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Hort InnovationOur work The Australian-grown Horticulture Sustainability Framework

The Australian-grown Horticulture Sustainability Framework

Creating a sustainability framework for Australian horticulture


Hort Innovation is working with growing businesses, consumers and others to develop a guide to help the horticulture sector share its sustainable, ethical and safe farming practice stories with stakeholders.

Increasingly, consumers and company investors are asking for evidence that sustainable and ethical practices are used by the producers of the food they consume and products they buy or the companies they

A sustainability framework is being prepared for Australian-grown horticulture, a sector of some 12,000 businesses employing 70,000 people to grow $13.2 billion of fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, turf and nursery plants annually.

The sustainability framework for horticulture aims to provide a logical process to measure and communicate the contribution of Australian horticulture to sustainable, ethical and safe production.     

Input from a wide range of stakeholders identified the sustainability topics most important to decisions about Australian-grown horticulture. That research, undertaken for Hort Innovation, was released in May this year What is important to Australian horticulture stakeholders?

Since then, the project has worked with industry groups to further understand these topics and identify sustainability goals. Fifteen sustainability topics have been grouped into four areas:

  • Nourish & Nurture
  • People & Enterprise
  • Planet & Resources
  • Less waste.

Sustainability indicators have been identified as a way of measuring how the industry is tracking against each topic. The indicators, proposed as a best fit between the sustainability goals and the available data, are intended for measuring across the whole of Australian horticultural production, right up to the farm gate or packhouse door.

The available data sets have been mapped to the sustainability topics in the draft framework.

Data alone will only tell part of the story of the complex system that is horticultural production in an Australian environment. Horticulture Sustainability project lead Ingrid Roth is also looking for case studies to illustrate how producers are moving towards sustainable practice and to share the richness and diversity of the stories of Australia’s horticultural growers.

Feedback from all who are interested in horticulture will help to refine this important process.