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Greenhouse gases

Make yourself a free account in the Cool Farm Tool by registering at Tips:

o Be sure to check your spam/junk folder for the account confirmation email. If you’re registering with a gmail address, gmail sometimes classifies our confirmation email as spam and you never get to see it. If you suspect this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to contact for help activating your account.
o When you log in, be sure to use your username and not your email address along with the password. Username should not have an @ sign.

It takes just 10 -15 minutes to get a rough estimate of your carbon footprint by entering information off the top of your head. To refine this estimate using information from farm records can take a bit longer, 30-60 minutes. Often the most time consuming part is looking up or estimating kWh and fuel for the year for the given crop from electricity and fuel bills. You may also wish to spend some time exploring options for reducing GHG emissions and making a plan.
Drop-down lists in the tool simplify data entry. Here is a list of questions for crop products that may require preparation in advance:

o Harvested yield and marketable yield product weights
o Growing area
o Fertiliser applications: type and rate
o Number of pesticide applications
o Energy use (kWh and fuel use)
o Optionally, transport: mode, weight of product and distance

For livestock to calculations are built from herd size, manure management, feed and energy use.

See ‘Data inputs’ tab in on the greenhouse gas page for the full list.

If you don’t have a group code, just leave it blank. If your customer has given you a group code, type that in the box provided when logging in. This code activates certain member-only features such as data export and data aggregation. If you think you should have access to member-only features, contact your buyer or check with the CFT team to make sure your customer is a member.
The tool creates a default name by crop and by year, but allows you to overwrite it. The naming convention depends on what you’re measuring, and how you keep your records. Many growers choose to enter by crop, field and year. If you would like a customer to be able to identify your farm when sharing data to them, you should add identifying information to the footprint name such as the farm or family name (and likewise do not add such information if you wish to remain anonymous).
Livestock feed, compost or other heavy inputs transported to the farm and used in production should be included. The Cool Farm Tool is generally used up to the farm gate and not beyond. However the option is there to include transport beyond the farm gate. Include this only if the supply chain project you’re participating in specifically requests you to.
If you don’t see your crop listed, choose from the list of “other” crops at the bottom of the drop-down list, and ensure if your crop is a legume you select this from the list. The main impact of not finding a direct match is that you will have to provide your own estimate of crop residue. This figure is to be entered by dry weight.
In addition to the list of common compounds, there is the option to “Compose your own NPK”. This has been developed for composing particular blends, where you can select the percentage of N, P and K from different sources. Watch the Field Treatment user tutorial video to see how this works.
No, unfortunately we cannot include all local units, but most of the standard unit conversions are included
The greenhouse gas metric works on a per-product basis, whereas in contrast the biodiversity metric is for whole-farm. We recognize the potential benefits that exist from taking a whole farm perspective, but these are not readily modeled to allow simple user data entry. However, the Tool does already account for cover crops used in rotation, as well as factors such as land use change and trees on the land.
The Cool Farm Tool covers virtually all crops and livestock globally. One exception is for crops grown in non-soil media (e.g. greenhouses or hydroponically), but proxies can be used. The Tool is undergoing an update for livestock including new emission factors for feed, and improvements to the user interface. A project is also underway to improve ease of use and applicability of the Cool Farm Tool for many perennial and multi-year crops (coffee, tea, orchard crops, berries). Results from both projects are due in 2017.
Not yet. We recognize how valuable this would be are collecting the data necessary to provide this. We need to ensure we have sufficient good quality data before building this into the tool, and this is on our members’ ‘wish list’ for the future.
User data is held privately within each user account, and is not accessible to other users. The Cool Farm Tool privacy policy permits the Cool Farm Alliance to use de-identified information and statistics on usage to further our mission – to enable millions of growers globally to make more informed on-farm decisions to improve their environmental impacts. At this stage, The Cool Farm Alliance has not used any data from the Tool, and has just begun work with specialists in data ethics at the University of Oxford to develop a data policy which protects and respects the rights of users, while enabling insights to be gained from the aggregate of collected data. Examples of future insights from the data may be: understanding of distribution of crop production; benchmarking GHG performance; benchmarking fertiliser applications; etc. Users can however, choose to share their data through the system using a members-only “share code.”
The Cool Farm Tool is intended to help farmers choose management options that improve their environmental performance and to track and measure improvement over time. Tool results can be reported to CDP to provide carbon disclosure for agricultural supply chain emissions, the Sustainability Consortium. Participation’s climate key performance indicator (KPI) and in Corporate Social Responsibility reporting generally. For consumer facing labels or claims, Tool results require third party verification.
Data aggregation is a member-only feature and is handled through “share codes”. Cool Farm Alliance members can have one or more share codes. Customers give these codes to their farmer-suppliers, who upon completing their crop footprint can send their data with this share code. This process enables the owner of the share code (normally the supply chain customer) to see all of the datasets sent using the share code, at which point they can be analyzed in detail.
The Cool Farm Tool is free for famers. Organisations that use the Tool to support sustainable agriculture pay to become Cool Farm Alliance members. These memberships enable us to operate and further develop the Tool – find out more and Join the Alliance here
Broadly, yes. Standards such as these describe what to include in a carbon footprint in terms of scope and boundaries. For example, many standards state that agricultural assessments must include N2O emissions from fertilizer application, but they do not provide the calculation tools needed to provide these numbers. Thus the Cool Farm Tool is complementary to these standards and enables compliance with them. Whichever standard you are using, review its requirements and get in touch if you would like to discuss in detail.
See the “Method papers” tab on the Greenhouse gas page. For the technical description of the Cool Farm Tool methods, email with a request.
Soil carbon increases in response to management changes but eventually stabilizes and reaches a new equilibrium point. When this point is reached depends on several factors and is the subject of ongoing research. For reasons of practically and consistency the IPCC and many carbon accounting standards therefore assume that most of the changes in soil carbon stocks are limited to the 20 years after a change in management or land use.
Because of the high number of agro-chemicals available to farmers, it is beyond the scope of this model to incorporate a detailed emissions sub-model for this aspect. The coefficient used for pesticides is 21.5 kg CO2e per application per hectare, which represents the best average available. We conducted a review of this issue in 2010 and concluded that refining this factor was unimportant because of the relatively small portion of the overall footprint represented by pesticides combined with the number of formulations available and the potential difficulties in obtaining information about product manufacture.
Crop residues are to be entered in terms of DRY MATTER.
Yes, the Cool Farm Alliance is a community of members working together to develop and use a common Tool, and to share knowledge on its use in supply chains. The Alliance meets regularly, and has internal technical working groups and committees to tackle shared challenges. Please get in touch to join the discussion and support the mission.
Your completed footprint is private to all other Tool users, unless you wish to share to a third party which requires active steps using a ‘share code’.

