- The person pays a once-off joining fee ($50)
- The person has applied for 5 organic shares at $10 per share
- The person is able to use or contribute to the services of the co-operative
- Is supportive of the overall mission of ORICoop
ORICoop has been in deep conversations with our members, producers, supply chain businesses and investors that are interested in a more sustainable and resilient food and farming system. We are keen to share our learnings – and to ask the question of the future of our food and financial systems. And what is the true colour of money?
Right now – Farmers around the country are innovating and transitioning quickly. Quicker in fact than Governments and Industry bodies realise. They are pressured by commodity prices, by wars overseas, by severe climatic events and rising interest rates. Yet with the current rising inflation – producers are not being paid much more than they were 5 years ago. Despite their costs increasing just like everyone else’s. Perhaps this is our new normal as outlined by The Guardian recently.
The elephant in the room is the consumer. The end buyer. The supermarkets. What people are willing to pay for healthy, local nutritious food. And has this split changed over the past 50 years – with regard to our lifestyles, work-life balance, debt and the priority of food over housing or other lifestyle choices. The deeper realisation of the value of health and how nutrient dense food affects the cost of maintaining good health.
What does this mean for farmers? This means that many producers (dairy and grain growers are good examples) are being asked to grow more volume per hectare of land than ever before. To the detriment of the nutrient density of the food and the land that it’s grown on. With the ambition to increase our agricultural production to over $100B from the National Farmers Federation. On land that is more expensive than ever in history with input and labour costs also at an all time high. And yet – the end price producers are receiving at the farm-gate is not that different to 10 years ago. In no way increasing comparative to the increased costs of food provided to consumers at the supermarket. Or linked to the highly profitable returns of the major supermarkets. The system is broken.
“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” John F Kennedy
So, how do we change this paradigm? Global Domestic Product measures the increase of our economy, yet does it attribute the true cost of this economic measure. Or considering the profitability and productivity opportunity across Agriculture – if we measured this ‘true cost’ paradigm differently. With increased labour costs, some of the highest in the world. How can Australia sustainably grow food comparative to many other countries. Yes with some of the largest swathes of land in the world. Noting New Zealand has a subsidised Pacific Island labour program. Europe has a heavily subsidised agriculture sector. And the US has strong support for commodity based agricultural production systems. Is Australia being left behind? Should we have an incentivised land stewardship package? Or is there a risk we will be priced out of the market? Or have we not demonstrated our clean and green image well enough to the rest of the world? Should we be more focussed on feeding our population before selling into these larger world commodity markets that may actually be part of the overall problem.
ORICoop with our ORCA ‘Farmers Own’ brand is on a bold mission. To provide bulk organic products that streamlines a more efficient organic supply chain. That provides healthier food economically to more people. And ensures that producers are sustainably growing what the market is demanding. Keeping the supply chain efficient, nimble and ensuring that the grower and end buyer understand the different parameters of a complex supply chain.
We are determined to build a stronger domestic organic market. So food travels less distance to more people, is more affordable and has a stronger provenance story. It can be healthier, grown and transported with less of a carbon footprint and more of a conscious understanding of how it was grown. Organic products have market fluctuations based on seasons, based on the capacity to plant or harvest crops. It takes innovative producers to manage significantly different years – from 2019 (severe drought) to the last two years of abundant rainfall and flooding in some regions. What producers need is markets that work with their capacity to grow and innovate. And to ensure that products grown have the best opportunity into the market – not just the perfect looking apples, or premium 14% protein grains or only Autumn flush dairy milk. We must get better at growing, manufacturing and utilising food in a truly sustainable way that ensures we are efficient, less wasteful and understand the planetary boundaries of truly sustainable agriculture.
