Syed Shah

Australian start-up, TBSx3, joins GS1 Alliance Partner Program

TBSx3, an Australian start-up committed to restoring trust to international trade using blockchain technology combined with the latest anti-counterfeit technologies have announced that they have joined GS1 Australia’s Alliance Partner Program.

GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation providing standards, services and emerging technologies to help solve omni channel challenges and improve inventory accuracy, visibility and traceability of supply chains across physical and digital channels in the retail sector.

The team at TBSx3 have developed a blockchain solution that protects brands and their supply chains and empowers their consumers with product origin information. The TBSx3 system provides three essential supply chain capabilities and digitises all related documents such as Certificates of Origin: provenance, traceability through the custodian chain and authentication.

Pieter Vandevelde, chief revenue officer at TBSx3 said, “Our entry into the GS1 Australia Alliance Partner Program as an Associate Alliance Partner signifies our commitment to enable brands to protect their supply chains through end-to-end visibility using GS1 standards in both sea freight and air freight.”

“The TBSx3 technology also helps brand owners and retailers reassure their consumers that their products are genuine and safe. We use any packaging tracking technology such as QR, intaglio labels or NFC to connect brands with their consumers.”

TBSx3’s technology is supported by a global blockchain consortium of freight forwarders, shippers, sea and airport operators. The platform is next-gen SCM technology and is designed from the ground-up to run on blockchain technology.

GS1 Australia’s Manager – Business Development and Partnerships, Sean Sloan said, “The entry of TBSx3 into the Alliance Partner Program is a great asset to the Alliance Partner community and a significant investment in leveraging GS1 standards to uniquely identify items and exchange data across organisations using a common language.

“We look forward to working in partnership with TBSx3 in the Australian marketplace to combat the trade of counterfeit goods including food, wine, dairy, meat and pharmaceuticals using GS1 standards.”

BrewDog given greenlight to build $30m Brisbane brewery

Scottish craft brewer, BrewDog, has officially received the green light from the Brisbane City Council to begin construction of its $30m brewery in Murarrie, Brisbane. The development includes the construction of a 50hl, 3,000 sqm brewing and canning facility as well as a restaurant, taproom and visitor centre.

BrewDog announced in February of this year that it had settled on Brisbane as the home of its Australian headquarters. The development application was submitted mid-March and this week it was presented to the local council who gave their support for the development.

In building a brewery in Australia, BrewDog is shortening the distance between the people who make their beer and the people who drink it, ensuring Australians have access to the freshest BrewDog beer possible.

Brisbane City Council’s approval of BrewDog’s development application means that the brewery is now on schedule to start construction in July of this year.The building is due to be completed by the end of 2018, and the first Brisbane-brewed BrewDog beer should be released in the first quarter of 2019.

The brewery is planning a major launch party with the local community and fans from far and wide. Initially, the Brisbane brewery will focus on BrewDog’s core range, with world-famous beers such as Punk IPA, Dead Pony Club and Elvis Juice.

The brewery will also brew small batch beers with local ingredients from the Southern Hemisphere. Production volume is expected gradually rise up to 10 million litres per year over the first few years. The company has said that the launch of BrewDog Australia is expected to generate 150 jobs in the Brisbane area over the next 5 years.

Zarah Prior, director of BrewDog Australia said, “We couldn’t be happier to set up our brewing operation in the awesome area of Murarrie. We’ve seen incredible support from the local community, local brewers, and council in both Brisbane and the wider QLD region.”

Councillor Ryan Murphy (Doboy) said, “The local area of Murarrie and Cannon Hill don’t have a single pub in either suburb, now we’re getting the biggest brewery in all of Brisbane – residents are over the moon about this.”

Cows Might Fly – The Best Way to Predict The Future Is To Create It

A surprising take on the future of food by Wiley.

 Wiley has released a clip, Cows Might Fly, at Food and Grocery Australia 2018 hosted by the Australian Food and Grocery Council in Melbourne. Best described as a “what the…” moment, Wiley launch a surprising take on the future of the food industry, designed to provoke meaningful conversation and salute unconventional thinking.

