Australia's viticulture industry continues to perform highly on an international scale and our wineries have been acknowledged as leading the way in terms of whole-farm management and quality production methods. Given the industry's constantly evolving production standards, it is critical that these advancements are accommodated with equally progressive financing structures.
NAB are Australia’s largest banking provider for Australian viticulture. Currently, in their risk assessment of wineries they are dependent property value, farm assets and past balance sheets to assess the financial investment risk and hence financing rates. These values are reflective purely on historical data and performance, which means that no indications of the future sustainability of the farm or the efficiency of its farm management practices are incorporated into the lending decision-making process.
In response to this lack of foresight in agricultural financing, NAB have partnered with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in association with Food Agility, to use collections of sustainability performance metrics to provide better crafted financial solutions for Australian viticulture businesses. The AWRI’s Entwine program has operated for the past 7 years, collecting farm level environmental data (such as water, energy and chemical usage) as well as production information from over 500 producer members to establish industry benchmarks and performance analyses.
This project's implementation of 'Natural Capital Accounting' methods will couple up environmental metrics data with ongoing financial performance to develop case studies for new processes of viticultural finance, with the intention of nation-wide and inter-industry applications should positive correlations be found. This poses a potentially revolutionary approach to the banking and agribusiness industries of Australia.