12 April 2023
Stacy Griffiths from CXCS's Carbon Auditing department gives an insight into why completing a carbon audit could be beneficial to grower businesses.
WHILST regulations don’t currently require farmers to have completed a carbon audit, more and more pressure is being applied to farmers to take control of their carbon emissions.
The NFU has set a target for agriculture to be net zero by 2040 and the UK has committed to a legally-binding target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. With carbon auditing expected to form a major part of agricultural policy, it is going to become increasingly important for farmers to demonstrate how action is being taken to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
For many years, supermarkets such as Waitrose, M&S and Tesco have asked their suppliers to document plans which evidence how they are looking after nature, soil and the environment. Likewise, some dairy farmers on specific milk contracts have been required to complete carbon audits for a number of years. In this case, retailers and certain contracts can offer premiums to those producing food to a higher standard in terms of caring for the environment.
Growers who are assured with higher-level assurance schemes such as the LEAF Marque Standard will now have to calculate their carbon emissions on an annual basis.
If you are selling potatoes direct to the consumer, having completed a farm carbon audit may help to support your marketing. Being able to demonstrate your carbon emissions and move towards net zero is likely to prove beneficial. This will be particularly relevant for consumers who want to purchase sustainable, locally produced food.
Often the recommendations for how to lower farm carbon emissions relate to increasing efficiencies. By completing a carbon audit and receiving recommendations on how to reduce emissions, you can learn more about the areas where improvements can be made. By increasing efficiencies, businesses can improve margins with an aim to boost overall profit.