Industry Forum an opportunity for discussion about the SSF’s development

Industry Forum an opportunity for discussion about the SSF’s development

July 01 2024


The Sheep Sustainability Framework’s second Industry Forum was held in Sydney in March 2024.

Leading industry members from the sheepmeat and wool value chains held discussions on how the Sheep Sustainability Framework (SSF) is informing its investments and activities at its second Industry Forum.

More than 40 internal stakeholders attended the event in Sydney in March, including representatives from Sheep Producers Australia, WoolProducers Australia, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), LiveCorp, Animal Health Australia and other peak industry bodies and Frameworks.

The event was used as an opportunity to understand how the SSF is being embedded within industry policy and activities, evaluate progress against areas identified for improvement from the previous annual report and provide an update on the Framework’s progress against its Strategic Plan.

Early insights were also presented from the Framework’s second materiality assessment which will inform its future development and prioritise focus on the most important topics affecting industry’s sustainability, based on their influence on customer and investor decision-making.

Angus Gidley-Baird, Chair of the SSF Board and Senior Animal Protein Analyst for RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, set the scene for the day, reinforcing the need for effective sustainability reporting to support market opportunities for industry.

“There has been a significant shift in momentum and drivers to sustainability commitments coming from the value chain, customers and investors, with a demand and expectation of demonstrable performance and progress,” Mr Gidley-Baird said.

“The Frameworks, including the SSF, provide insurance for industry and businesses in demonstrating industry credentials with critical metrics and evidence that can be used to meet these demands.

“It is also important for customers and investors to also work with industry to identify the correct metrics for reporting their sustainability credentials.”

Two key discussions were held on some of the Framework’s most important metrics - industry adoption of pain relief for husbandry procedures and prevalence of producers undertaking training or completing a carbon account to understand their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Updates were also provided on key activities supporting these topics by representatives from MLA and AWI.

Many in the room agreed that industry had made great strides in voluntarily utilising pain relief for painful animal husbandry procedures, and this should be celebrated, however, increased adoption continues to remain a focus.

The carbon landscape on the other hand, is a quickly developing space and it is important to continue to build industry capability and leadership in this area. The SSF is currently evaluating its reporting of GHG emissions and understanding whether it needs to include any additional metrics in this area to help support industry understanding. The day concluded with updates on the Framework’s progress against its Strategic Plan. Dr Scott Williams, Chair of the SSF Steering Group, emphasised the importance of the Industry Forum in shaping the development of the Framework.

“The Industry Forum provides a valuable opportunity for key industry decision-makers to discuss and reflect on information being provided by the SSF,” Dr Williams said.

“The SSG will be working hard to implement the findings of its materiality assessment and ensure it remains focused on what is most important.

“It is critical the industry understands, and continues to have strong input into, the Framework so that it remains a trusted scorecard of our industry’s sustainability credentials, and the data it provides is leveraged to support the development of our sector.”