October 12, 2021

How Preventing Invasive Weeds Helps Our Pocket and the Planet

Apart from looking ugly when they get away into bushland areas, invasive weeds have a huge impact on biodiversity.

The greenlife industry is more aware than most industries that the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and our future medicines come from the ecosystem services provided by plants and animals, or more specifically biodiversity. 

A new study in NeoBiota reports that since the 1960s Australia has spent or incurred losses totalling $389.59 billion from the impact of invasive species. Costs arising from invasive plant species are the highest at $209.32 billion. Conversely, weed prevention programs such as the Gardening Responsibly Initiative, can provide a 1:100 return on investment.

Considering other reports from 2005 suggest that 72% of invasive weeds were accidentally introduced from ornamental gardens, it is important that the greenlife industry has a clear way to demonstrate responsibility for the ornamental plants supplied to market, to help protect biodiversity from the environmental damage caused by invasive weeds.

The Gardening Responsibly Initiative provides an avenue for industry to demonstrate its commitment to corporate social responsibility. According to Sunil Misser of PwC Australia:

“Corporate social responsibility is not just about managing, reducing and avoiding risks. It is about creating opportunities, generating improved performance, making money and leaving the risks far behind”.

Sunil Misser, PwC Australia

Recent market trends indicate increased consumer interest in businesses that demonstrate corporate social responsibility and environmentally friendly practices. Considering millennials now make up approximately 29% of the gardening population, the fact that 76% of millennials report interest in environmental issues and it impacts how they spend their money, there is a big opportunity for the greenlife industry to promote how their business is helping people and the planet.

Did You Know?

  • Hort Innovation recently launched the Horticulture Sustainability Framework (HA19001).
  • Thee quarters of Australian businesses have metrics to measure environmental sustainability .
  • 27% of those businesses intend to make their supply chain more environmentally sustainable in the next one to two years.

Our Ornamental Plant Decision Support Tool, developed by Macquarie University, can be used to predict and prevent future landscape-scale weed invasions. The tool uses the latest scientific evidence to determine which ornamental plant species or cultivars are more environmentally friendly and able to be marketed under a newly developed eco-label. We’ve developed a new citizen science platform to house the tool so that industry, government and the community can work together to protect biodiversity and promote great quality environmentally friendly ornamental plants to a broad range of consumers.

Members of the Initiative’s Plant Sure Scheme obtain a marketing advantage by helping customers and clients feel good about their garden plants, while helping our pockets and our planet. 

Aimee Freimanis

Gardening Responsibly Initiative/Plant Sure Scheme, Program Manager

Aimee is the Program Manager for the Gardening Responsibly Initiative and Plant Sure Scheme. Her role involves facilitating and coordinating both the initiative and the program in consultation with industry, government and community stakeholders.

Aimee has a multi-disciplinary background with a strong grounding in science and management, community engagement and building corporate partnership programs. Her expertise has been developed by working with clients across commercial, government and non-for-profit sectors. Through collaboration, she has been successful in securing triple bottom line outcomes with clients, project partners and community members. Her passion lies in developing innovative and creative educational materials to connect with audiences and convey environmental messages.