Soil Capital, a firm of independent agronomists and financial professionals, has launched the first European carbon remuneration programme, for farmers by farmers.
The programme, called Soil Capital Carbon, uses the Cool Farm Tool (CFT) as its greenhouse gas (GHG) balance quantification tool and is being rolled out first with arable farmers in France and Belgium.
Two other CFA members have collaborated with Soil Capital to make this possible. Cargill, a global player in the agri-food industry, is one of the first companies to commit to purchasing the carbon certificates generated by farmers enrolled in the programme. Meanwhile, South Pole, an award-winning project developer and provider of climate solutions, developed the technical side of the programme and is bringing its carbon certificates to market.
The motivation for the programme comes from Soil Capital’s history as a regenerative farm management and advisory business, globally. Based on its deep experience transitioning farms from conventional to more profitable, regenerative agriculture practices around the world, Soil Capital has seen that there are three consistent factors that prevent farmers from making this transition at scale: (i) fear of loss; (ii) lack of market incentives; (iii) lack of confidence.
The firm has developed mySoilCapital – a decision-support and reward platform for regenerative transitions – to address each of these barriers together.
The experience for farmers is simple, yet profound. Once a year, they share their operational and practice data with a trained agronomist, who then uses the mySoilCapital platform to generate a series of decision-support dashboards.These bring together, often for the first time for a farmer, analysis of their economic, soil health and GHG performance. The dashboards reveal the interconnections between these and, crucially, provide benchmarking against other local farmers who are also using the platform.
This enables farmers to learn from local peers where there are opportunities to make savings on production costs in ways that do not risk yields and simultaneously improve soil health and GHG performance. While the analytics behind the economic and soil health pillars are Soil Capital’s own, the calculation engine for GHGs is the CFT.
The mySoilCapital platform has been designed so that when a farmer uses it, they have the option to also participate in Soil Capital Carbon and be compensated for improvements they make to their GHG balance. South Pole’s work on the technical side means that the programme is aligned with ISO standard 14064. The ISO certificates that are generated through the programme are purchased by companies like Cargill and, when participating farmers are shown to be within the company’s supply chain, can be used to support a claim of reduced Scope 3 emissions.
James Ede, Sustainability Manager for Cargill’s Starches, Sweeteners & Texturizers business in EMEA, commented, “Soil Capital has built trust and credibility with farmers through a unique system which integrates soil health agriculture techniques and farm business profitability. Our partnership with Soil Capital allows us to continue investing in soil health principles that helps enhance farmer livelihoods, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.”
Renat Heuberger, CEO, South Pole, said, “Soil Capital is taking a pioneering approach to delivering the future of agriculture and we are convinced that scaling this work through this carbon payments programme holds the potential for transformational change in the agriculture sector.”