What does this have to do with the Colour of Money? For many years investors have invested into Agriculture as a straight property investment. Not to underwrite our food security or support transition to better land stewardship practices. What if we used ‘true cost accounting’ to reflect the invisible cost to consumers of ameliorating the cost of the externalities of the industrial food production system? To reconsider the lucrative returns of 12-14% year on year. With the plan to exit after 7-9 years with a real estate property acquisition that includes significant capital growth. They call it ‘ethical impact’. The reality is, most agricultural investments provide a low (3-5%) cash return on investment (ROI) annually with a higher proportion allocated to capital growth – in the range of 5 – 8% annually. But is this model truly sustainable? For our population? Or for the planet?
To underwrite our food security we need to measure capital differently. One that views food security and land stewardship as critical to our very survival. Economically but also metaphorically. Did you know that producers pay a higher rate of interest on farmland (property) than standard interest rates? Even though land is property with property security? The front porch is not very palatable when you’re wanting something to eat, it is a question of priority? Why are producers left to fend for themselves when markets fluctuate and do not always reflect the true cost of food production. If true cost accounting was used in real terms farmers would be considered to be slaves, when considering their net profit (outside of a real estate gain), comparative to other lucrative and increasing wage levels across essential industries. Walden Mutual in the US is a leading example of how investment can be done differently. We need models like this in Australia, urgently.
To change this paradigm, investors must passionately support a fairer food and farm transition with a deeper lense, beyond just a philosophical idea. Investors that are patient and driven by ethical, sustainable and reasonable returns that considers farmers, and the health of the land and the food we eat. Investors that are looking for a co-beneficial relationship that revolutionises food and farm systems in a sustainable and earth centric manner. To invest into food systems that are innovative, multi-layered, diverse and resilient for food, farming and community benefit. Food systems that have short supply chains and are not commoditised for the benefit of the large agri-business sector – but are driven by the needs of our communities. First and foremost.
The ORCA investment Phase 2 is opening for investment shortly. This is an exciting step for ORICoop. It provides opportunity for larger investors to participate in supporting infrastructure investment into localised organic supply chains – infrastructure that enables grain to be processed within shorter distances. Including grain that is grown in a more regenerative and sustainable manner – that includes cover crops, legumes and specialty grains (lupins a prime example). Rather than a commoditised wheat, oat and barley focus that depletes the carbon and nutrient bank in the soil if not managed well, and is significantly affected by world markets. This limits the growth of the organic sector that has much capacity to flourish and expand into these premium niche markets. Australia has more than 55M hectares of farmland that is certified organic farmland. That is more than half the world’s total certified land area. From that land our organic sector is worth more than $3.6B (according to the Australian Organic Market Report), noting the US market has just exceeded US$60 Billion for the first time in history (from less land area). The Australian market is growing at 12-14% annually. What if this increased to $5B annually, or by 20% year on year these dividends were reinvested to improve on-farm knowledge, supply chain knowledge and efficiency with strategic market development? Whilst addressing climate change mitigation, adaption and addressing biodiversity loss as additional dividends. Australia can be a leader in supplying Asian markets and the Middle East for quality organic food and fibre. While looking after our land and our regional communities.
What the food and agriculture sectors need is a new Colour of Capital. One that is driven by urgency, yet patient and compassionate to the seasonality of agriculture and food systems in a changing climate. That understands we are all in this together. Australia must get better at growing and processing local food at scale. Like our forefathers and mothers did. To rebuild and scale efficient and local processing capacity, and to re-energise food production that enhances regions for their climatic and farming strength. And to build and value community driven food systems for the better. To have an innovative investment capacity that exemplifies our strength of markets, our capacity to grow large volumes of product in a sustainable manner, our seasonal diversity and access to land.
The world needs a different Colour of Capital that builds long term impact for the better. If you are interested in finding out more you can complete the EOI here.
Written by Carolyn Suggate,
Executive Director of ORICoop
E – Carolyn’s email
** Photo Credit – David McFall
Greetings to all ORICoop Subscribers,
Woah the rain in the South! Thinking of all the producers that have had a busy period getting crops in before this drenching rain. We, in the snow country and juggling calving cows and snow conditions right now!
A quick update from ORICoop. We have been head down with our ORCA capital raising over the past month and navigating bulk organic grain supply across our National producer and buyer network. Together with expanding the ORCA marketplace to better meet the needs of grain producers, buyers, manufacturers and key expanding grain markets in Australia.