This clip takes a jarring peek into a not so likely future. It seeks to remind that the way industries work is bound for change and thinking too must change with it. It paints a quirky picture of vertical integration and disruption of one of Australia’s major industries and aims inspire everyone who watches it to make a difference.

We would LOVE to hear your feedback on this new video. Watch it here: https://www.cowsmightfly.com

Johnnie Walker announces the Australian launch of Black Label Sherry Edition

Johnnie Walker, has announced the Australian release of Johnnie Walker Black Label Sherry Edition.

Crafted by Blender Chris Clark, part of the blend in this limited edition bottling is matured in former Sherry casks, giving the whisky a richer fruitiness. The expression also uses malts including Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill resulting in a taste of complex fresh fruit with orchard character, sweet vanilla and gentle smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black Label is created using only whiskies aged for a minimum of 12 years from the four corners of Scotland and has an unmistakably smooth, deep, complex character.

Simon McGoram, National Whisky Ambassador for Diageo says, “What I love about this limited edition whisky is how the blenders have dialled up the rich fruit characters of Johnnie Walker Black Label through sherry cask maturation.

“I’m constantly impressed by the talent of the Johnnie Walker blending team and with every dram of this whisky you can taste the influence of famous malts like Cardhu, Strathmill and Blair Athol. It’s a whisky that has an orchard fruit freshness, red fruits, figs and creamy vanilla all coming through on the palate. There’s just a subtle hint of Walker’s signature smoke on the finish. It’s a remarkable whisky and one that you can enjoy anytime.”

 Jonathan Morgan, Head of International Brands at Diageo says: “Flavour led expressions within Scotch are gaining popularity with Australian consumers and recruiting new drinkers into the category. Johnnie Walker Black Label Sherry Edition is an accessible blend making it a great introduction to Scotch for new consumers, whilst also re-introducing drinkers back to the classic Black Label blend.”

The limited-edition Johnnie Walker Black Label Sherry Edition (ABV 40%) is available now from all good liquor stores nationally, retailing at $60 per 700ml bottle.

Coles and Woolworths still lead fresh fruit and vegetable market

Analysis of long-term market trends by analysts at Roy Morgan shows that in 2018 Australia’s two largest supermarkets captured more than 51 per cent of Australia’s $18 billion fresh fruit and vegetable market between them.

According to market analysts, Roy Morgan, the Woolworths Group with a 27.4 per cent share, up 1.3 per cent points since 2017, and Coles Group with a 23.9 per cent share, down 0.7 per cent points, had a combined share of the fresh fruit and vegetable market larger than all other retail outlets including rival supermarkets Aldi and IGA, fruit shops, markets, other supermarkets and other non-supermarkets combined.

Woolworths enjoyed stronger growth in the fresh fruit and vegetable market over the past year than rival Coles, who despite increasing their number of buyers in an average seven day period had a decrease in the share of market.

Third largest supermarket Aldi now has a 10.1 per cent share of the fresh fruit and vegetable market, up 0.6 per cent in a year – although all three have taken substantial market share from traditional fruit shops. Aldi is fast approaching as the third major supermarket group set to overtake fruit shops, which currently account for 15.8 per cent of the market.

Titanium filters strengthen winery production

South Australian company, Advanced Material Solutions (AMS) began commissioning their first commercial units last month and plans to ramp up its workforce from 26 to more than 200 to cater for increasing global demand.

AMS Filtration managing director Gilbert Erskine said the robust titanium membranes were so strong that they could run 24-hours a day for a week while polymeric (plastic) or ceramic filters could spend 30 per cent of their time in cleaning modes, which often included chemicals.

He said his Viti-flow system could be easily cleaned in minutes with hot water and could extract solids up to 80 per cent, compared with about 10 per cent for many traditional membranes.

“The difference between 10 per cent solids and 80 per cent solids would be at least a 7 per cent increase in the product you can put in a bottle – that’s seven litres in every 100,” Erskine said.

“From when a tonne of grapes came in to when it’s ready for the bottle it’s been through the filtration process several times and each time we can capture that extra 7 per cent that would normally go down the drain so that’s payback right away.”

