As a community of solvers, we’re proud to support philanthropic organisation, the Macdoch Foundation. Working together to build a more financially prosperous, climate-resilient and decarbonising Australian agricultural sector.
Feeding 25 million people and contributing $73 billion to the economy, Australia’s agricultural sector is critical to the prosperity of the country, and the health of our communities. And its value extends beyond our borders. The resilience and reach of Australia’s agricultural supply chain provides a secure food source, with the sector well positioned to help address global food security issues, and assist the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in reaching its target of zero hunger by 2030.
However, the sector faces escalating challenges. Agriculture production is responsible for 13% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions annually, and is being impacted by a range of climate threats. Concerns include drought and flood, effects on annual crop yield, a likely increase in the frequency and severity of bushfires, as well as impacts on the quality of soil and loss of biodiversity. Australia’s agriculture sector must establish a new roadmap, with urgency, that helps producers reduce emissions, and embed sustainable and resilient practices in their businesses.
PwC Australia is supporting the Macdoch Foundation to bring together a community of solvers across Australia’s agricultural and related sectors, to build support for agriculture as a climate change solution. The program, Farming for the Future is solving in unexpected ways. The concept takes principles of natural capital accounting and economics (bringing natural capital into the balance sheet) to provide a more holistic view of farm operations, with practical insights and tools to support producers in creating more profitable and resilient farm businesses, and deliver positive environmental and economic outcomes for the community. Through a bold vision evolving the business of farming for economic and environmental benefits, the Foundation is creating a pathway for transition and transformation. Together, we’re helping producers, the supply chain and broader ecosystem take steps towards a more rewarding future, economically and environmentally.
Michelle Gortan, CEO, Macdoch Foundation
If the industry is to continue to thrive, PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour believes it’s everyone’s responsibility in the sector to work together to deliver these sustained outcomes, “helping producers maximise both environmental and business outcomes with a model where commercial and environmental factors are intertwined.”
Tom says there’s a “sweet spot”, where farmers can be more profitable and resilient, while significantly contributing to the regeneration of Australian landscapes and natural resources. As an example, “producers are already sequestering carbon within soil,” he says. “One of the most promising nature-based solutions to climate change.”
Large-scale research is key to the relationship between natural resource functionality and profitability, and the absence of it – delivered in practical terms with supporting tools – has made it challenging for producers, their advisors and the supply chain to quantify and evaluate the investment into natural capital. A large-scale undertaking, across the entire Australian agriculture supply chain, aims to equip industry with the knowledge and tools to manage natural capital more effectively, and be rewarded for it. “We need national, statistically significant, actionable insights quantifying the current and potential relationship between natural resources and farm profitability, and other producer objectives to ensure that the 51% of our producers and productive landscapes are well placed to meet the challenges of a changing climate,” Michelle says. “This is an important part of supporting regional and rural producers, their workers and their communities’ transition in a decarbonising world.”
For traditional farming models, research is key to creating practical insights to quantify investment in better outcomes. This large-scale undertaking, bringing together a community of solvers from across the entire Australian agriculture supply chain, aims to equip industry with the knowledge and tools to manage natural capital more effectively, and be rewarded for it.
This will help catalyse the creation of relevant, human-led and tech-powered practical tools for meaningful engagement with farmers, benefiting their long-term decisions for greater profitability, resiliency and sustainability. The program will engage the supply chain, providing producers with agency, efficacy and understanding in relation to their businesses that deliver greater long-term benefits. Producers will be rewarded for their robustness in accelerating this shift with measurable environmental, financial and social returns. In return, receiving “a greater institutional investment, lower insurance premiums or more favourable bank loans,” Tom says.
The evidence-based, collaborative approach underpinned through shared learnings will lead the way in defining Australian agriculture as we target net zero. Improving soil health, plants and animals, water quality, ecomomic resilience and the wellbeing of farmers. These outcomes will create healthier farmlands and ecosystems, thriving regional and rural communities, while mitigating climate change, and improving the quality and reliability of food and fibre production. Farming for the Future is a lens for shared understanding of the complex system that benefits everyone from farm to table.
That’s The New Equation for Australia’s agriculture industry.
The Macdoch Foundation Limited (Macdoch Foundation) is a philanthropic foundation established by the MacLeod family in November 2019. The purpose of the foundation is to build the resilience of people and the planet. In order to deliver on its purpose, it works with people in the areas of:
The Farming for the Future program is the Macdoch Foundation’s commitment to building a prosperous and climate-resilient agricultural sector. It will work in partnership with other philanthropic funders, industry bodies, non-profit organisations, government and industry partners to realise this program.
PwC has made a worldwide science-based commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. The commitment includes supporting our clients to reduce their emissions, as well as reducing those from the PwC network’s operations and suppliers. PwC commits to decarbonise its operations in line with independently validated science-based targets (including its travel footprint) and to neutralise its remaining climate impact through carbon-removal projects. It will also engage its suppliers to help them tackle their climate impact. In addition, PwC has been a member of RE100 since 2018. RE100 is a global movement of businesses committed to transition to 100% renewable electricity.
We recognise the importance of actively reducing the climate impact of our operational footprint now. That’s why, as we work towards net zero in 2030, to mitigate our impacts today, we'll continue to offset our emissions through high-quality carbon credits. In 2008, PwC Australia was the first professional services firm to be carbon neutral certified under the Australian Government’s voluntary Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Organisations (formerly National Carbon Offset Standard). We’re proud to continue our carbon neutral certification today. More information is available on our Environment & Sustainability page.
Director, PwC Australia
National Economics & Policy Leader, PwC Australia
Manager, PwC Australia