ORCA Investment Opportunity
Have you completed your EOI for Phase 1 of the ORCA investment project? We are proceeding with our investment strategy based on the EOI’s received to date. We have identified key infrastructure opportunities – that will provide more options for the organic grain sector in partnership with some of our key producer members across Southern Australia. This means we will be able to manage and process organic grain more locally and efficiently and increase the diversity of crops that organic producers in the southern states can grow and sell. A win-win outcome!
We have also identified new markets for existing bulk grains which is super exciting for organic grain growers keen to expand their business! We will be in touch with our ORCA members directly regarding organic grain demand and planning for the next season based on this demand. If you are interested in being an ORCA supplier – make sure you contact us at email@example.com (and join ORICoop!)
The three components of the ORICA Phase 1 investment project include:-
Have you heard about ORICoop? We are ambitiously frustrated by the barriers across organic supply chains. For both producers and for buyers, manufacturers and those building strong organic brands. As a National Organic Cooperative – we believe that together we are stronger and can overcome these barriers through a more coordinated and sophisticated approach. Come and join our growing network of over 200 organic producer members. Across States, Commodities and different farming and business systems.
You can join HERE – https://www.organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au/membership/. And include your business in our Member Directory.
As an ORICoop member you get access to:-
Any questions regarding ORICoop membership please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can keep up with our latest news via our blog here – https://www.organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au/blog/
Until next time,
The ORICoop Team
The Australian Organic Market Report (AOMR) 2023 was published last week and the ORICoop team would like to share some insight into the high growth and export potential for Australian organics – and particularly the massive potential of the organic grain industry in Australia
Key update from Organic and Regenerative Investment Co-operative (ORICoop)
ORICoop (Organic & Regenerative Investment Cooperative) has released the details of the ORCA investment project. A project seeded by 5 key organic producers in the Riverina. And has grown into a substantial National project incorporating producers from the Riverina, the Malle to South Australia and stretching to key producers in the Western Australian wheat belt. This has provided a significant understanding of the existing barriers and potential innovative solutions to relocalise organic, sustainable and regenerative grain, to lessen the footprint of grains across the industry and to understand the health benefits of organic food with more transparency and vitality for consumers and farmers alike.
ORCA is the first Farmer Owned organic grain brand. Led by ORICoop, a National Producers Cooperative, that seeks to do business differently. Farmer Led. Business Driven. With Sustainability front and centre in how to grow and diversify markets across the organic sector.
The Australian Organic Market report outlines the increasing demand for clean and green food. With the industry growing 14% year on year and with an increased opportunity to capture these strong markets that are health conscious, sustainably focused, and value the on-farm stewardship practices.
“Across southern Australia there are incredibly innovative grain producers. Managing a diverse climate ranging from highly productive irrigation land in the Riverina, to marginal light sandy country in the Mallee and the Western Australian wheat belt” shares Carolyn, ORICoop Executive Director. To enable these producers to capture the best markets these producers require a diverse mix of market opportunities from livestock feed through to high end premium grain markets. That enables producers to capture premium markets, spread their risk, and to work closely with manufacturers and bulk buyers that are seeking reliable, high quality Australian grown organic grains for their retail products, for a growing and lucrative market.
Through the ORCA seed project funded by Sustainable Table, ORICoop understands what is being grown, what the challenges to these markets are, and where there are better and more profitable markets from the farm gate. One of the key aspects of this project was to identify not just the market barriers – but also the physical barriers in terms of storage, processing and manufacturing capacity for organic products.
The project enables ORICoop to demonstrate how organic grain has specific requirements and why the existing commodity based grain supply chain doesn’t support organic producers. Both in terms of size, capacity and the interest in single origin or select organic grain types for domestic and export.
The next stage for the ORCA project is to co-design and build tailored bespoke infrastructure that is well suited for this mix of grain products that are in high demand from business. That reduces the footprint of the grain industry. And provides a higher level of sustainability and integrity from the farm to the end consumer.