The system is scalable to suit all sizes of wineries, with the bigger units installed at major Australian wineries so far featuring four sets of membranes capable of filtering 35,000-40,000 litres an hour. They produce clean filtrate at less than 1NTU and solids of up to 80 per cent.

Based at Lonsdale in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, AMS Filtration has been in business since 1985 and has had a long affiliation with the wine industry.

It started out making stainless steel fittings, heat exchangers and refrigeration plants for wineries before experimenting with polymeric, ceramic and stainless steel filter membranes.

The stainless steel filters were the most effective but also the most expensive and they were eventually set up in Indonesia to service the palm oil industry, where they proved more profitable.

After many years of experimentation and collaboration with Australian universities, the company developed the titanium membranes and has been secretly trialling the technology with industry partners for the past few years.

“It’s been a 30-year journey but it is very difficult to do, titanium itself is very difficult to work with and it’s taken us a long time and many mistakes,” Erskine said.

“Titanium is very expensive – it’s much more expensive than stainless steel but due to its properties we’ve been able to make it much, much thinner and make the capillary size much smaller than traditional stainless steel so we’ve reduced the weight of the membrane and just by reducing that weight it compensates for the high cost raw material.

“We had a good name in the wine industry so it seemed that the wine industry was where we should launch our filter.”

AMS Filtration exhibited at the 2018 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in California in January and took orders from American wineries without them even seeing the filters in action. Erskine will return to the US next month to follow up with major wineries that made inquiries at the symposium – the largest wine show of its kind in the Americas.

Erskine said he was confident his titanium membrane filters would eventually be sold almost everywhere wine was made.

“We are talking with Portugal at the moment, we’ve already got orders from New Zealand,” he said.

“We’ve put a salesman in New Zealand and we intend on having a sales force globally so we’ll open offices in South America, North America, Europe and we will definitely have these filters right around the world.

“Right now there’s 26 of us – I’ve already advised three more people to start and we envisage there’ll be over 200 people here within three years.

“We are a tiny little company so we are trying to hammer along as fast as we can go but as we get a little bit stronger we will increase our capacity and we’ll just keep doing that to whatever size we need to be.”

South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual wine production and is home to the world-renowned regions of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale and global brands Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys Wines and Wolf Blass.

Erskine said the AMS Filtration system also improved quality by reducing wine “bruising” and the risk of taint because of its rigorous cleaning system at water temperatures of up to 90 degrees.

He said the micron rating of the titanium membrane could also be adjusted to 0.1 microns to filter out e coli or bacteria, 0.2 for standard white wine, 0.4 – 0.45 for red wine or larger for fortifieds.

“We have the ability to change that micron and again that comes down to the strength of the titanium because as you go up in pore size you are traditionally weakening the support structure but titanium can withstand it.

“There are people claiming to make titanium membranes but there is no one else in the world that we know of producing small pore titanium membranes in commercial quantities.”

AMS Filtration is also exploring systems for a range of other industries including beer, meat processing and water management.

“We wanted to focus on wineries first because we have a history in the wine industry but as other opportunities have come up we’ve taken them,” Erskine said.

“The sky is the limit, the filtration market is absolutely enormous and even if we ended up with a very small percentage of that you’d be talking hundreds of employees.”

Women in Industry is back for 2018!

This is your opportunity to celebrate the women who are driving change in your industry and in doing so, breaking down barriers and creating new possibilities for the next generation.

The Women in Industry Conference and Awards are returning from a successful 2017 edition. Join us on Thursday 14 June 2018 in Sydney, for this highly anticipated event!

The Conference and Awards aim to encourage and recognise the success achieved by women in sectors that have traditionally been male-dominated, including road transport, logistics and materials handling, infrastructure, manufacturing, mining and engineering industries.

This conversation is one that requires both women and men to be involved and to help in this process, we’re encouraging all Conference attendees to bring a male colleague with them.

