Member Exclusive: A conversation with Adrian Greet, Director General and Jane Duncan, Operations Director, SAI Platform

30th November 2020

“Despite the uncertainty we have still delivered good progress for the members through our industry solutions, activities, webinars and projects.”

Adrian Greet, Director General, SAI Platform

As 2020 draws to a close, there is no doubt that it has been a challenging year. Some might even say, a wake-up call and the dress rehearsal for the imminent and bigger crisis of climate change.

In this last member exclusive video podcast of the year, Adrian and Jane share some of their thoughts and insights from 2020 in terms of the progress and delivery for SAI Platform. They reveal their concerns and optimism about why this has been a year of focus, the importance of diversification in the membership and what to expect in 2021.

I’ve always thought that we do adapt to situations well when we have to, but this year has really shown that to me.Jane Duncan

For Adrian, the whole year has been flavoured by COVID-19. The exacerbation of the uncertainty at the beginning of the year, which then became a reality. New restrictions and confinement rightly diverted attention to focusing on how to best support each other as a team and our members who were also having to adapt quickly to new ways of operating.

Similarly, for Jane adaptability and resilience were key, in a world that is normally so vagile. In some ways SAI Platform was ahead of the game, already working as a virtual team. However, like everyone else, there was still the need to adapt to only working online and never meeting face-to-face with colleagues, members or partners. Events in particular were impacted, resulting in a swift move online to deliver webinars with expert panel discussions, training events and meetings, such as the General Assembly.

“In many ways 2020, enabled us to focus on core activities.” Jane Duncan

Progress in the development of three very tangible industry solutions has been significant in 2020. Examples of this are the development of FSA 3.0, ready for launch next year, as well as the steady progress of SDP and ERBS.  However, 2020 has allowed time for reflection and to consider the direction of SAI Platform in terms of goals and objectives in line with new challenges and the wider global situation. A subsequent challenge is to find the balance between more focus on delivering outcomes and impact, but equally balancing the diversity of the ask from members.  Adrian acknowledges the desire for more progress and more focus on outcomes, but also the request to cover more topics, more regions and more commodities, all of which are important for a sustainable future.

 “We need to find the most effective way to deliver action on the ground and at scale: opening up our membership enables us to better achieve that.” Adrian Greet

One of SAI Platform’s challenges is the need to work more closely with farmers and really understand the practical realities of farming and the challenges farmers face. In what Jane described as a progressive step, the decision was taken this year to open the membership to farm input providers and to further bridge that gap, providing insights and a clearer understanding between the needs of the food industry and the food industry having a better understanding of farmers’ needs.

“I am optimistic about where SAI Platform is going and what’s possible for 2021.” Adrian Greet

Expectations for 2021 are high, and Adrian and Jane recognise the challenges as the leadership of a small, but very dedicated, hard-working and skilful team, to come together and deliver. For them it is essential to target key areas and ensure that the diverse needs and interests of members are met, while getting that balance right between focus, progress and value.

Nature has been a big topic for 2020 and Adrian sees this continuing into 2021. The involvement of SAI Platform as a supporting partner in the Business for Nature call for action, is an association to be proud of.

Crisis often creates connections as well as challenges and the collaborative efforts between the membership, the Executive Committee, the Advisory Council and the Secretariat have made those connections stronger and ready for 2021.