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Beyond the Bale : Feb - Mar 08 Supplement
ECO-TRENDS SUPPLEMENT BEYOND THE BALE 15 SUSTAINABILITY The Australian wool industry's aim is a positive worldwide reputation for its animal husbandry practices based on producing healthy and contented animals. Not only is it better for the animals, but it is a sound economic basis for doing business. AWI works directly and in partnership with a number of industry organisations to proactively manage animal welfare issues. While the quest to find alternatives to mulesing and better blowfly control has a high profile, AWI is helping the industry on a number of fronts. Better nutrition, better management of pests and diseases and better management of sheep in drought conditions all improve the welfare of sheep. The industry is investing in training and accreditation programs for various animal- management procedures. AWI supports and participates in these activities, including the development of codes of practice for shedded sheep to produce ultra-fine wool. AWI ensures all its research projects involving animals are carried out in line with animal welfare codes and are approved by relevant ethics committees. Showcasing our environmental credentials Landleader is a voluntary program that aims to identify and promote the environmental and livestock stewardship credentials of the wool and red-meat industries. Landleader specifically sets out to capture and demonstrate the incremental improvements producers are making through on-farm practice change. A 2007 pilot Landleader program invited producers to complete a process which gathered data about everyday on-farm environmental and livestock management practices. This data will be aggregated to build a national profile of the Australian grazing industry's environmental management practices to enable the industry to demonstrate its credentials to natural resource regulators, community groups and domestic and international markets. Producers who participated in the 2007 pilot program received a confidential, customised report that compares reported practices to industry best practice. This year sees the involvement of catchment management authorities and regional natural resource management boards. If you would like to be involved in the 2008 Landleader program (starting in February 2008) please contact Clare Hamilton on 02 6379 1359 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may have been on an airline flight recently and noticed that your ticket price included "carbon offsets" and therefore you were making minimal impact in terms of greenhouse emissions. How can anyone make that claim without drastically changing the current technology of jet propulsion? The answer is carbon trading. Australia has signalled its intention to implement a national greenhouse emissions trading scheme by 2010, but where the Australian livestock industry fits within such a trading framework is still to be resolved. As an Australia Farm Institute discussion report The new challenge for Australian agriculture -- how do you muster a paddock of carbon? states, "... it will be essential that agriculture has available a range of recognised offset opportunities and measures to assist the [Australian agricultural] sector in maintaining its international competitiveness." The paper also highlights an urgent need for a practical approach to accounting for carbon and carbon offsets.The relevance to the wool industry, whether you are an environmental acolyte or a pragmatic risk manager, is that consumers are more aware of climate change than ever before and the need to mitigate future impacts is very strong. Agricultural activities were highlighted as a significant greenhouse gas contributor. Methane from sheep and cattle accounts for approximately 40 per cent of agricultural emissions -- about 25 per cent of methane emissions are from sheep and 75 per cent from cattle. AWI is being proactive in ensuring that wool-growing enterprises are not disadvantaged in any national trading scheme and that any potential technologies that can improve our carbon footprint in a realistic manner are pursued and communicated to the wider public. In partnership with other industry organisations, AWI is investing to gain a better understanding of: ú the economic impacts of carbon trading on agriculture; ú the net carbon balance of wool production systems by accounting for all sources and sinks for greenhouse gases; ú the mechanisms and accounting rules that will be applied under Australia's carbon-trading system; and ú the potential of cost-effectively reducing methane emissions from sheep. More information: www.farminstitute.org.au, www.carbon-view.com, www.greenhouse.gov.au WOOL PRODUCTION AND OUR CUSTOMERS The unanimous industry decision in 2004 to end mulesing by 2010 was made at a meeting of industry representative groups. This decision was a response to customer demands. The industry directed AWI to increase funding for the development of alternatives to conventional mulesing to protect sheep from flystrike in order to meet that deadline. The Australian Wool and Sheep Industry Taskforce has kept retailers closely informed about changes within the industry, including regular updates on the R&D to find an alternative to mulesing, and improvements to the existing practice, including the National Mulesing Assurance Program (NMAP), which provides accreditation for mulesing operators. The taskforce has committed to provide ongoing support for retailers through a declaration of commitments to the US Retail Federation and a compact with the British Retail Consortium. The mulesing issue has rekindled conversations between woolgrowers and retailers that had not been happening for some time. ú More information: www.woolisbest.com Greenhouse gas and carbon trading Australia has signalled its intention to implement a national greenhouse emissions trading scheme by 2010, but where the Australian livestock industry fits within such a trading framework is still to be resolved.
Dec - Jan 08
Feb - Mar 08