Get your 2-for-1 ticket here.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Conference: 9:00am – 5:00pm, Doltone House Hyde Park

Awards: 7:00pm, Doltone House Jones Bay

Australian milk featured at Alibaba’s Smart Milk Station in China

In line with Chinese internet giant Alibaba’s ongoing efforts at innovation in new retail technologies, college students enjoyed an unprecedented and new experience in how to add Australian-imported milk to one’s diet at a university in Hangzhou earlier this month.

Alibaba has not only been instrumental in creating Hangzhou’s now highly developed internet economy, but has also helped the Zhejiang provincial capital prosper in the new retail sector, a sector that is fully reliant on the internet.

The event, hosted by Tmall Juhuasuan, an Alibaba business unit, in partnership with Tmall International, the internet firm’s popular B2C platform, witnessed the creation at a university in Hangzhou of a unique smart milk station modelled on the look and feel of a conventional roadside gas station. The site, designed to heighten interest in milk as a product that should be a part of everyone’s daily diet, is the first such new retail milk station worldwide.

At the 300 sqm milk station, college students received recommendations on the type of milk that meets their requirements after taking a quick quiz to determine preferences. Brands included Nestle, Freedom, Fonterra and Tmall International’s direct-sale brands Maxigenes and Devondale.

After adding milk, students had a go at winning at the onsite hammer game, akin to those seen at fun fairs, and receive the officially certified “milk power value”. Those with the higher milk power value can upload his or her photo onto the screen, and become the spokesperson for the milk station.

The event attracted many college students and other passers-by who enjoy games of competition and are passionate about expressing themselves. “I am the best at adding milk to my diet.”

The purchase experience is fully in line with what is referred to in Chinese as the “regimen”, especially the fancy “punk regimen” popular with the country’s millennials: staying up all night, drinking the most expensive milk, eating calcium tablets while drinking cola and using the eye-protection green wallpaper available on mobile phones for playing games in the middle of the night.

According to a big data analysis by Alibaba, the millennials, and especially those of college age, prefer choosing the rich-tasting, high-nutrition and easy-to-brew Australian-imported milk powder as a dietary supplement to keep oneself feeling energised in the midst of a busy, and often nerve-racking, academic life.

Based on Alibaba’s big data analysis, the creative team behind the project first analysed the shopping behaviour among adult milk powder consumers. With an understanding of the psychology of China’s millennials, the team spread news about the event far and wide, experimenting with different approaches to what is referred to as “new retail”. Having identified dairy products imported from Australia as a good fit, Juhuasuan teamed up with Tmall International to recommend products to specific consumers using various novel approaches, kicking off a series of promotions and other types of campaigns.

The smart shelf monitors selections made by shoppers in real time, quickly processing the information in order to make on-the-spot recommendations as the shopper moves through the aisles, while perfecting the logistics of the sales process to maximise the quality of the shopping experience. These efforts allowed the Juhuasuan smart milk station marketing event to successfully complete the closed loop combining online and offline sales.

Philter snags two awards at the AIBAs

Sydney craft beer makers Philter Brewing entered the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBAs) for the first time this year and won two awards in Melbourne, last week. The night started with a bang for the young team when Philter XPA, the brand’s crowd-pleasing first release to market, won Best Australian Pale Ale. Head Brewer Samara Füss and Team Philter expressed their delight at winning the Australian Gypsy Brewer Award.

Füss is no stranger to winning awards, having collected national and international trophies during her many years in the industry, but according to her, these two mean a lot. “The XPA was our baby from the start and I am really proud of it so I’m stoked with the recognition it’s getting, especially on the back of winning the Champion Pale Ale at last year’s CBIAs.”

As for winning the Australian Gypsy Brewer Award,Füss said, “It’s huge! Such a big thing to be recognised like that. I am thrilled. I can’t remember what I said during my speech but I meant every word.”

“These awards are a massive testament to our team. There aren’t many of us, but we’re so dedicated to this little company. We just want to share the love by getting the XPA and the rest of our beers out to as many people as possible,” said co-founder and sales and marketing director Stefan Constantoulas.

