Co-creating a climate initiative for Australia’s primary producers


    This project showcases the value of extensive stakeholder engagement to craft responses to incredibly complex challenges.


    The challenge 

    Australia’s primary producers — farmers, growers, fishers and foresters — face increasing challenges and risks due to climate change and economic uncertainty.

    In October 2018 the National Farmers Federation published a 2030 Roadmap calling for unity and sustainability across Australian’s agriculture sector, and set a $100bn target for farm gate output.

    To support these goals, the Rural Research and Development Corporations set about establishing new ways of working with Australia’s primary producers. This project is called the RDC Climate Initiative. The intent is to truly help producers mitigate and adapt to increasing climate risks and increase their farm gate output in a sustainable way. 

    In July 2020 (during COVID-19 lockdown) the Council engaged Meld Studios to facilitate an intensive stakeholder engagement process to:

    1. Introduce this initiative to a broad range of producer, government and industry groups 
    2. Establish mechanisms for ongoing stakeholder engagement 
    3. Gain valuable insights to inform next steps and funding from the Australian Government. 


    What we did

    We worked as a blended Council and Meld Studios team, connecting virtually several times a week to continually reflect on and refine our approach and outputs.

    Over a two-week period we co-facilitated six online workshops with 71 people, including 36 primary producers and 35 industry stakeholders, to understand priorities and barriers to building climate resilience across Australia’s primary industries. Here is an overview of stakeholders involved in these workshops.

    Together we created four artefacts to communicate key findings and next steps: 

    • A roadmap to communicate the overall approach
    • An insights and opportunities map to summarise the workshop outputs
    • A progress report for the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) that the Council represents 
    • A short presentation to communicate key points to various stakeholder groups, including the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.


    Where to next

    The Council will use our outputs to prioritise its multi-million dollar investment in climate initiatives over the next 5-7 years. 



    We’d like to thank the Council and Meld Studios team for their dedication to experimenting with co-design as an approach for tackling this complex problem in an inclusive and iterative manner. 

    We’d also like to thank the 71 stakeholders from across Australia who quickly dedicated their precious time to engaging with this initiative. 

    We look forward to continuing this journey towards a more sustainable and economically productive future for some of Australia’s most important industries.

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