Breaking New Ground on Certifying On-Farm Value Chain Greenhouse Gas Impacts
Developing guidance on quantifying impacts of supply chain interventions, often called ‘insetting’ projects, should be quantified and reported was available and there was concern about the credibility and consistency of these insetting claims. Working with partners, this project is the second intervention, globally, to achieve Design Certification under the Value Chain Intervention Guidance and Gold Standard for the Global Goals (GS4GG) (see: https://registry.goldstandard.org/projects/details/2824 ).
Moving the Needle on Canada’s Beef Sustainability Programs and Quantification
Viresco is leading a project co-funded by the Government of Alberta, McDonalds and Alberta Beef Producers, to make real progress on linking farmers with high-level sustainability targets being set by multi-nationals.
Working closely with the Cool Farm Alliance, Anthesis Group and, most importantly, Alberta’s beef farmers, we are adapting the Cool Farm Tool to effectively track emissions from beef production and identify practical opportunities to improve the footprint of Canada’s beef sector. By doing so, we are taking critical steps to enable private-sector investment in Canada’s beef farmers, in return for an improved environmental footprint of beef products. This also opens opportunities for Canadian beef to be marketed as a premium low-carbon product while challenging the current narrative around beef production.
Creating a line-of-sight between the farmer and large multinationals setting corporate GHG commitments is a critical gap being tackled by this project.
Strategic Action Plan – An Industry Plan to Grow Agricluture & Forestry in Alberta
Scaling Ag Metrics Challenge Dialogue
Over 60 thought leaders from the Food, Beverage and Agriculture (FBA) supply chain sector gathered in Calgary, AB on June 18th & 19th to discuss how to increase the use of evidence-based systems to encourage, motivate and reward sustainable agriculture in North America.
Experts participated in a passionate and technically infused dialogue, sharing ideas, experiences and expertise and in so doing, generated the following outcomes:
•A shared Statement of Values to shape a Coalition for Action, based on a market for standardized sustainability outcomes and utilization and integration of existing tools, systems and platforms.
•A Common Understanding of why and how we can structure a North American Coalition focused on sustainability, integrating traceability and chain of custody solutions that span supply chains.
•A Clear set of Objectives to advance action, encourage engagement and value for the entire supply chain, and deepen the science and extension of sustainable management practices.
•A Framework for Success that identifies opportunities and gaps, assets and resources we can leverage to achieve shared priorities.
Supply chain member feedback and dialogue centered on the following shared values for scaling Ag Sustainability metrics:
• Farm-Level systems – the integration of knowledge, data and tools based on regional farm management systems, to create trust and value across the supply chain
• Enhanced profitability – understanding that commercial success and sustainability go hand in hand
• Being science-based – utilizing and investing in the best science to inform the development of sustainability metrics
• Ensuring simplicity – balancing complexity vs. fitness for purpose while eliminating duplication of effort
• Aligned communication – engaging the full supply chain with a focus on consumers and producers using a common language to develop understanding and market pull.
The Call to Action:
A clear undercurrent of Action infused the discussions, recognizing that sustainability platforms exist and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel:
“We have an opportunity to collaboratively build, test and integrate data and technology solutions, based on farm-level management systems, that can bridge sustainability metrics to the rest of the FBA supply chain, creating value for all”
Join Us in creating an industry-led, market-driven framework for sustainable agricultural products, sharing in the financial, risk, and efficiency gains that collaboration on this scale can achieve.
Natural Climate Solutions
Viresco Solutions has a long history of monetizing carbon removals in both the Province of Alberta as well as Nationally. Thanks in part to the leadership and efforts of Viresco Solutions, along with many other committed allies, Canada continues to be a leader in the adoption of Natural Climate Solutions (NCS – also known as Nature Based Solutions). The impact of NCS goes far beyond the farm, for example, by keeping and building organic matter in the soil, conservation tillage can significantly remove produced carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere, and convert it to soil organic carbon through a process known as carbon sequestration. Since the early 1980’s, innovative collaborations between members of the value chain in agriculture including federal government researchers, provincial government extension specialists, equipment manufacturers, input suppliers, farm groups and farmers themselves have reached a point of adoption in conservation tillage where farmlands across Canada are now removing over 10 Mt of CO2 from the atmosphere every year through conservation tillage.
Monetizing Canada’s Agricultural Sector
A recent cost-benefit analysis conducted out of the University of Saskatchewan quantified the impact of the shared value partnerships in deploying and innovating no-till technology across prairie landscapes from 1985 to 2010. This study demonstrates the power of value chain partners in scaling emission reductions and removals across landscapes in agriculture. The direct on-site benefits (fuel, equipment, labour, and productivity) were worth $24.3 B over that time period (2014 CAD$), including 50% of the benefit captured through technology innovation, and resulting jobs in the no-till and direct seeding equipment manufacturing sector in Canada. The indirect benefits (GHG reductions and carbon sequestration) resulted in over $1B (2014 CAD$) worth of value at $5/tonne emission reductions. The return to investment in the R&D and shared value partnerships by extending/deploying this technological shift in conservation farming is valued at a benefit:cost ratio of 60.8:1, relative to a delayed adoption scenario. Viresco Solutions is ready to help you drive change with today’s new digital and precision ‘Smart’ agricultural technologies by tapping into the economic benefits.
The Canadian Nitrous Oxide Emission Reductions Protocol (NERP) is becoming a Global Standard
Viresco Solutions has been a driving force in the development of the NERP. The NERP is an agricultural carbon offset protocol being adapted across Canada, that gives growers a new way to benefit from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their farms. The NERP provides producers the opportunity to generate revenue from N2O reductions by switching to an integrated set of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) for applying nutrients, referred to as 4R Nutrient Stewardship. 4R Nutrient Stewardship in the context of the NERP involves applying nitrogen sources in a more sophisticated way following the “4R’s” of right source at the right rate, right time and right placeTM. Implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship results in applied nitrogen being used more effectively, which increases economic performance for farmers by reducing the input costs per unit of crop yield produced.
NERP is a win – win! In addition to reducing GHG emissions, the NERP helps growers:
- Increase food security and prosperity,
- Deploy precision farming by employing variable rate nitrogen fertilizer application; along with other inputs, and,
- Improve soil health and water quality through the application of regionally specific best management practices.
The approach of 4R Nutrient Stewardship and integrated BMPs is gaining global acceptance as a simple systems-based stewardship platform for agriculture that is science-based and supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recently, the NERP and 4R were recognized in the SDG Industry Matrix, published by the UN Global Compact, as an example solution to Climate Change and as a global good practice. The 4R NERP approach is also being deployed through shared value partnerships with members of the agriculture supply chains including the adoption of the approach by Field to Market members in the US (see: https://fieldtomarket.org/update-proposed-revision-greenhouse-gas-emissions-metric-approved/). The 4R NERP approach has also been endorsed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as a climate-smart agricultural practice. NERP is globally scalable and partnerships continue to grow internationally with the World Business Council and Sustainable Development and others to make a meaningful impact.