This Information bulletin provides information and project guidance related to the Circular Economy Markets Fund: Organics.
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An information session was held on Friday 24 June 2022. The material covered in this session can be found in the Fund Guidelines and was also covered in the Project Guidance session.
To request a copy of the slides presented at this Information Session please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A session to learn more about the Project Guidance material for the Organics Markets Fund was held online on Friday 20 May 2022.
This video shows 2 speakers presenting at the Recycling Victoria Organics Markets Fund Project Guidance Session on 20 May 2022.
The Sustainability Victoria presenters are:
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[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Victoria State Government’, ‘Recycling Victoria Organics Markets Fund’, ‘Project Guidance Session’, ‘(Planning your proposal)’, ‘Andrew Dougall, Mitchell Watson, Anna Calley’, ‘Date: 20 May 2022’]
Andrew Dougall: Hello and welcome to everyone for joining today’s project guidance session for the Recycling Victoria Markets Fund. For those of you who haven’t met me before or don’t know me my name’s Andrew Dougall and I’m the Industry Development Lead for Organics. I’m also working with my colleagues Anna who will be presenting later and my colleague Mitchell will be working behind the scenes running the webinar.
But first of all I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners. I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands upon which we’re meeting today. For me this is the people of the Kulin nations and I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I acknowledge that we live and work upon the lands of the world’s oldest and most sustainable culture. I acknowledge the deep connection to the earth of First Nations peoples and their invaluable contributions to our understanding of climate change in the environment. I also pay my respects to the traditional custodians of the lands from which you’re joining us today.
I’m actually calling from the lands of the Boonwurrung whose history goes back to when Port Phillip Bay was a large flat plain and they hunted kangaroos out there. It’s interesting to imagine that every time I go down to Port Phillip Bay. I imagine it as a large flat plain. Next slide thank you Mitchell.
So today’s agenda. I’ll give you a bit of context and market overview of the fund.
And then I’ll talk about the research we’ve done to inform the fund and the project guidance that we’ll be providing you for this to help you complete this fund. Anna will then talk about the investment opportunity and overview of the fund itself and then it will go back to me and I’ll talk a little bit more about using the project guidance. And as you’ll see we’re quite proud of it and it’s quite novel. And then we’ll talk about the next steps. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
So you’re probably asking yourself why release fund guidelines before the actual fund is released. Well the reason is we want the very best projects possible for this and we know that designing a project which could have a number of members in that project takes time. We know because of various reasons there will be a short amount of time to fill in the application form when the fund is launched so we’re in a sense giving you a heads up and giving you time to plan.
And we also want to expedite successful project announcement at the end. Thanks Mitchell for the next slide.
So the context and market overview. So Recycling Victoria is a ten year $380 million action plan. Our fund is part of the Recycling Victoria Markets Acceleration Program which is part of that policy and we aim to generate jobs, drive investment and innovation and reduce waste. Next slide Mitchell.
So this policy, the Recycling Victoria policy aims to halve the organic waste going to landfill and give FOGO recycling access to all Victorian households. For those of you who don’t know FOGO is the green bin, the kerbside green bin that you put garden waste and food waste in. We know that this will increase the supply of recycled organics so we’re acting to build demand so we have a readymade market for this supply and we can avoid stockpiles and market failure. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
So our markets research. So for those of you who are new to working with Government, Government’s routinely commissioned consultants to undertake research. This research is used for many ways for example to solve a problem, to inform policy, design a program – and that’s the case with this research – and prioritise action. We commissioned research in 2021 to look into the flows of organic waste and organic markets. And when I mean flows I mean the ways that organic waste moves through the supply chain, the tonnages that are collected, tonnages processed, tonnages used for market. So we’ve got a really good understanding of the potential for the organics market and where organics flow.
And this research was of course used to create a project guidance and some of you on the call may have been interviewed as part of this research and we thank you again for participating with that interview. Next slide thanks Mitchell.
