Posted: 20 Apr. 2021 3 min. read

Rain, hail or shine: empowering farmers to thrive in any weather

Anyone who has lived in Australia can attest to the extreme fluctuations in weather and climate conditions that occur all year round. We live in a harsh but beautiful continent known for its floods, droughts, heatwaves and bushfires. In the past month alone we experienced a devastating one-in-100-year flooding event from extreme rainfall on the east coast of Australia.

While climate change affects different sectors in different ways – including energy, health and transport – it has the most impact on our agricultural sector. 

Concerningly, a report recently released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences revealed that since 2000, climate change has reduced the annual profitability of Australian farms by 22%, and cut Australian cropping farms’ revenues by approximately $1.1bn a year. 

Australian farmers are resilient and adaptable – they are innovators on the frontline in the battle against climate change – but the rate and severity of climate change here in Australia is only continuing to intensify. Sadly, business as usual is no longer an option for many.

On-farm resilience enabled by innovation

To address this challenge, Deloitte Australia is teaming with the Australian Government to develop a digital Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (DR SAT) that will help farmers better understand, manage and adapt to climate events. In particular, to help them build personal and financial resilience to droughts, which are projected to become increasingly severe and frequent.

David Littleproud, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Drought & Emergency Management, said, “Deloitte is a global leader in climate risk advisory, scenario analysis, economics and digital innovation, including digital decision support. It has significant experience providing analysis and advice to Australian agribusinesses.”  

The tool, which has the potential to impact approximately 85,400 farm businesses in Australia, will consist of a mobile-enabled app to equip farmers with practical insights about their environmental, economic, social, and personal resilience situation, along with adaptation pathways and supporting resources. These will help farmers better understand when, and to what extent, they might be more vulnerable to extreme climate conditions, enabling them to subsequently make ‘climate-smart’ decisions to withstand future weather challenges. 

Unprecedented change requires new solutions

The purpose of the DR SAT is not to serve as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ tool to address a singular challenge. Instead, the plan is to develop a practical, yet flexible, solution that is grounded in science, industry best practice and leading-edge developments. 

We’re bringing together a cross-functional team of Deloitte’s digital, risk, analytics, behavioural economists, climate science and sustainability experts, combining our capabilities to help ensure this world-first solution is tailored, fit for purpose and embedded with data privacy and security systems. 

We recognise that there are significant challenges in building a tool that farmers will be excited about and derive value in engaging with. So deep engagement with farmers will be essential to ensure we have a clear understanding of their unique needs with regards to climate vulnerability and resilience goals. By taking a user-centric approach, we seek to deliver information and support that is meaningful and will continue to embed user and stakeholder feedback into the design of the tool. 

The development of the DR SAT is a complex project, requiring several teams acting as one to create enduring value for our farming community. It is the prospect of this impact that will unlock the innovative and creative thinking needed to crack this nut.

Find out more about the DR SAT:

Future Drought Fund – Self-assessment tool to assist farmers build drought resilience

Pilot regions selected to design digital climate services for building drought resilience

Get in touch

Chi Mun Woo

Chi Mun Woo

Partner, Risk Advisory

Chi is a Partner in the Risk Advisory team at Deloitte Australia. He has over 20 years’ international experience advising businesses and NGOs on sustainability and climate change issues and strategies, management systems, performance measurement and impact evaluation, reporting and assurance. Prior to joining Deloitte, Chi worked in the UK and South Africa with clients such as BP, Chevron, Anglo American, the Cooperative Bank, Holcim, and BHP on sustainability strategy, and assurance. Chi’s public sector experience includes working with NGOs and governments on energy efficiency programs for townships and an endangered species conservation strategy for the UNDP and the Government of Botswana. In the UK, Chi worked with The Body Shop in its Ethical Auditing team and KPMG London between 1998 and 2004 where he was a lead author of the WBCSD/WRI GHG Protocol and represented KPMG on the International Emissions Trading Association’s CDM working group.