Nature is more than a resource to us. It is the foundation of everything we do. We are working to build a stronger, healthier future for generations to come by focusing on regenerating and protecting the Natural Capital held within our estate and the connections beyond.
We recognise our responsibility to mitigate our climate impact and to produce food in a way that benefits future generations. We believe we have exciting potential within our landscape, our operations and who we are as a company to bring about meaningful and high impact change for a climate positive future.
Our approach to Climate Action will be a holistic one, reaching across our emissions profile while driving our full potential for carbon draw down. It will be grounded in science, built with confidence that we can deliver. We are focused on four core elements: greenhouse gas efficiency in our operations; our transition to renewable energy; carbon sequestration in our landscape; and tackling our methane emissions head on.
Much of the science that forms the basis of this approach, is new and emerging and we face significant challenges in maturing it to an operational reality that we can apply at scale. We are proactively working with our partners to accelerate this process because we know time is of the essence. But we are also balancing this hast with care and the due diligence required to ensure the integrity of the actions we take moving forward. We will set a science-based net zero target with a clear pathway for action once this foundation is in place.
Carbon sequestration in our landscape presents one of the most significant opportunities we have to contribute to the solution for climate change. High integrity soil carbon methodologies provide the potential to deliver the “gold standard” carbon units, however these approaches demand a high level of soil sampling intensity that is both impractical and cost prohibitive at scale.
We are working with our partners to develop an industry leading remote sensing tool validated by on ground measurement for estimating, managing and forecasting soil and vegetation carbon sequestration across our estate. The tool will be designed to meet the high standards of accreditation systems such as the ERF while reducing the cost barrier for participation in carbon markets.
Methane emissions are a significant component of our current operational footprint – addressing them is fundamental to our approach to Climate Action. We have been focused on reducing our emissions intensity for several years through continuous improvement in our operational efficiencies. We are now expanding this focus to tackle our methane emissions head on.
We are working with our partners to accelerate the science of methane reduction through the emerging technology of feed additives for our cattle. As Australia’s largest integrated beef producer, we have a unique opportunity to commercially scale methane solutions, accelerating the economic viability of methane reduction for our sector, whilst supporting the scale up of Australia’s emerging Asparagopsis industry.
Together with our partners Food Agility, Cibo Labs, Mullion Group and Carbon Link, we will develop an industry leading method for measuring, managing and forecasting soil carbon sequestration by satellite that will bring down the cost barrier for participation in soil carbon markets. We will extend this method to model the carbon flow through our estate by incorporating carbon sequestration in vegetation and overlaying our methane emissions from cattle, for the first time demonstrating the biogenic carbon cycle in action.
We are working alongside Sea Forest, Meat and Livestock Australia, the University of New England and the University of Queensland. Together we are committing to fast tracking the development of Asparagopsis as a feed additive for commercial application to the reduction of methane emissions from cattle in feedlots. This is the first step in taking this ground-breaking science from research to real world application. We are looking beyond this step and to the future where we will continue to overcome technical challenges to extend the application of this technology across our entire herd.
Looking to the Future
We will continue our work on transitioning our bore network from diesel to solar. With 28% of our bores already converted, we will complete the full transition of our bore network to solar by 2024.
We will extend the reach of renewable energy into our station complexes with a roadmap for their transition to solar by 2024. We will identify solutions to the challenges of renewable energy transition in remote locations with pilot studies focused on the transition to solar at Headingly and South Galway.
We are shifting fundamentally from historically being a take, make and dispose organisation to an avoid, reduce, reuse, and recycle organisation whilst regenerating to reduce our environmental impact. We see significant potential in this space for our operations and for our industry, not only to reduce waste and improve resource use efficiency, but to transform our view of the finite resources in our care.
Looking to the Future
By 2022, we will establish a pilot for circularity at our Goonoo feedlot that builds on our current initiatives in water, manure and local sourcing. We will extend these initiatives to reach our full circularity potential at Goonoo feedlot and then draw on this pilot to light a pathway to integrating circularity across our supply chain.
The quality of our product and ongoing health of our business is intrinsically linked to healthy and functioning ecosystems. We recognise our potential to play our part in reversing the decline in biodiversity, building soil health and protecting key ecosystems in our care. This theme extends on the core initiatives and practices already embedded in our business including our sustainable stocking strategy and our long-standing best practice Rangelands Management program, to a more a holistic approach to our landscape.
We are the custodians of a significant natural asset that extends across 6.4 million hectares in some of the most remote parts of Australia. Building a strong foundation of condition assessment will be fundamental to mapping out a successful pathway to improving the health of the landscape and to drive growth in the value of our Natural Capital.
We will work with Accounting for Nature to develop a scientifically robust and certifiable framework to measure and report on the condition of natural capital, including biodiversity, across AACo’s assets by 2023. We will apply that framework to baseline priority assets by 2024.
Looking to the Future
By 2030 we will improve landscape and soil health by increasing the percentage of our estate achieving greater than 50% persistent groundcover with regional targets of:
– Savannah and Tropics – 90% of land achieving >50% cover
– Sub-tropics – 80% of land achieving >50% perennial cover
– Grasslands – 80% of land achieving >50% cover
– Desert country – 60% of land achieving >50% cover