Natural capital accounts provide new possibilities for farmers

Lower interest rates, access to new markets, habitat credits, stewardship payments, increased property values, building resilience to climate change, improved data and knowledge to inform management decisions…

These are just some of the many possibilities farmers could seize in the future should they be part of La Trobe’s Natural Capital Accounting Project in collaboration with BCG – and it isn’t as far off as you think.

Clothing brands such as Patagonia and luxury fashion house Kering (owner of brands such as Gucci) are now exclusively buying their fibres from sustainable sources. Initiatives such as the Better Cotton Initiative are also paving the way for clothing to be made more sustainability with Adidas, Nike, H&M, Zara, Levi’s all members of the initiative. Natural Capital Accounting Project lead researcher Dr Jim Radford, from La Trobe University, believes the grains industry could soon follow suit, taking paddock to plate to a new level.

Natural capital accounting is about measuring and valuing the natural environment on a farm, similar to how traditional accounts collate financial data. Through the natural capital accounting process, farm management practices that affect the condition of the farm’s natural capital are identified and measured and researchers can track how the farm’s ‘natural capital’ contributes to the financial performance of the farm.

“These are attributes that more consumers and companies are looking for when they are sourcing their raw materials, and this pilot project will provide this in a digital format ready for farmers to communicate,” Dr Radford said.

“By being involved in the project, participants will receive their customised natural capital accounts for free and, more broadly, will be able to shape how the accounts would best help growers in the future,” Dr Radford finished.

To become part of this project and for more information contact Alison Frischke at BCG on 0429 922 787.

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