Learning from those thriving in volatility:

One thing has not changed since we published the first chapter of this year’s KPMG Agribusiness Agenda in June, it remains hard to know where to start to take advantage of the opportunities present in the food and fibre sector.

The first chapter of this year’s Agenda identified six priorities from our conversations with industry leaders to drive growth and enhance resilience for New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors.

Chapter 2 of the 2022 Agenda, released today, Wednesday, 30 November 2022, uses these priorities to highlight a range of organisations from across the sector, and learn about the actions they have taken to not only survive but to grow and prosper over the last three pandemic-impacted years. 

Inherently collaborative:

One of the priorities was collaborating substantively on an ongoing basis. Building on the broad collaborative activities that have occurred in response to the pandemic and seeking deeper, more profound collaboration with Māori organisations. All the case studies in this report show that collaboration is inherent and central to every organisation featured in this report. KPMG Global head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says that collaborating substantively is critical in enabling each organisation to deliver on its goals and aspirations.

“What is clear is that successful collaboration is not just about finding somebody that can do a job well, it is about finding organisations that have the passion for going above and beyond, creating better outcomes for all,” says Proudfoot.

“My takeaway from the case studies is that effective collaboration is a science but there is an intangible element to it, an artistic element that needs to be present. When collaboration works it can make two plus two equal 10 or more but it may also only create 4.1, and that could very well be a sufficient gain to enable the partners to shift to another level together.”

Enabling a new type of growth:

The first chapter also highlighted the importance of ensuring intergenerational investment is being made today to build the platform for ongoing success, in much the same way we have benefited from the investments made into pasture and genetics by previous generations of farmers.

A key theme that was evident is that the investments that need to be made to support long-term growth and prosperity will need to be very different to the intergenerational investments made in the past, which largely focused on enhancing the yield and quality of the products that we grow. Proudfoot says the intergenerational platforms we need to build must put the infrastructure in place to secure and enhance the sector’s license to operate with our environment, the local community and consumers worldwide.

“If we fail to invest in our license to operate and let it slowly erode over time, it will be close to impossible for future generations to restore this.”

Being transparent about progress on climate change:

Chapter one also made the point that climate change is not being forced on the industry by the Government but rather is nature’s response to the lifestyle that we have evolved globally over the last 200 years.

The case studies in Chapter 2 highlight the practical steps that entrepreneurs have taken to build businesses using different models and technologies that recognise and respond to the climate challenges we face substantively. While these are exciting and inspirational stories, Proudfoot says the challenge in front of the sector is bigger than this.

“We have to find a way to transition an industry with a long history of growth and success, well-established and globally regarded businesses and brands, and decades of investment into highly efficient processing assets, in an equitable manner into a lower carbon future. This requires leadership with foresight, vision and a willingness to move first.” Leaders, Proudfoot notes, he is increasingly confident are standing up across the sector.

He also says that organisations need to be honest about the challenges they face and the opportunities in front of them, the plans they must enact to facilitate their transition and the timeframe for taking these steps.

The key word is being honest. There are real concerns about climate claims being made by many organisations around the world (as highlighted in a recent UN report released at COP27, which noted the many challenges with unsubstantiated net zero climate claims being made by companies).

“The claims we make about our journey and our products should be based on the reality of the opportunities and challenges in front of us rather than trying to gain short-term market advantage through strategies such as poor-quality carbon offsetting that do little to transition us towards the future we need. Our policy settings should reflect this, our reputation will be harmed, not boosted, if we continue to accelerate towards becoming a South Pacific carbon equivalent of a tax haven,” says Proudfoot.

Food security:

Lastly, Chapter One highlighted the importance of the industry leaning into ensuring that we have one food system in Aotearoa that works for all New Zealanders. It involves the industry playing its part by committing to a more equitable food system and being prepared to work with partners that they would not normally engage with to evolve a more equitable, inclusive, accessible, sustainable and prosperous food system that works for everyone.

“At the core of this, again, is a willingness for organisations to be prepared to seek new ways to collaborate, new ways to contract, and new partners to engage with”

“It is incredibly clear from these case studies that collaboration and partnership lie at the core of the food and fibre sector achieving new growth while having the resilience to weather further shocks that are bound to come our way,” says Proudfoot.

For further information, please contact:

Fiona Woolley
Head of Communications & Marketing
KPMG New Zealand
+64 21 455 331


Francis Manuo
Marketing & Communications Manager
KPMG New Zealand
+64 27 203 8581



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