To enable sharing, a customer would provide you with a share code. Within the Tool, when you reach the finish flag at step 7, you can scroll down to find a dialog box for sharing your data. Use this to type in the share code provided by your customer and click “share”. This makes the data available to the customer for data aggregation and analysis. The sender of shared footprints is anonymous, but the footprint name you entered at step 1 will be visible.


If you’re using good practices, the biodiversity metric gives you a way to gain recognition for this. If you’re not or if you are and want to improve, the biodiversity metric will show you how. As buyers continue to want more transparency and evidence of good practice, the biodiversity score give you a way to provide this.
Knowledge of the practices on your farm and the sizes of areas not in production or managed for biodiversity. The tool asks you about each beneficial practice giving you the ability to check the practices you employ.
The scope of the CFT Biodiversity metric is whole farm. The other metrics – GHG and Water – are calculated on a crop by crop basis, so this method is different in this respect.
Go to
Yes, to fill out the CFT biodiversity metric you need to register and create a free account for yourself on the CFT app website If you already have an account, there is nothing new you need to do. Simply log in and look for the biodiversity button at the bottom of the left hand menu.
If the customer has given you a “group code” to use upon log in, type that in the box provided. Otherwise leave it blank. Note that the log in requires your username NOT your email address.
The system give you a default, overwrite it – consider using the name of your farm, name of person doing the assessment, zip code and/or date
Assessments are initially awarded 21% for not using conventional crop protection products, which can impact negatively on biodiversity if not managed appropriately. The 21% is lost when product types (insecticides, fungicides etc) are specified in question 2.3, but can all be won back for actions related to responsible use (2.4 – 2.8
It takes about half an hour, to answer the 42 questions using information already on hand
Data and results are confidential, but you might want to share them. No other user of the tool can see your farm’s information.
The scores reflect the the practices in place that support biodiversity. The more good practices, the higher the score. Scores are given as a percentage of the maximum possible score in each category. These are shown as a bar chart on the left for species groups, and as dials on the right for general biodiversity components. For different species groups, actual scores are also presented. In the example (below right), the score 6/22 for ‘wetland or aquatic flora’ means there are 22 points available for this group, and your management practices achieved 6 of them (27%).

The land use pie chart tells you how much of each broad habitat type you are providing on your farm, as a proportion of its total area. For example, ‘woody habitats’ includes all your hedgerows, trees and areas of woodland or forest.

At the bottom of the results page you can download a pdf. This can go on your notice board, you can show it or send to customers, but most of all, it is for you as a record of your achievement and a baseline from which you can build.
You can always go back and change answers. To go back, just click the tab and scroll down to the one question you left blank. But remember to go back to it or you will miss out on points!