‘‘Just this week we received another export enquiry – for over 50,000T of premium organic grain. That is more than is grown across the whole country currently!’ says Carolyn Suggate, Founder and Director of ORICoop. “What we need is a coordinated approach to sustainably build out the industry and to capture these strong domestic and export markets that value the clean and green food that organic producers are growing. And builds the capacity for more growers to expand their organic enterprises, increase their profitability while diversifying their risk with mixed crop selections.”
Investment into this area must be tailored to the needs of the industry. It is not one size that fits all. It’s bespoke infrastructure and technology, with catalytic capital that is innovative, patient and understands the downside risk of our dependence on large commodity based food and farming systems.
The Australian Organic Industry now covers more than 55M hectares of land, with more land certified in Australia than any country or continent in the world. And the Organic industry is valued at over $2.1B according to the latest market report.
As a National Producer Cooperative we are member based, and our values deeply align with producers and our end buyers. ORICoop invests back into the industry, providing business services to producers with the best potential for strong markets. And sharing the upside value of the supply chain with our network as a National Cooperative. To build out domestic and export markets, spread the risk and expand the opportunity for mutual collective benefit. That is a true Cooperative!
“The time is now for a new paradigm of investing, where growth is not the main indicator for success, but instead we see transformational ecological, social and cultural changes at the pace necessary to arrest the impact of climate.”
Chair, Sustainable Table,
Executive Director, Morris Family Foundation
“The Australian Organic sector is a strong contributor to the Australian economy, representing 0.04% GDP and contributing $851M directing and over $2.6 flow on effects. Australia has 70% of the global land under certified organic management, boosting 53 million hectares and farming revenue expected to nearly triple in the next five years. Our organic sector continues to grow year on year and there is still so much more potential to be realized”
Chief Executive Officer,
Australian Organic Limited
“Michael Coleman, the lawyer working with ORICoop on the investment, sees the ORCA fund as part of the development of more diverse options for investors interested in both profit and sustainability. “Institutional and professional investors are like all of us in seeing and generally welcoming the market’s shift towards technology, innovation and sustainability. Innovative investment options are cropping up everywhere, from retail superannuation funds to private syndicates to click-to-join carbon offset apps. ORICoop as a member-based, not-for-profit organisation is well placed to meet this demand. The ORCA fund is innovative, but it meets the fundamentals – it will own tangible assets that will be directly used by the organic producers the organisation exists to serve, and generate a return for both members and investors.”
‘The ORICoop ORCA project is tailor-made to bring together organic producers to develop an organic food supply chain that will benefit all Australians and overseas consumers. The development of ORCA seems very timely in a world where high quality, certified and healthy food is produced and delivered in a reliable and cost- effective manner.’
Partner, Audit & Assurance
Thomas, Noble & Russell (TNR)
ORICoop represents businesses across Australia that are interested in tapping into the world of healthy, planet friendly, sustainable food and farming systems. Enabling food and agriculture to provide resilience and profitability in our regional economies. To lessen the footprint in our production systems. And to increase the profitability and market capacity for organic and sustainable food into domestic and export markets. We invite you to complete an Expression of Interest to get involved in our mission.
To find out more or register for the EOI see link here https://organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au/invest/
0448 778 074
Images are available upon request
The carbon credit ledger that is actively supporting local producers?
A new type of carbon credit has taken off in Australia, with the first set of credits quickly being snapped up by buyers keen to reduce their carbon footprint, and know the story behind each of the credits generated.
Eco-CreditsTM are the very first fully farmer-owned carbon credits in Australia, representing not only one tonne of carbon drawdown per credit, but the tireless efforts of local farmers actively improving their on-farm biodiversity and local ecosystems as a whole.
Victorian organic dairy farmers Stephen & Jo Ellen Whitsed and family have produced the first set of EcoCredits sold by ORICoop, and are already seeing the benefits they can bring not only to themselves, but fellow producers.