So the project guidance as I said, what’s it for? Applicants can use this guidance to design their project and proposal and you’ll see the picture there on the right is a picture of the front page of the guidance. And importantly there’s information in that guidance which will help you estimate the number of end users who will adopt recycled organics as a result of their project. I can say you will be asked that when the fund application form is released and I’ll also say that we’re realistic about that figure, the number of end users adopting. We know it’s very hard to facilitate the adoption of a new practice. We won’t be expecting – well let’s say we’ll be expecting reasonable numbers for that. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
So this project guidance, how was it developed? It was developed in a number of ways for example with scientific literature. So our consultants looked at trial results going right back to the 90s in fact. They held interviews with industry and as I said some of the people on this webinar may have been interviewed by our consultants. We held workshops to prioritise and identify potential users for organics and ways to increase their adoption. Our consultants also had a wealth of knowledge and experience in the recycled organics industry and they drew heavily on that. And importantly – and I’ll talk about this later in the presentation – we used the CSIRO ADOPT Tool which is primarily for agriculture but it’s an established scientific tool that helps you work out how new practices, in our case compost use, will be adopted. But more on that later. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
I’ll hand over to my colleague Anna now who’ll talk about the fund. And it’s a fund we’re very proud of and we can’t wait until it’s launched. And I’ll leave it to you Anna.
Anna Calley: Thanks Andrew. So yeah I’ll take some time now just to talk a little bit about our upcoming investment program. So as Andrew discussed earlier under Recycling Victoria: A New Economy, Victoria’s circular economy policy there’s a really ambitious policy target to reduce the amount of waste that’s been sent to landfill and in doing so increase the service provision to all householders to access food and garden services over the course of the ten year policy life.
Our investment program aims to support that objective by working to build, establish and diversify end markets for recycled organics across Victoria. We know that there’s great use and interest in these products already and we want to build on the work that’s already been done in this space and support the sector to develop new and expand existing end markets for recycled organic products.
So the Organics Market Fund for which applications are opening soon is a significant investment package that aims to support end markets by funding projects that remove barriers and accelerate a sustained increase in the adoption of recycled organic products. So whilst applications to the fund have not yet opened we wanted to provide you with a bit of an overview of the program objectives and to share some information around the eligibility criteria so you can get prepared and start planning your project proposals.
So there are three key objectives for this fund and projects must meet one or more of them. The first is to identify, develop and diversify end markets for recycled organic products. The second is improve confidence in, demand for and uptake of recycled organic products. And finally to boost Victoria’s economy through local circular economy initiatives.
So to achieve these program objectives we’re offering grants of $15,000 to $400,000 to eligible applicants via a competitive grant round. Funding will support projects to build new and expand existing end markets for recycled organic products by either removing a barrier to increased product uptake or directly increasing a sustained use of recycled organic products.
So who can apply for the funding? The program requires a single applicant to apply for the fund. The applicant is fully accountable for the project delivery and must be one of the following organisation types that we have listed on the screen here. So they are businesses, catchment management authorities, local governments, industry associations, not for profit organisations and community groups such as farmer groups and farming owned organisations.
Applicants must also be legally constituted organisations and have a current ABN, be operating for a minimum of two years by the application closing date, meet or exceed the minimum co‑contribution requirements which I’ll talk to in a moment, and also agree to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant program and also comply with the funding terms and conditions.
Applicants may also choose to form collaborative partnerships for the purpose of undertaking the project. There’s no restrictions on who lead applicants can partner with, so this can be any organisation. And there’s also no restrictions on how many organisations can be involved as a project partner so long as the project partner has a clear and direct role in the project, has a current ABN and has a demonstrated co-contribution to the project. For more information around who can and can’t apply for funding please see our fund guidelines which are available on the SV Grants web page.
So in terms of co-contributions applicants must contribute at least $1 for every $1 funded. The co-contribution requirements vary depending on which type of organisation is applying for funding. So co-contributions by business and local government – and this also includes water corporations – must be financial, so that is cash. They’re not eligible to make any in-kind contributions. Contributions by not for profit and community groups – and this includes CMAs – can be either financial, so that’s cash, or in-kind.
So an in-kind contribution is the contribution of a good or service other than cash. And in-kind contributions should include the cost for these activities that are directly related to delivering the project. So some examples of these are for staff time that’s needed to manage the project, donated goods or services related to the project, or time spent on the project by volunteers. And there’s no limit to the proportion of the contribution that can be in-kind made by not for profits and community groups. Applicants however must justify how they’ve determined the dollar value for these in-kind contributions.
