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Beta launch of Australia’s first cross-sectoral carbon accounting engine

Beta launch of Australia’s first cross-sectoral carbon accounting engine

20-Feb-2024

Today marks the beta launch of a definitive online carbon calculation engine for Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors, known as the Agricultural Innovation Australia (AIA) Environmental Accounting Platform (EAP).

AIA EAP Reporting Screenshot

The first of its kind, the AIA EAP enables the calculation of a carbon footprint at a commodity, enterprise and whole of business level and provides Australia with an accessible and standardised approach to carbon accounting across different commodities.

Attendees at evokeAG in Perth today were given an exclusive demonstration of the AIA EAP, with producers and others now invited to register their interest in trying out the live beta version.

Access the beta version

The AIA EAP is a pre-competitive engine for everyone, not just primary producers. Farm and business solution providers, supply chain participants, agribusiness, financial institutions and others can integrate with the engine and build it into their own service offerings.

AIA CEO Sam Brown said the need for an engine that delivers consistent carbon calculations across sectors is more important than ever.

“Food and fibre production is increasingly becoming front and centre of national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and with many commodities exposed to export markets the pressure to demonstrate environmental credentials is increasing,” Mr Brown said.

“Primary producers and their industries need simple, time-saving tools that allow them to understand their carbon footprint and support decision-making around reducing emissions and capturing new business opportunities. It’s crucial that our sector has the data and evidence to help drive positive environmental and economic outcomes, demonstrating that Australia is ahead of the curve.

“I encourage producers and others to try out the beta version and provide their feedback. The more engagement we can have at this stage, the better.”

The AIA EAP was developed following a comprehensive discovery phase, including interviews with over 140 stakeholders, which uncovered a number of insights.

“We know that carbon accounting is confusing and cumbersome. The current default methods for measurement are spreadsheets which take time and often require a level of expertise to complete,” Mr Brown said.

“They are also commodity-specific, meaning mixed-enterprises cannot easily measure their total carbon footprint. And, in other countries, a lack of a standardised approach to carbon accounting has led to fragmentation and inconsistent outcomes. The AIA EAP overcomes those challenges and sets the gold standard for others to follow.

Grains Research and Development Corporation Managing Director, Nigel Hart, said the EAP will be a critical tool for Australian grain growers, and other producers, allowing them to accurately and effectively measure GHG emissions and other carbon calculations.

“Australian producers are under increasing pressure to be able to calculate and measure what is happening on-farm to meet the requirements of their financial lenders, as well as ensure access to international markets,” Mr Hart said.

“This tool will play a pivotal role in ensuring they have data to both inform decision making and support the increasing regulatory requirements in this space.”

AIA has established a Technical Advisory Panel of leading subject matter experts to advise on best practice and ensure the calculation models align with the latest science and are compliant with relevant national standards and protocols.

Chair of the AIA EAP Technical Advisory Panel and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre within the University of Melbourne, Professor Richard Eckard, said the AIA EAP marks an important step forward for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

“AIA has taken the current Greenhouse Accounting Frameworks for Australian Primary Industries and digitised and aggregated them into a common platform,” Professor Eckard said.

“By aggregating calculators into one engine, we will deliver a standardised platform, allowing producers to enter data once to achieve a whole of enterprise carbon footprint.

“AIA’s robust governance processes have also solved the issues related to the constant maintenance and streamlined the update of the underlying calculations. Now, a panel of Australian experts review and advise on proposed changes, which are then scheduled for updating directly in the AIA EAP.

“The aim is to provide a new way for producers to baseline their operation, calculate their carbon footprint and make more informed decisions.”

A separate AIA EAP Industry Advisory Panel is currently being formed which will ensure the platform is relevant to specific sectors by advising on emerging export and reporting requirements, adoption, and engagement.

As Sam Brown explains, AIA is in a unique position to be able to deliver the Environmental Accounting Platform.

“AIA’s mandate and independent, not-for-profit structure enables us to look across commodities and facilitate collaboration to solve cross sectoral challenges such as environmental accounting,” Mr Brown said.

“We’ve designed the AIA EAP to be a national-scale solution, making it a reliable and consistent reference point to support the entire supply chain with understanding agricultural emissions. Having a single source of truth will be an asset for our industry as a whole and will support a united Australian narrative around emissions and emissions reduction.”

“While today’s beta launch marks an important step we are looking ahead to our next objective, which is to include calculation methods for key export markets as well as other rapidly emerging frameworks such as natural capital.”

The beta version of the AIA EAP is currently live for grains, beef, sheep, cotton, goats, feedlot and sugar commodities first with pork, dairy, eggs, poultry, rice, fisheries, aquaculture, wine and other commodities to follow.

To register to access the AIA EAP beta version, please visit aginnovationaustralia.com.au/aiaeap

Supply chain organisations, financial institutions or solution providers wanting to integrate with the platform should contact AIA directly at contact@aginnovationaustralia.com.au