Philter Brewing sets itself apart with what it describes as its “late 1980’s Australiana aesthetic and distinctive” can design. As her first beer for the brand,Füss crafted the XPA as a naturally cloudy ale with tropical fruit aromas and a refreshing hop flavour. It’s an easy-drinking hit on tap and in tins. The Philter line-up also includes the Red Session Ale, Lager and the latest limited-release Caribbean Stout.

More protein doesn’t mean healthier diet: CSIRO survey

Our favourite burger, pizza and meat pie may need a re-think after new research by CSIRO shows Australians are not eating the right types, or the right quantity of protein for healthy weight loss.

The analysis from the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score survey, Australia’s largest nutrition study of almost 200,000 adults, showed people with low-quality diets obtained eight times more of their protein from junk foods than people with high-quality diets – and were more than three times as likely to be obese.

“Everyone’s protein needs are different, and not all foods that contain protein are good for you,” CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Professor Manny Noakes said.

“The current recommendations for protein intake underestimate protein requirements during weight loss – the latest science suggests eating 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight for optimal weight loss.

“Often a relatively low figure of suggested protein intake is quoted for an average weight man or woman. However, most Australians are far from average with more than 60 per cent of us being overweight or obese.

“Our research also shows that many people are not getting their protein from healthy foods.”

CSIRO has developed a new free personalised protein calculator to provide a tailored estimate of how much protein and the types of protein needed to support healthy weight loss.

“As science advances, we are seeing the benefits of taking a more personalised approach to health and nutrition,” Professor Noakes said.

“By calculating your personal protein needs for healthy weight loss you may be able to more successfully achieve your weight loss goals. 

The new analysis showed that junk foods, such as pies, burgers, pizza with processed meats, chicken nuggets, sausages, cakes, ice cream and biscuits, were the second highest contributor to protein intake for people with low diet scores.

 In contrast, leaner people who tended to have higher-quality diets ate protein sourced from healthier whole foods, including chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, milk, cereals, nuts and yoghurt, and junk food only accounted for approximately three per cent of their total protein intake. 

“Higher protein healthy meals help to control appetite and can help to reduce the urge to indulge in junk food,” Noakes said.

The new personal protein calculator is free and available on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet website at www.totalwellbeingdiet.com. Using your weight, it recommends the amount and types of protein you should be eating in a day to support healthy weight loss, and recommendations for how the daily amount should be divided across each meal.

A CSIRO review of the latest scientific evidence in January found support for the recommendation to eat at least 25 grams of protein at each main meal to help control hunger and enhance muscle metabolism.

Vic gov boost for agricultural manufacturing

The Victorian state government is backing two Ballarat agricultural machinery producers to expand their operations, creating 27 jobs and driving Victoria’s competitiveness as a producer of Australian-made farm machinery.

Goldacres is a sprayer company with 40 years’ history in Ballarat, producing Australian-made products that suit local conditions and the needs for Australian farmers.

A $2.78 million project will reconfigure Goldacres’ manufacturing facility with new infrastructure, equipment and technology that will enable the company to produce larger models of self-propelled sprayers.

Customer demand for larger and self-propelled sprayers is increasing and Goldacres is looking to respond to this by producing a 48-metre boom sprayer.

Goldacres will also use the funding for research and development to diversify its operations into the horticultural sector with different models suited to the different industry needs.

Southern Spreaders designs and manufactures agriculture spreader machinery and has a 30-year history in Ballarat, supplying made to order spreaders for the Australia and New Zealand market.

The company’s $860,000 investment will allow Southern Spreaders to create an additional arm of its business, producing a range of spreaders for a national dealership distribution network.

The new product line, under the brand name ‘Hansa’, will be one of the only Australian made spreaders in the market, and is expected to replace 10 per cent of imported products.

The investment will go towards modifications of the shop floor for better efficiency, and the installation of new cranes and painting equipment to support a more intensive production line.

The Labor Government is supporting both projects through the Regional Jobs Fund, backing Ballarat’s manufacturing strengths and creating new jobs.

Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said, “Goldacres and Southern Spreaders have a long and proud history in Ballarat, and with our support, we look forward to watching these Ballarat manufacturers thrive into the future.”

