The New Zealand
Sustainability Dashboard

New Zealand needs to be a leading contributor to the process of integrating and creating greater scientific substantiation of green product claims. The challenge is to design New Zealand and sector-specific key performance indicators (KPIs). These will guide primary producers to best practices of special relevance to New Zealand society, ecology and land care. Just as important is the ability to communicate with customers. The system needs to enable overseas consumers to benchmark and verify the sustainability credentials of New Zealand exported products.

The solution

The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard project will provide a sustainability assessment and reporting tool in partnership with five primary industry sectors. The monitoring protocols will enable farmers/growers to rapidly score their own performance across economic, social and environmental criteria. A multifunctional web application will facilitate the uploading of regular monitoring results. It will instantly summarise and report back trends to the growers, to industry representatives, and to agriculture regulators and policy makers at regional and national levels.

The process

The programme is built on a core of existing capability and knowledge of the Agriculture Research Group On Sustainability (ARGOS). A mixture of interviews and questionnaires to local and global stakeholders will ensure the resulting tool is trusted as being scientifically robust. It involves Participatory Action Research with a concerted focus on the inclusion of end-users and researchers from a range of disciplines working together to develop tool prototypes.

NZ Wine is the first sector to take part, due to their existing extensive grower and winery reporting system. This system has been developed by Agrilink to provide Sustainable Wine NZ members with individualised reports on water, energy and most recently agrichemical use. These reports benchmark and track resource use. An example is shown below for winery energy use.


Sustainable Wine New Zealand – Enhanced Scorecard Reporting and Benchmarking


Existing individualised reports to growers and wineries on energy, water and agrichemical use


The Sustainability Dashboard is primarily being developed to help farmers and growers utilise the large amounts of information available, and to assist them with their subsequent management decisions. It will also help them comply with the ever increasing demands for market and regulatory reporting. It is anticipated that the use of the tool will guide farmers and growers in optimising their overall farm performance, while protecting environmental and social values. It will reduce monitoring and regulatory costs, build consumer trust, and secure market access. It will also garner support from the wider New Zealand society by verification and regular reporting of standardised sustainability criteria.

Testing the accuracy and statistical reliability of the KPIs will be coupled with on-going research on how the tool is used. We will examine whether it changes farmers actions and beliefs for more sustainable agriculture, and whether stakeholders trust and regularly use the tool.


About Agrilink

Agrilink provides consultancy services to individual clients and their industry organisations to optimise resource-use efficiency through the development and implementation of practical solutions. Agrilink applies this knowledge to our project management of large multi-stakeholder projects.

Agrilink has the most comprehensive resource-use inventory of New Zealand’s primary production systems. By combining this with our life-cycle thinking strategies, we focus on improving business profitability for our clients and partnering with them to create a better world.

The Sustainability Dashboard will provide a hub for learning to become more sustainable.