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Aussie livestock producer talks sustainability at the UN

Beef Central, 22/09/2022

An Australian organics industry consultant and beef producer is heading to Geneva, Switzerland next week to present to an international audience on Sustainability Standards in the meat and livestock sectors.

Her address comes amid the current focus on environmental claims and “greenwashing.”

As part of the United National Economic Commission for Europe’s seminar on Sustainable Meat and Livestock Production, Queensland Angus producer Marg Will will outline the case for Standards around sustainability claims.

Marg Will

“Here in Australia, we have just seen the ACCC highlight the need to substantiate environmental claims and being compliant to a standard assists with that process” she said.

“Experience in the organic food sector has taught us that consumers look for logos associated with standards, however the logos and the Standards that underpin the logos need to have rigour.”

Ms Will supports any standards that give premiums to producers and processors and believes the emergence of Sustainable Standards will create better consumer confidence around such claims.

“Ultimately it’s about delivering real value and trust with consumers,” she said.

“But first we really need to look at what is sustainability in its broadest sense.  If we apply ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) thinking to how we define sustainability as food producers, particularly meat and livestock, we can really utilise the positive data and technology advantages around emissions reductions, carbon sequestration and build strong industries for the future.”

“By utilising best practice tools that already exist, such as the IPCC for GHG emissions, and the incoming IFRS for financial reporting, the meat and livestock sectors can start to build strong evidence of positive and continual improvement for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.”

Ms Will said while many producers and processors are doing “the right thing”, gathering data and verifying that data would help provide an insurance against any future production restrictions.

But she urges caution when looking to implement standards at a legislative level.

“Market access issues have arisen in the Organics Industry, where, as each country has developed standards, regional variances have contributed to different interpretations, and potentially caused disruptions to trade. When developing Sustainability standards, consideration of an independent approach is needed,” she said.

Ms Will also highlighted the need for producers and processors to be involved.

“I guess I’ve spent a fair amount of my life around cattle yards and know first-hand just how important practical experience is when looking at developing standards. It’s a huge honour to be invited to the UN and I hope I can bring that practical knowledge to my presentation,” she said.

Ms Will the chief executive officer of Organic Systems & Solutions, advising businesses on transitioning to Certified Organic and sustainable production. She has participated in numerous standards-setting committees globally over the past 20 years, including Animal Welfare, Bio Security, Food Safety, Cosmetics and Organic.

Ms Will is a member of the Certified Sustainable Standards Board, and in addition to breeding registered Angus cattle, is currently studying for a master’s in business law.

She is a Member of Standards Australia Committee FT-032, Organic & Biodynamic Products and a Member of the Standards Australia CS-108 for ISO TC217, Cosmetic Definitions – Organic & Natural.

She is a former general manager of an Australian Organic Certification body, and has assisted governments within Australia and overseas in implementing regulations.

 

 

 

 

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  1. Don Nicol, 22/09/2022

    Go well Marg

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