Banksia Awards - Nomination for Provenir!
By Jayne Newgreen
The Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious and longest running sustainability awards in Australia.
Established in 1989, the Banksia Foundation has a mission to inspire excellence in sustainability through the following four goals;
1) to recognise and celebrate individual & organisation contributions to sustainability across Australia
2) to educate the community about sustainability
3) to become Australia’s “Sustainability Hub”
4) to build a sustainable organisation
The Awards are based around the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
As an entrant we were required to assess our own business, based on the Global Goals, and provide a written submission to the Banksia Awards. The submission provided a background on our initiative. It outlined the learnings we had achieved through implementation of our approach, detailed results which align with the SDG’s, and also explored the legacy that we hope our business will leave.
As 2020 drew to a close we took the opportunity to reflect upon Provenir from the perspective of the SDG’s, as we prepared our submission to the prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards.
Our team researched the Global Goals and considered them as they relate to our business. We reflected upon the vision we had for Provenir, well before our operational launch in June of 2019, and how we had stuck to our goals, or diverted along the way. The SDG’s provided a framework from which we could focus on each area of our business, to assess how well we are doing in our desire to grow a sustainable and environmentally conscience company, and most importantly identify areas for improvement.
The SDG’s enabled us to view the business of Provenir from many different sustainability perspectives. From the more obvious Global Goal of climate action, which we address through our partnerships with regenerative farmers, through to the sustainable cities and communities goal, which Provenir seeks to address by nurturing the connection between consumers and farmers, and connecting people with the provenance of their food.
The process of reflecting upon our business at is relates to sustainability was very rewarding. It was a cathartic process to reflect upon the past 18 month of operations, explore where we are heading and consider what legacy Provenir may leave behind.
We wanted to share our submission with you here, so you can learn about what we’re doing, but also so you can know that when you buy Provenir, you are also contributing towards a more sustainable future.
We are pleased to announce that Provenir have made it through the first round of judging and will be interviewed by the Banksia Award judges in late January 2021 for the final assessment!
Fingers crossed our unique on-farm process will be further recognised by the Banksia Awards, and that if we’re successful we will be able to shine a brighter light on the amazing regenerative farmers we partner with.
Inspired by a desire to improve animal welfare and produce the most delicious, sustainably produced meat in Australia
In June 2019 the founders of Provenir launched Australia’s first and only mobile on-farm abattoir.
Provenir’s on farm processing technology, eliminates the stress to animals associated with live animal transportation, resulting in exceptional quality meat.
Live transportation prior to slaughter is an industry-known issue, affecting meat quality and yield. Indeed, RSPCA’s Policy supports processing at the point of production –Provenir is the only company in Australia that can achieve this for beef production.
On farm processing is the holy grail of true paddock to plate meat production. Whilst many have considered on farm processing the barriers to entry have been considered too high. For the founders and team at Provenir (aka – the Proveniros) – these barriers made the end goal all the more desirable and motivated the team to undertake the challenge that industry and regulators, said couldn’t be done.
Pioneering a new path
Pioneering a novel supply chain in a mature, heavily regulated industry is no easy feat, even more so when the founders came from outside the industry. However, true disruption comes from innovative thinking, being prepared to challenge the status quo and sometimes, the blessing of ignorance. The founders knew from the outset that they would have to not only have to challenge indoctrinated thought, but also to change the laws in order to be licensed.
Provenir was accepted into Australia’s first “Ag-Tech” focused start-up incubator SproutX, ensuring that the company was equally driven by a desire to improve animal welfare and a business model that would support financial success. The Provenir “elevator pitch” is very simple – “Instead of the animals going to the abattoir, the abattoir goes to the animals”.
This value proposition enabled Provenir to raise just over $1million dollars and successfully landed a Meat and Livestock Australia co-funding grant providing over $650,000, to build Australia’s first mobile abattoir, making the founders dream of commercial on-farm processing a reality.
However, despite best efforts, the project became 6 months overdue and money was rapidly running out. In desperation to keep the dream, and the company alive, the team flew to WA to get the build to a basic “road worthy” state and drive the unit 4500kms to Victoria to complete the build under the teams’ direct management.
Whilst the build of the unit almost killed the company before it started, it taught the team valuable lessons in creating unique products and processes and how adaptability and innovation had become the cornerstone of the Provenir mindset.
Results to date
On the 19th of June 2019, on a very frosty morning at John Doyle’s farm Claredale in Berrigan NSW, Provenir became Australia’s first licensed mobile abattoir, achieving an A-License from the NSW Food Authority and hence reaching the “starting line” of Provenir’s quest to produce Australia’s Best Beef.
