Australian Organic Ltd (AOL), has today announced a new structure within the organics industry – marking one of the most significant events in the organisation’s 30-year history.
AOL has restructured its operations to become a stand-alone, member owned, not for profit industry services group. The new structure will enable the industry to more effectively lobby for domestic legislation and have greater and simpler access to international markets for organic exporters.
In addition, Australian consumers will be guaranteed increased ACCC action on questionable organic claims and promised integrity and trust within the industry.
Through a national democratic process last Friday, members and industry leaders casted their vote at the Australian Organic Annual General Meeting – and it was an unopposed “yes” to move forward.
There was significant work and ongoing consulting needed to enable this harmonised movement – the work initially instigated by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Former Senator Barnaby Joyce, and his office who assisted in informing the pathways for the industry.
This new pathway and what it represents is strongly supported by former Senator Nick Xenophon and current Senator Rex Patrick.
“In liaising with Australian Organic over the years, we understand there to be two major issues that remain unresolved for industry members. One is the absence of domestic legislation, which would fully protect the organic attribution claims of legitimate, industry standard-abiding business people who invest in building up their own organic brands and business. The second, is the effective enforcement of claims that are patently not in compliance with the nationally agreed, clearly articulated organic standard,” said Xenophon.
A national survey conducted last year, revealed that organic food has a firm foothold in Aussie shopping baskets, with more than two out of three households purchasing organic products in the last year.
Furthermore, earlier this year, the Australian Organic Market Report revealed Australia officially holds the largest amount of organically managed farmland in the world at 53%, however, this is still not enough to meet growing demand locally.
“The launch of the new structure allows us to collaborate, support and represent the industry more broadly. We are working to ensure we are unified in one national standard, which means we will be a stronger voice to lobby government and we will continue to maintain our strong focus on education and protection of the industry.
Australians can look forward to the opportunities this restructure will deliver to them, and to the industry as a whole, over the decade ahead,” said newly appointed General Manager of Australian Organic Group, Emily Arnold.
Another integral component in the restructure is the representation of the Bud Logo – the oldest Australian organic certification mark in the country that guarantees a product is truly organic.
As a result of this industry change, it will enable all organic certification services to access the Bud via approved and licensed certification agencies.