So for the purposes of this grant program – sorry next slide thanks Mitch. So for the purposes of this grant program recycled organic products that are eligible for funding are listed on the slide here. So they are compost, composted mulch, bio fertilisers derived from processed organic waste, dehydrated food products and products derived from insect processing of organic waste. It’s important to note as well that projects not only must promote end market uptake of at least one of these eligible recycled organic products, these products must also be sourced from Victorian businesses.
Projects that relate to other materials that are not specified on the screen here are not eligible for funding under this program. Sustainability Victoria does however have other funding programs that look to target other organic products and also projects that relate to organic waste reduction and avoidance. So for more information on these grant programs we encourage you to look at our SV grants web page and sign up to our grants newsletter.
So we haven’t been prescriptive in what activities we’ll fund. So long as projects can clearly demonstrate that they remove a barrier that prevents the uptake of a recycled organic product or directly increase the use and adoption of these products. There are however some requirements that must be met in order for your proposal to be eligible for funding. So some of these eligibility criteria are the project must not have started before the funding has been signed, the project must commence within three months of notification of your project being successful, you must meet all regulatory and planning requirements, focus on developing projects that are implemented within Victoria, use one of the eligible recycled organic products as specified in the guidelines and that I just spoke to, and projects must also be completed by June 2024.
Now you can submit multiple applications however each application must be for a different project. A single application must not be for multiple projects.
So to help you start thinking about what sort of projects would be eligible for funding we have a list of example projects that we would consider eligible. And so this list is by no means exhaustive. We’re just including it to start you thinking about what type of projects we’ll be looking to fund under this. So some examples of these projects could be the purchase of capital or equipment. So this could be for organic processes to decontaminate organics. We know that contamination is one of the biggest barriers to end markets so again we want to provide funding to improve the state’s ability to remove physical contamination and improve product quality. It could also be for the purchase of equipment that is required to blend gypsum or lime with compost to improve product value, or it could be equipment to spread compost. Some other examples could be the construction of storage bunkers to distribute product for urban and amenities. It could be the development of information resources or decision making tools to overcome a knowledge base barrier to adoption, field days, agricultural extension, pilots, trials, demonstrations. We’re really looking at any project that can remove a barrier or facilitate the increase of adoption for these recycled products.
The fund guidelines contain all the information that you need to start planning your proposal. It also contains a link to the project guidance material that Andrew spoke about and that can be used to support your project planning and development. In the fund guidelines you can also find more information around what project costs will and won’t be funded. It includes information around due diligence checks, funding conditions and how to apply for the fund via SmartyGrants. And whilst the fund as we’ve said is not open for applicants yet we really strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with these guidelines and start thinking about your project proposal along with any collaborative partnerships that you may wish to develop.
So I’ll just talk quickly around how your projects will be assessed. There’s four assessment criteria, what, how, who and why, that your application will be assessed against and each has its own weighting. So under What, we’re really looking for you to describe what you’re going to do and what are the outcomes and impact that your project will create. Some of the things that you may want to consider for this criteria are the challenge and the opportunity that your project’s addressing and how you will address it, the end markets that your project will be targeting and any sort of adoption projections.
Under How, here we’re wanting you to outline how the project will be delivered and how it will be delivered in a successful way. So the things that we’ll be assessing here is really your project delivery methods, timelines, key milestones, project costs including details of contributions and evidence of financial capacity to deliver the project. We’ll be looking at risk management, project monitoring and evaluation.
So under Why, what we’re wanting you to consider here is why is the project needed. So why is there a need for Government financial assistance, considering things like impact on scope and timing if it’s not funded. What are the project benefits, so looking at economic, environmental and community benefits. And why the project will improve market confidence and demand for recycled organic products.
And finally under Who, we want you to demonstrate that the lead applicant and project partners have the appropriate skills and capability to deliver the project.