“The more credits sold, the more that assists farmers in their transition to better, which means more money directly into farmer’s pockets,” Stephen said.
While Stephen and his family had already been focusing on increasing the carbon levels in his soil, he believes the income from Eco-CreditsTM could encourage those new to the organic, regenerative agricultural space to improve their farming practices even more.
“We were farming that way anyway, we bought a Soil-Kee Renovator, we were using that to increase multi-species planted into our soil, while also increasing carbon for the overall benefit of our soil,” Stephen said.
“If you’ve got higher carbon levels, you’ve got a better soil, you hold more moisture in your soil for longer so you don’t need to irrigate as often. That’s a big cost savings for us especially this year when we start to irrigate with the increased price of diesel. We were heading down the path of improving our soils even though we were organic, and increasing our carbon, and when the opportunity came to get paid for our carbon credits, well we were doing it anyway and it’s a great opportunity, so we jumped at it,” he said.
“If we could potentially diversify our income from selling carbon credits we may not milk as many cows, because we currently milk 160 cows on 160 acres, so we’re pushing our country especially under an organic method. So we may reduce our stock levels back a little bit which in turn helps your soil with your farm anyway. And for the person that’s just starting afresh, it’s certainly something that you’d change your farm practice and head that way.”
Stephen has four soil dedicated testing zones on his properties in the region, which undergo annual soil testing. By design, Eco-CreditsTM avoids many of the greenwashing and double-dipping claims made for some conventional carbon credits. They are also future-proofed for potential soil carbon changes due to seasonal variation, or natural disasters such as the flooding, fire, and debris from storms faced by Stephen on his family farm based at the headwaters of the Murray River.
“Around half the EcoCredits we’ve produced are kept in our buffer reserve in case our carbon levels decrease in a specific year. The Eco-Credits are verified each year, and the footprint of each farm is factored into the number of credits that are released to the market. This ensures that each farm considers it’s footprint before releasing any credits to the marketplace. The environment certainly plays a part in it or if something happens and you have a drought or a fire or a flood or whatever it might be, there is potentially a concern as to reducing carbon levels” Stephen said.
For more information, or to purchase EcoCredits to meet your business offset goals whilst supporting local organic producers bettering their communities and the environment, click here. Or contact ORICoop directly for more information.
Email – email@example.com
With recent questions over the legitimacy of the Australian carbon offset scheme, it’s never been more important that carbon emissions are offset with legitimate credits and are free of greenwashing.
Unfortunately, few offerings in the market consider the natural environmental variables faced by the landowners generating the credits, and have the data transparency and accuracy required to inspire confidence that the investment is actually achieving its drawdown goal.
The farmer-owned credits are backed by extensive data collection and have been developed in accordance with the conditions, biodiversity and operations of each farm they’re provided by. Their transparency of data and the ability to directly purchase Eco-Credits from each farm means investors avoid the greenwashing associated with other carbon credit offerings.
ORICoop EO Carolyn Suggate said ‘All farms are assessed as to their suitability for the program, based on their existing farming practices, the area of the farm and the intentions of future management.’
“We don’t want producers to be at risk from any carbon credit program, to overstate their carbon drawdown, or to be exposed by a natural disaster or severe weather event should the carbon levels in their soil or biodiversity decrease,” Ms Suggate said.
These limits are a key part of the design- providing investor security, and lessening the risk of overstating any values, especially following farming challenges or natural disasters that can negatively impact soil carbon improvement efforts such as the extensive flooding occurring throughout NSW and QLD recently.
“Through a collective of the credits, ORICoop’s specialist advisory committee oversees each of the credit applications and validation reports. This includes assessing the management practices, the land management zones, the footprint of the farm business plus the soil testing and results. For each project we determine suitable buffers that enable producers to bank a portion of their credits – the credits are validated annually, and depending on buffer limits, a portion is liquidated at the producer’s discretion,” Ms Suggate said.
Each Eco-Credit represents 1 tonne of CO2 drawdown, in addition the credits represent measures each local organic producer has undertaken to actively improve soil carbon, water efficiency and biodiversity within their properties and farming practices.
