The Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF) stands as a landmark initiative that emerged in 2020, fuelled by collective efforts from diverse stakeholders in the agricultural industry. 

Spearheaded by the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and funded through a grant under the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Stewardship Scheme, the AASF aims to address the challenges faced by primary producers in participating in various sustainability-related programs.

During the discovery phase, stakeholder feedback highlighted the complexity, cost and difficulty that primary producers encounter when engaging with multiple biodiversity initiatives. To tackle these barriers, an extensive consultation and research process was undertaken, involving representatives from supply chain partners, primary producers, government bodies, financiers and industry organisations.

The outcome of this collaborative research revealed that biodiversity was only a fragment of a larger issue confronting Australian agriculture. Thus, a more viable approach involved developing a comprehensive sustainability framework that could connect existing and emerging programs, providing a unified voice for the entire agricultural sector. And so, the proposal for the AASF was born.

Throughout 2021 to 2023, six delivery partners collaborated with the NFF to advance the development of this pioneering whole-of-Australian agriculture framework. 

The NFF continues to lead the ongoing development and testing of the AASF, joined by project delivery partners: the Australian Farm Institute (AFI), CSIRO, KPMG, Schuster Consulting Group and ERM (Environmental Resources Management Australia).

Industry engagement remains at the forefront of this process, with efforts to align the AASF with existing domestic sustainability initiatives and further validate its value proposition.