For Provenir to produce the Best Beef, it had to be the best animal welfare, the best environmental sustainability as well as the best quality. This was clearly recognised and rewarded in the 2019 Australia Food Awards, in which Provenir not only wom a Gold Medal but took out Best in Class Beef. In 2020 Provenir won the delicious. Australia Produce Award for Outstanding Innovation, Sustainability & Community.
Carcass utilisation the key to sustainable success
Whole carcass utilisation is pivotal to Provenir’s business and environmental sustainability. The whole animal is valued ensuring that every part is utilised in the highest way. For example, offal, fat and bones are utilised for human consumption before being assigned to our pet food partners or renderers, “Nothing to waste” is our mantra.
Improved animal welfare creates superior tasting meat by retaining the glycogen and hydration in the muscle. By processing on farm, Provenir actually achieves a consistently higher yield (up to 10%) in edible meat product – from the very same animal.
Good Health for cattle, farmers & consumers
Provenir not only produces nutrient dense protein from healthy free-range grass-fed cattle, it contributes to the wellbeing of our farmers, giving their life work increased purpose and connectedness.
Talking about the last taboo
Provenir always knew that transparently educating consumers of the currently supply chain, and how on-farm process can be better was a key mission of the company. Provenir seeks to explore these topics and educate via social media and the opportunity to converse with customers on these platforms.
By processing cattle at the point of production Provenir are in a unique position to capture not only the quality but also the true provenance of our meat.
We know this holds great value for conscientious consumers, who want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised, and also connect with the people that grew it. Provenir’s digital provenance platform, accessed by a unique QR code on every single cut, can be scanned with a mobile phone to provide the consumer with the details on the cut of beef, the cattle, the farm and connects them with the farmer and their story of how they raise their cattle.
Equality & diversity
The meat industry has traditionally been a male- dominated industry. Provenir actively seeks to support gender diversity within our workplace. Provenir’s company Chair, and two out of three founders are female, providing a good starting point to work towards and achieve our goal of equal gender representation.
Innovation at the heart of our operation
Innovation is at the heart of Provenir, from mobile on-farm processing, to state of the art digital provenance platform, and our vertically integrated business model. The founder team, who includes a farmer, a vet, a chef, a marketer and a lawyer, always shared a vision for a better way of doing things and their sheer hard work, determination and blissful ignorance of ‘the way things are done’ in the industry have seen them make a fundamental shift in an industry which has remained set in its ways for generations.
Nurturing a connection between consumers and farmers
Working on our farmer partners’ land, Provenir staff experience first-hand their farming practices and animal management techniques. We have a responsibility to share our farmers stories and legacy. Provenir’s digital provenance platform (accessed via QR codes), allows consumers to validate each purchase, providing full transparency from farm practices to breeds processed, creating consumer confidence that they are supporting the farming systems in which they believe.
Provenir has fostered a community that nurtures the connection between consumers and farmers, to drive positive changes in the farming sector and consumer behaviour.
Supporting regenerative farming
Central to Provenir’s ethos and core values is to “honour the animal”. We focus on utilising every part of the animal – both edible and inedible, it means to raise the animals in ways that support the regeneration of our ecosystems and biodiversity, and it means to use farming practices that can start to reverse the impacts of climate change.
Provenir is committed to partnering with farmers that upheld the same vision. Through sharing our partnering farmers stories, we are growing a community of consumers who are driving demand for regeneratively farmed beef.
A genuine partnership between farmer & processor
Provenir actively seeks out and support farmers who are practicing regenerative farming techniques to restore the land on which they farm and return carbon to the soils.
Our partnering farmers are an integral part of our team, one of us “Proveniros”. We celebrate and share their personal farming stories via our website and QR codes, and connect them with the people that eat the meat they work so hard to raise
Pioneering change for the better and leaving a legacy
Provenir’s legacy will always be that it has fundamentally changed the Australian red meat supply chain for the better – better for animals, better for farmers, better for consumers.
18 months into operations Provenir has had to adapt, innovate and overcome significant external challenges including drought, bushfires, COVID-19, closure of food service and record high cattle prices, and we have successfully grown, showing that conscientious consumers are demanding a high welfare, sustainably raised meat option.
Provenir will soon seek further investment to scale the operation with a vision for multiple units across the Australian eastern seaboard. Provenir future growth will be in partnership with our regenerative farmers, creating a truly sustainable beef option for Australia.
The Provenir founders and team sees a time, when on farm processed meat is not a niche market but a highly accessible alternative for consumers, which will support a transition for the meat industry to entirely sustainable production systems.