“If it turns out that ACCU projects are not delivering contracted reductions, despite high costs of participation, that’s the worst of both worlds. Hopefully the regulator will improve market integrity, and not just by adding more layers of consultant reports,” Mr Coleman said.
“A simpler, more transparent certification process, with low verification costs, can also offer greater integrity. Certification gets done and reported in a way all users understand and accept. Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) should be designed with that in mind, which is what ORICoop has set out to achieve.”
Iain Smale, of Pangolin & Associates, said the Eco Credit will be popular for investors by providing other options for carbon credits which also offer a local impact, which is especially important given per-capita carbon emissions in Australia are amongst some of the highest in the world.
“With the Eco-Credit, you’re having a bigger environmental impact than just a carbon credit,” he said.
The environmental impact of our producer operations is key for Australian-owned organic dairy processor & manufacturer Paris Creek Farms. Paris Creek Farms’ Marketing & Communications Manager Alex Donovan said they are committed to increasing the sustainability of their operations, actively working with their producers to achieve this with Eco-Credits initially playing a vital part.
“With bio-dynamic and organic practices, we’re already using one of the most sustainable and regenerative methods of farming in the world, but we are striving to be even more sustainable. Our ultimate goal is to have our farmers generating their own Eco-Credits,” Ms Donovan said.
Ms Suggate said there are many ways the agriculture sector is transitioning beyond net-zero, and that collaboration to improve trust, legitimacy and the urgency for improving how sustainably we produce food is vital, especially after considering the ‘business as usual’ impact on the environment and the urgency of our changing climate as seen recently by some of the worst floods in history.
“We need science to be well funded to enable technology to be more accessible and trusted across the industry. This includes the measurement capability, satellite data, plus legitimate footprint data for farms across all commodities,” Ms Suggate said.
“In the meantime, our organic farming ORICoop members are dedicated to measuring and validating their soil tests and farm footprint. As their credits are validated, these producers form part of the organic farming ecosystem that invests into best practice, research and sustainability programs through a legitimate farmer-led carbon credit based on international guidelines,” she said.
“That includes soil carbon and biodiversity, rewarding producers for sustainable land stewardship practices, while offering these credits to businesses looking to offset their carbon footprint with legitimate credits that are traceable back to each farm that has generated them.”
If your business is committed to achieving net-zero, offset your carbon emissions directly with credits you can trust – register here now.
The Eco-CreditTM scheme was created by the Organic and Regenerative Investment Cooperative (ORICoop), which aims to unite the food value chain and increase the uptake of organic and regenerative practices across Australia by increasing collaboration between farmers, businesses and consumers.
Eco-CreditTM buyers can now offset their existing carbon footprint, with full transparency as to where and how each credit is generated and determine other environmental co-benefits, by visiting https://www.organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au/services/Eco-Credit
Each Eco-CreditTM represents 1 tonne of CO2 positive emission drawdown, validated annually through rigorous testing, and are provided by ORICoop’s organic, net-positive regenerative farmers who run diverse farm businesses including dairy, cropping, livestock and mixed farming systems.
ORICoop EO Carolyn Suggate said that the Eco-CreditTM concept was developed by ORICoop in conjunction with farmers looking to advance farm system approaches to provide safe, secure and affordable food with a regenerative ecological impact.
‘The scheme links those farmers to external buyers, be that corporate, small business or Mum’s and Dad’s keen to play a role and do their bit in fostering sustainable practices and reducing their own carbon footprints’ Ms Suggate said. To activate carbon drawdown urgently we need all contributors to be empowered to participate.
Victorian farmer Stephen Whitsed is the first ORICoop producer to offer Eco-CreditsTM to the market, and aside from the environmental benefits can see immediate environmental, CSR, and other economic benefits for businesses, producers and local communities.
