Sustainability is at the heart of Australian farming. 

Producing food and fibre sustainably means practicing responsible stewardship of the environment, caring for our people and animals and ensuring economic resilience for the community and industry.

Aligned to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, the Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF) is the first country-specific tool to articulate the sustainability of Australian agriculture on a whole-of-industry basis.

The AASF sets out a unified understanding of sustainability objectives through a standard set of themes, principles and criteria. The themes encompass environmental stewardship, wellbeing of people, animals and the community, and bolstering economic resilience. By aligning sector-specific and supply chain terminology, the AASF fosters stakeholder coherence and enables better communication of industry-wide sustainability goals.

Meeting the growing demand for evidence of sustainability credentials from both international and domestic markets, the AASF helps the Australian agriculture secure expand trade opportunities while maintaining its social license. Moreover, it prepares the industry for upcoming sustainability reporting requirements such as the those that may come from the Taskforces for Climate-Related and Nature-Related Financial Disclosures.

In addition to supporting commodity frameworks like dairy, beef and sugar, which cater to specific international markets and supply chains, the AASF further enhances the industry’s credibility by aligning with globally recognised sustainability schemes and standards.

As a powerful communication tool, the AASF emphasises the economic aspects influenced by ESG considerations, bringing significant benefits to the economy and the industry. Such benefits include shaping the narrative on agricultural sustainability in international forums, establishing a consistent language for sustainability discussions, presenting a unique value proposition in competitive global markets, and enhancing trade and consumer confidence in both domestic and export markets.

The AASF’s current version identifies 17 overarching sustainability principles, under the themes of environmental stewardship, people, animals, community, and economic resilience. The principles, representing the desired outcomes for the industry, are underpinned by 43 criteria, which outline the essential conditions that uphold each principle. Notably, the AASF adopts a ‘continuum’ approach, treating all elements of the framework as part of a spectrum for comprehensive whole-of-industry sustainability reporting. It is important to note that the AASF is not currently designed for certification or compliance but rather articulates the sustainability of Australian agriculture on a national basis.