So as we’ve said many times the fund is actually not open yet but some of the things along with the eligibility criteria that we’ve spoken about today and the assessment criteria that we want you to start thinking about is the market research. So really understanding what the market is that you’re trying to target, what is the opportunity, the challenge, the barrier that your project will address, and thinking about things like how will your project increase adoption and how will these outcomes be sustained over time.
Our application process also has some important questions that we ask as standard and some of these things that you might like to prepare are letters of support. So these are from any of your project partners. This includes also the addresses and ABN of any project partners and related entities. We need details around your insurance. So this is public liability, professional indemnity, WorkCover, a history of compliance and regulatory breaches and any conflicts of interest.
So this kind of just gives you a bit of a high level overview of the fund and we’ll be looking to do another information session once the fund opens and in that session we’ll be providing more detail around the project costs and talk through the eligibility criteria again. And we’ll also give you the opportunity to ask some of those questions that we don’t have the chance to do today.
So I’ll hand over to Andrew again who will outline how that market research and the project guidance can be used to support your project design and development.
Andrew: Thanks a lot Anna. And yeah I did neglect to mention that for probity reasons we can’t have questions at today’s session. However as Anna mentioned we will be having another information session which will have an interactive question and answer component to it which will occur after the fund is officially launched. Next page thanks Mitchell.
So I’m going to talk about our project guidance in more detail now but first some fine print. We’re very confident this guidance is useful and as you’ll see a lot of thoughtful work has gone into producing it. And those of you who are familiar with agricultural extension especially will be able to see that extension science that’s gone into it. However we understand that the end users for the recycled organics are diverse and farm systems and urban amenity systems and roadside users are also equally as diverse. So we’re certain that there’s opportunities to grow the market that we’ve missed and tactics and actions that we’ve missed. Therefore it’s not mandatory to use the project guidance but like all proposals we’ll need a compelling case as to why your project should be funded. So I’d just like to reiterate that. You’re invited to use the project guidance and we’re quite proud of it but it’s not mandatory to cite it or use it for your proposal. Next slide thanks Mitchell.
So to understand our project guidance first of all you have to understand a few concepts. Firstly the concept of specific uses. Specific uses refer to a way that recycled organics could be used by specific end users for example surface application of compost to cropping beds in south west Victoria or use of compost for establishment or maintenance of annual garden beds. We needed to be that specific so we could analyse the use properly especially when we used ADOPT. As I said you may have different specific uses you may like to focus on.
The next concept is a specific use analysis and this is where we’ve drilled down into those specific uses and looked at detailed ways that you can increase adoption for that specific use with a selection of farmers, parks and garden managers or roadside constructors. The CSIRO ADOPT Tool is a special model that we used to analyse the adoption of recycled organics in the agricultural sector and as I said we’ll talk about that and we’ll also watch a short video about that. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
So ADOPT. ADOPT is designed to help users think about and analyse how an agricultural innovation will be adopted within a given population.
And ADOPT is structured around four aspects of adoption. The characteristics of the innovation. And in our case the innovation is the use of recycled organics in agriculture. The characteristics of the population. So the population could be grain farmers in the Wimmera. The actual advantage of using the innovation, whether there’s an environmental advantage, a profitability advantage, and how easy or hard it is to learn the actual advantage of using this innovation.
Next slide thanks Mitchell. Mitchell will now show a short video about it. It goes for two minutes.
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Voiceover: Whether you’re developing a brand new idea, have a product that’s being released or a management option that farmers can benefit from you’ll want to know its likely rate of uptake. But predicting the rate of adoption is difficult and understanding the drivers can be the difference between triumph and costly failure.
ADOPT is unique and easy to use software which allows users to predict an innovation’s rate of adoption by the target market. With a particular focus on agriculture ADOPT guides your innovation’s adoption strategy. We work with mainstream agriculture, natural resource management, intensive agriculture or small holders in developing countries.
Now you can better explore and understand timeframes and opportunities to increase adoption rate with the easy to use interface. This is done by asking about the characteristics of the innovation and its users, advantages of using the innovation and how easily potential adopters can learn about the benefits of it. It not only generates a prediction of the likely peak level of adoption and the time required but also shows what level of adoption could be achieved by changing the innovation or extension strategies.