 

New guide for Australian fruit and vegetable exporters

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, and the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, has launched, “Fresh fruit and vegetable export requirements: A guide for Australian business” an initiative that the government says will ensure Australia’s horticulture producers have the necessary information to capitalise on the sizeable business opportunities on our doorstep.

Australian fruit and vegetable exporters wanting to go global can now access advice on every step of the export journey in a single online guide.

Minister Ciobo said Australia’s premium-quality produce was highly prized by overseas buyers.

“The Turnbull Coalition Government is pursuing the most ambitious trade agenda in our country’s history, opening new doors for more Australian exporters to sell their top quality, clean, green and safe produce to more markets worldwide,” Ciobo said.

“Australia’s agricultural products are a sought-after commodity, and this guide will help producers benefit from Australia’s strong reputation, providing current information on market regulations and expectations and links to the correct export documents and templates,” he added.

Ciobo said Australia’s proximity to Asia gave local producers the advantage of shorter transport times, allowing them to deliver fresher, more attractive fruit, often in counter-seasonal months or times of short overseas supply.

“We’re working on the principle that forewarned is forearmed. We want to ensure businesses – particularly new exporters – are aware of and comply with, key requirements and regulations, so they have a safe and smooth experience and continue to generate export dollars for Australia.”

The farm gate-to-overseas market guide is the first time both Government and industry advice about the export journey for producers has been collated in a single place, making it easier for potential exporters to expand their businesses, creating jobs and boost Australia’s economy.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud said Australia’s premium produce was in demand the world over.

“We’ve produced a simple guide to help exporters send Aussie farm produce around the globe,” Littleproud said.

“We’re making exporting Aussie produce as easy as possible,” he said.

“We’re doing this so more of our exporters will send more Aussie food all over the world, giving our farmers more selling options and our rural towns more jobs.”

The value of Australian fresh horticulture exports has nearly tripled over the past five years, growing from $846.5 million in 2012 to $2.11 billion in 2017, according to the IHS Global Trade Atlas (2018). Fresh fruit exports are generating more than half this value, with citrus ($423.1 million) and table grapes ($373.3 million) the standouts.

China has emerged as Australia’s most significant horticultural export market, accounting for nearly one in five dollars of value generated from horticulture exports (19%), and has maintained an average annual growth rate of over 200 per cent over the last 5 years.

The guide is jointly produced by Austrade and DAWR, with assistance from DFAT, Hort Innovation, the Australian Horticultural Exporters’ and Importers’ Association and the Export Council of Australia.

Gov mandates Australians to get first dibs at agricultural land

The Federal Government has indicated in a press statement that it has has acted to ensure Australians will get every opportunity to purchase agricultural land holdings by introducing tough new rules that mandate vendors to advertise and market agricultural land to Australians first.

This statement comes after concerns were raised following the the sale of the Kidman cattle empire to the Gina Rinehart-led Australian Outback Beef which led to an increase Chinese investment on Australian agricultural land by 2.6 million hectares. At the moment, the Chinese investors own a third of Australian Outback Beef. In addition, that purchase made China the second largest owner of Australian farmland in 2017. The UK remains the largest owner.

The Federal Government says that it is “committed” to ensuring that Australians have the opportunity to purchase agricultural land.

“We welcome foreign investment in Australian agricultural land where it is not contrary to the national interest. Our foreign investment rules facilitate investment while making sure Australia’s national interest is protected. This includes ensuring adequate opportunity for Australians to invest in Australian land,” said Treasurer Scott Morrison.

He mentioned that concerns around the ability of Australians to participate in the sale process of agricultural land acquisitions have been a factor in his previous foreign investment decisions, including approval of the sale of S. Kidman & Co Limited.

Therefore now, the ruling indicates that subject to exceptional circumstances, foreign investors will need to demonstrate that agricultural land they intend to acquire has been part of a public sales process and marketed widely to potential Australian bidders for a minimum of 30 days, and Australian bidders have had an opportunity to participate in the sale process.

This means that all acquisitions of agricultural land by foreign investors for residential development will also be subject to standard development conditions requiring development to commence within a five year period to prevent land banking. This condition already applies to acquisitions of vacant land.

