A collective impact approach to restoring on-farm natural capital



Perth NRM is establishing a collective impact approach and investment case for restoring natural capital in the West Australian farming landscape through funding by Lotterywest. The purpose is to restore natural capital in our farming landscapes.

The project aims to:

  • Establish an overarching approach to restoring on-farm natural capital.
  • Identify a few key indicators for change and ensure there is consistency with how we monitor and evaluate aligned activities. The M&E information will be aggregated and utilised to demonstrate change (impact) at appropriate scale.
  • Establish and present a business case for government and philanthropic entities to invest into restoring natural capital.


Why do we need to restore natural capital in the farming landscape?

Water, soil, and biodiversity are the foundational natural capital assets that farmers rely on to produce food and fibre. Unfortunately, many farming practices draw-down the supply of on-farm natural capital at a far greater rate than it can be replenished through natural processes. This means we need more-and-more inputs to compensate for the draw-down. Ongoing productivity improvements (producing more with each unit of input) has prolonged current practices and prevented the agriculture sector from making the investment that’s needed to manage the draw-down. It has exacerbated the loss of natural capital from the system, and we are now being challenged with declining access (availability, higher prices etc) to inputs. Farmers are very aware of the impact farming practices have on the productive capacity of the land, its asset value, and its resilience. As is the case with all commercial operations, farmers are forced to produce a product for a market that wants to pay as little as possible for the product. Ultimately, we are all complicit in the draw-down of natural capital.

By taking a public benefit lens to this challenge, we can start paying-what-it-takes to support farmers restore the natural capital that our food systems depend on.

Applying Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), restoring natural capital.

By applying a NCA lens, we can determine over time the extent that different farming practices draw-down or restore natural capital (verifying sustainability). This measure-to-manage approach will help inform the strategic investment that’s needed to support farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices and enable them to demonstrate good land stewardship credentials for the market.

Collective impact?

An intentional way of working together and sharing information for the purpose of solving a complex problem. The approach has been effective in the health and welfare sector. It has helped individual organisations who operate in similar spaces establish overarching shared purpose and improved efficiencies through measuring the same things, sharing results, and tracking progress towards large scale impact. Taking a collective impact approach will help ensure this investment has an enduring demonstrable impact.

For more information, please contact one of the following people:

Craig Pensini, Project Manager Collective Impact
Keith Pekin, Chief Executive Officer,
Dr Ingrid Sieler, Stakeholder Engagement Manager
David Broadhurst, Sustainable Agriculture Manager

Project details

CONTENT TYPE: Participate
MEDIA TYPE: Study, Web Page
INDUSTRY: All Industries
START DATE: 1 January 2024

Project contact

Craig Pensini
Project Manager - Collective Impact
Perth NRM