&E) enables us to navigate the SDGs in a manner that is coherent and impactful.

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