 

Morrison also mentioned that last July, the government introduced a range of amendments to the foreign investment framework to reduce red tape and facilitate business investment. A key measure was the introduction of business exemption certificates to streamline the approvals process for low risk investors, such as large investment funds, undertaking a program of investment.

“These certificates do not exempt foreign investors from the usual scrutiny and are targeted at investment that supports growth, jobs and innovation. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the potential benefits of the proposed investment and will be subject to reporting conditions,” said Morrison.

“Business exemption certificates will not be granted for investment in sensitive areas such as critical infrastructure, and will no longer be granted for agribusinesses. They will usually have total acquisition caps of below $1 billion.”

Committing to sustainable cocoa farming

Last week, 41 players from the Swiss cocoa and chocolate sector, including FarmStrong Foundation, joined forces to form the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa.

The objective of the new platform is to bring together organisations from the private sector, public sector, civil society and research institutes to promote sustainability in the cocoa sector. The member organisations – which include the association ChocoSuisse and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) – aim to considerably improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers and to create an attractive cocoa sector for current and future generations.

The Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa is aiming that by 2025, at least 80 per cent of the cocoa products imported into Switzerland should be from sustainable means. The platform’s activities will focus on farmer welfare, climate resilience and biodiversity, traceability and measures to improve quality. Key to its progress will be to promote an effective dialogue between the local authorities, organisations and cocoa smallholders in the producing countries.

The platform will use the expertise of its members to develop and implement innovative solutions. FarmStrong Foundation’s Founder and executive director Michiel Hendriksz commented “We look forward to supporting the platform with our expertise and experience on the ground in cocoa growing communities, improving the farming systems and lives of the people in these communities to maximise the impact”. Our approach based on a thorough situation analysis and focus on improving health, education, nutrition and gender equality as basic prerequisites for sustainable agricultural, social or economic development, fits well in the overarching objectives.

Nufarm acquires FMC herbicide portfolio

Nufarm has completed the acquisition of a European herbicide product portfolio from FMC Corporation. The proposed acquisition was announced back in Novermber 2017.

According to a Nufarm press release, the company’s program of work to integrate the portfolio into its European product suite is well advanced. In the first full year of Nufarm ownership (FY2019), the portfolio is expected to generate net sales of approximately $30 million an d contribute EBITDA of approximately $15 million. In the 2018 financial year, Nufarm anticipates an underlying EBITDA contribution from the newly acquired product portfolio of approximately $5 million.

Currently, Nufarm’s acquisition of the Century European product portfolio from Adama and Sygenta is progressing through the European Commission approval process. This process is ongoing, with acquisition completion anticipated in Q1 2018.

APCO, Planet Ark labelling scheme to combat waste

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), alongside Planet Ark and PREP Design, have launched a nation-wide labelling scheme that will help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively.

Leading organisations including Australia Post, Blackmores, Nestlé, Officeworks, Unilever and Woolworthshave already pledged their commitment to using the label and as such are actively working towards reducing the amount of waste going to landfill in Australia.

The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) will reportedly help solve Australia’s critical waste issues by increasing recycling rates and clearly outlining for consumers what product packaging is made from so they can correctly recycle it after use.

The label will lead to greater transparency amongst industry and drive more sustainable supply chain models. Businesses that pledge their commitment to the ARL gain access to a unique analysis tool that will allow them to better understand the materials they use in their packaging and associated environmental impacts. This will allow them to more effectively address problematic materials throughout the supply chain.

“The Australasian Recycling Label has been the result of close collaboration and partnership – core values of APCO. By bringing together the priorities of government and industry, and through our partnership with Planet Ark and PREP, we’ve been able to deliver a scheme that has real value for all parties and for the broader community as well,” said Brooke Donnelly, CEO of APCO.

“We’re incredibly proud of this initiative and of our members who have already pledged their commitment.The broad representation across industries demonstrates the growing sense of sustainability awareness and commitment in the Australian business community. We look forward to working with more organisations to collectively achieve better recycling rates and reduce waste to landfill.”

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