Join the more than 1,000 users from project teams, agricultural R&D investors, research organisations, extension agencies and international NGOs from 43 countries who have already used ADOPT and try a free version of ADOPT today at ADOPT.CSIRO.au.
[END VIDEO PLAYBACK]
Andrew: Well thank you Mitchell. Thanks Mitchell. That went really well. It’s always quite hair raising when you try to show a video within a webinar and Mitchell you’ve done a great job.
I’ve included this example of ADOPT output because it’s quite a good example about how accurate it can be. So this is an example of a retrospective ADOPT analysis done – and it’s actually on the website – about the adoption of GPS guided tractors, so tractors that steer themselves essentially. And it’s quite interesting for me because the company I work for was one of the very first companies to use self-steering tractors back in the late 90s. And you’ll see that the technology became available in 1998 and by 2012 it was adopted by 77% of Australian grain growers. And the retrospective ADOPT output as you’ll see shows that after 12 years 84% would have adopted it. So it’s actually quite accurate and it’s a good example.
So although this work is the first of its kind it has limitations and the limitations are reflected in the results which can show high variability. I’m talking about the compost, the recycled organics analysis we did now. And it suggests that more detailed work could be conducted for specific agricultural users in selected industries. For example the ADOPT methodology is far more robust when used in conjunction with groups of farmers rather than individuals. We advise applicants to consider a more comprehensive ADOPT model run, groups of farmers as part of their proposal. Next slide Mitchell.
Well that’s just what I said. And you’ll see that it’s quite cheap to use. It’s $49 for an individual account for a year and $200 for a team account. So in a sense what we’re saying is as you develop your project consider using ADOPT with the cohort of farmers you work with and get some advice on how you can increase adoption. Thanks Mitchell.
I just want to talk about the importance of contamination now. So when we did our ADOPT model runs and when we looked at our specific users we assumed that the product was free of visible contamination. Our research showed that contamination significantly reduces the adoption of recycled organics. So applicants should work with industry to ensure that low contamination product is used in their project. So for example if you’re working with a group of farmers you should reach out to a compost supplier early and ensure for that adoption work that you get a low contamination compost to use. Thanks Mitchell. Next slide.
As I said earlier in the presentation as part of your proposal you’ll be asked to estimate the number of end users who will adopt recycled organics as a result of your project. And as I also said we have realistic expectations for this. For the agricultural sector there’s a lot of info to help you estimate this. So the ADOPT output as I said. But we also from our material flow analysis we have an idea of the area hectares that the specific use could be adopted on and the rate of compost and the amount of compost that you’d need.
Next slide Mitchell. So using the project guidance. It’s got three main elements. Firstly it has suggested specific uses for recycled organics that have potential in the agricultural, urban and amenity and roadside sectors. So you can use this to identify what sort of recycled organics you may like to focus on. Recycled organics use I should say. These are identified as having potential for adoption by our consultants based on advice from people in this call. For each of these specific uses there is a specific use analysis.
The next element is general guidance on factors influencing the adoption of recycled organics for each sector. This sector has some great advice on strategies, tactics and actions. For example some of these strategies would have been the things that Anna mentioned like removing barriers, like doing on farm trials, that you might deploy to increase the adoption of recycled organics in those three sectors.
And finally the third component is specific guidance on strategies, tactics and actions to increase the adoption of specific uses. So we’ve got the general guidance and then the specific guidance on specific uses. So when you read the guidance it will become clearer. For each of our suggested specific uses there is a detailed analysis. For agriculture this includes the ADOPT model output.
Next slide Mitchell. So the next step is to take advantage of this great opportunity to improve soil health, join and build the circular economy. As we said the fund will be launched soon.
Watch the SV Grants page for the release of the fund and subscribe to our Grants Newsletter. We’ll also be making a public announcement when the fund is launched. And start planning your project.
We’ll also be providing a recording of this webinar.
And I’ll leave it at that I think. Thanks. Thanks Mitchell and thanks everyone for attending. And we really look forward to seeing you all again at the information session and participating in a Q&A. And we look forward to your proposals once the fund is launched. Thank you.
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We encourage applicants to consider and address how the project meets the eligibility and merit criteria outlined in the grant guidelines and application form.