”It’s an environmentally-friendly credit that rewards organic producers and builds stronger connections between businesses and our on-farm practices that enable carbon benefits to be exchanged. As organic producers we are looking forward to demonstrating our on-farm practices that are increasing carbon drawdown and legitimise better environmental stewardship for the long term,” Mr Whitsed said.
Mr Whitsed said the Eco-Credit process is straightforward for farmers and ‘definitely beneficial’ to his farm and environmental management, and hopes investors will benefit from their transition beyond net-zero and the planetary impact.
“The validation process is through soil testing every year, including GPS points to ensure we soil test in the same place every year. Following that we send the soil samples to a laboratory to be tested, and wait for the results,” he said.
Farmer and organic industry advocate and researcher, Greg Paynter, sees a range of benefits the Eco-Credit scheme will provide, including environmental and ecosystem functioning, farm viability and improved social and mental health outcomes for farmers where stress is alleviated by the additional revenue stream provided by the scheme as a reward for best practice land stewardship.
“It’s a dividend that doesn’t come from production output, it comes from a different stream, the productive and regenerative capacity of the land,” Mr Paynter said.
“In Australia, we are striving for $100 billion worth of production from agriculture annually, but our understanding of the research that comes out of Canada, a very similar country to Australia, is they produce that amount, but 98% of it goes into the cost of production or services to provide that production, so the net profit or return on investment of effort is not very high,” he said.
“But if you value land stewardship and make it worth something, the production of food or fibre you get from the land is a reward and you do it in a manner of organic and regenerative production systems, that conserves the basis of the production system into the future. There is talk of only 60 harvests left in some places in Europe and the soil will be destroyed, so we need to act with urgency – and what the Eco-CreditTM does is offer an incentive to do something whilst still maintaining a living.”
Fourth generation Western Australian farmer and agroecological farm system advocate Mr David McFall said the Eco-CreditTM project links businesses who want to do better, and rewards practices to adjust to the changing climate that are not seen to be outwardly ‘commercial’, especially natural capital management like tree planting, increasing biodiversity and soil carbon and water works for habitat and land cooling.
“This is one mechanism that is farmer-derived and farmer-led. It ticks the boxes in terms of accessibility and linking people who have capacity with people who want to do things in the landscape,” Mr McFall said.
“It’s a journey we’re doing for very practical reasons, there’s farmers like Stephen Whitsed and myself who want to do better, but the ‘do better’ that’s asked of farmers is not necessarily an upfront conventional outcome. So this mechanism takes the risk out of the investment and becomes a shared journey as it connects people who want to see good done, but are perhaps urban-based or don’t have access to land, develop partnerships with a farmer,” he said.
“Each farmer is motivated at different levels, and the intelligence behind this system is that it’s not just carbon, it’s approaching it from an ecosystems services platform – that’s embracing revegetation, and in time will embrace cleaner water and air, and keeps toxic substances out of our food and agricultural production systems.”
Iain Smale, of Pangolin Associates, feels the release of the Eco-CreditTM will be popular for businesses, providing alternative options for carbon credits. He also expects they will raise awareness of the growing organic and regenerative agricultural industry in Australia working to capture carbon and mitigate the key drivers of climate change, which is especially important given per-capita carbon emissions in Australia are amongst some of the highest in the world.
“With the Eco-CreditTM, you’re having a bigger environmental impact than just a carbon credit,” Mr Smale said.
“Australia as a nation in the developed world has close to the highest per capita emissions. Per person it’s around 23-24 tonnes, NZ is around half that, and a lot of Europe is less than half that. It’s because Australia has two main drivers – we’re heavily reliant on fossil fuel, coal and gas generation and it’s the tyranny of distance – people have a lot of transport miles, including for heavy transport, trains and trucks, and we don’t have any high speed rail, so much of our economy is based on fossil fuel,” he said,
**. To buy Eco-CreditsTM, register HERE
** To follow the Eco-Credit journey of this and other farms click HERE
Eco-Credits is a nationwide scheme open to organic and biodynamic producers. Other ORICoop farmers will shortly be stating their pledges and looking to develop partnerships with businesses and processors associated with their farm.