About the scheme
The voluntary Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme (the scheme) will certify farms and farm businesses for their biodiversity management. This will allow farmers to showcase their stewardship of the land to communities and markets.
The scheme aims to enable farmers to take advantage of the growing domestic and international market demand for food and fibre products with sustainability credentials.
The scheme is being implemented following design and technical trialling undertaken by the Australian National University (ANU). This built on earlier work by the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Farm Institute, funded under the Agriculture Stewardship Package.
Read more about this initial research on the Australian Farm Institute’s website.
Scheme Stamp and Standard
A technical scheme standard is available setting out the overarching rules and procedures for the biodiversity certification of farms and farm businesses under the scheme.
Certified farms will be able to use the stamp (or logo) options below in a range of ways to support their marketing, showing domestic and international markets that they are protecting biodiversity.
The certification process will be underpinned by a scientifically credible, independent assessment of biodiversity outcomes on-farm. Under the standard, eligibility for certification will be assessed primarily on the basis of the condition of native vegetation on the property relative to their region, and farmers’ commitment to maintain or improve this asset.
Overview of scheme standard
Key steps in the certification process
Under the scheme standard, there would be three main parts of the certification process:
- Initial certification - which is based on a comparison of native vegetation condition at the farm level and the regional level, measured on a scale from 0 (complete loss of native vegetation) to 100 (undisturbed remnant vegetation). Eligibility for certification would be determined using a combination of remote sensing information and site assessment data.
- Biodiversity management planning - involves the development of tailored plans to determine the recommended management activities to maintain or improve the condition of biodiversity on the farm. Biodiversity condition is assessed based on the farm’s vegetation type and condition and its contribution to regional biodiversity value (for example the uniqueness and conservation status of the vegetation, and the extent to which it supports threatened species).
- Re-certification - which is based on whether a farm’s biodiversity condition has been maintained or improved over time according to its biodiversity management plan.
Three certification levels
Individual farms or farm businesses could be awarded one of three certification levels – gold, green or provisional. To be eligible for certification, farms/farm businesses must have a vegetation condition score equal to or greater than the national minimum condition threshold (10) and must commit to either maintaining or improving the condition of on-farm biodiversity.
- Gold level certification - would be available to farms that:
- meet the national biodiversity friendly condition benchmark (a vegetation condition score of 50 or above) and commit to maintaining the condition or biodiversity on the farm, OR
- have a vegetation condition score that is equal to or greater than the applicable regional vegetation condition benchmark and commit to achieving specific improvements in the condition of the biodiversity on farm.
- Green level certification - would be available to farms that have a vegetation condition score that is equal to or greater than the regional vegetation condition benchmark and that commit to maintaining the condition of the biodiversity on farm.
- Provisional certification - would be available to farms with a vegetation condition score that does not quite meet the applicable regional benchmark, and that commit to specified management activities to improve the condition of biodiversity on-farm that are projected to meet certification thresholds within a specified timeframe.
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Under the scheme, farmers would be recognised for past and future efforts in maintaining and improving biodiversity on their farms compared with their region. In doing so, the scheme is intended to recognise farmers with good practices as well as promote biodiversity friendly farming.
The proposed scheme also offers the following potential benefits:
- Supporting access to markets - by assuring consumers and trading partners of the biodiversity credentials of Australian agriculture.
- Creating price premiums for produce - that could translate along agricultural supply chains.
- Increasing access to information and technical support for farmers - the certification process could help farmers identify ways in which the conservation and regeneration of native vegetation could boost farm productivity.
- Simplification - helping consumers and businesses navigate the complex space of sustainability certification by taking one action aligned with the key international environmental priority of biodiversity conservation.