Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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What are our hopes for 2024?

Here are our hopes for 2024 to shape the agricultural industry. 

As the year gets under way in the wake of the first COP ever to formally recognise the need to move away from gas, we’re hopeful for a much more meaningful 2024 for the future of sustainability in businesses. Working with organisations and sectors affected by a lack of sustainability support, we’ve drawn up our personal wish list for priority initiatives we see as fundamental to paving the way for the positive impacts. 

These are key to changing the way businesses function in relation to sustainability, from government initiatives to consumer preferences, bringing a fresh perspective on the future of agriculture, driven by AI, nature-based solutions, and more support for businesses going green.  Here are our hopes for 2024 to shape the agricultural industry. 

Greater clarity on sustainable farming support 

One of our key aspirations for the agricultural sector in 2024 is that greater clarity can be achieved surrounding the support mechanisms for farmers adopting sustainable practices. Sustainability is no longer a buzzword but a necessity for the longevity of our planet. The push for sustainable farming practices is gaining momentum, but in order to encourage farmers to see the benefits and support behind sustainability drives, there needs to be clearer messaging and guidance on how this can be reasonably achieved. The hope is for governments and agricultural bodies to provide clear and comprehensive support frameworks, ensuring that the transition to sustainable practices is both smooth and rewarding. 

Closer scrutiny of greenwashing 

With the impending arrival of the EU Green Claims Directive, there is a necessity for heightened scrutiny surrounding greenwashing claims. As consumers become more and more environmentally conscious, they demand transparency and accountability from the agricultural sector. The industry’s commitment to sustainability should not just be lip service but backed by tangible evidence. Business needs to be held to higher standards, fostering an environment where genuine sustainability efforts are rewarded, and greenwashing practices are exposed and rectified. 

Rising consumer awareness of biodiversity 

A positive trend emerging in 2024 is the increasing awareness among consumers regarding the importance of biodiversity. This awareness is influencing purchasing decisions, leading to a demand for products and suppliers that prioritise biodiversity conservation, as ‘nature-based solutions’ enters common conversation.  

The agricultural sector is now faced with the challenge and opportunity of differentiating products based on their contribution to biodiversity. This shift in consumer preferences not only benefits the environment but also encourages farmers and producers to adopt practices that support diverse ecosystems. 

Recognition of nature in ESG frameworks 

We’re eager to see investment funds are undergo a paradigm shift in their evaluation criteria, recognising the intrinsic value of nature within Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) frameworks. The Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is gaining increased recognition for its crucial work in promoting transparency on nature-related risks within finance, but to apply this framework to wider industries could bring about a huge change in how nature benefits from ESG measures across the board. As investors align their portfolios with sustainable practices, the agricultural sector stands to benefit from this shift towards acknowledging the importance of nature in long-term investment strategies. 

We’ve seen firsthand the take-up of our Polly insect listening devices by businesses willing and ready to measure their impact on biodiversity, and have the actionable data to make change, or prove the positive impact of their work for ESG regulations. 

Government prioritisation of innovation 

Something crucial to our work and the work of other nature-based solutions like ours, is that we need to see governments continue to prioritise innovation in the agricultural sector, supporting start-ups and encouraging collaboration with established corporates. Recognising the sector-wide challenges that need innovative solutions, governments can foster an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and forward-thinking solutions. This collaborative approach aims to address issues such as climate change, resource depletion, and food security, driving the agricultural industry towards a more sustainable and resilient 2024. 

What can I do? 

Good progress in these areas in 2024 is achievable – it needs to be. Sustainability, transparency, and innovation are becoming more widely held goals as consumers, businesses, and governments align their priorities with the need for a greener future. And we are continually seeking to develop our Polly insect listening device’s bioacoustic AI technology even further too, to provide more solutions. 

By partnering with more organisations than ever, we are providing them with the key data they need on pollinator monitoring, spurring on activity to improve biodiversity. This is whether it is enabling the evidencing of how crop yields can be naturally increased, conserving species, helping facilitate access to the funding necessary to make greener change, or enabling the irrefutable demonstration of efforts to meet ESG responsibilities, so encouraging others to follow suit.