The demand for agricultural carbon credits is growing. Hundreds of Fortune 500 businesses are making commitments to purchase them in order to further their environmental impact goals. On the one hand, these companies are working to reduce their own carbon emissions. On the other, they’re purchasing credits to offset the emissions they can’t eliminate. But these buyers aren’t just looking for any carbon credit, they want quality—they want to know the credits they’re purchasing are leading to real environmental impact.
Carbon farming is the process of changing agricultural practices to increase the levels of carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This type of regenerative agriculture prioritizes soil health.
Simply put, it’s farmers implementing agronomic practices that solve challenges while increasing carbon in the soil or decreasing emissions. By adding these practices to your operation, you can earn carbon credits through carbon programs. Businesses will buy those credits to offset the emissions they can’t reduce, which means you get paid for implementing those practice changes. That is carbon farming—growing your existing crops with new practices to create new revenue that benefits the environment and your operation.
The agricultural carbon marketplace is emerging. The buyers are all in, making commitments to available carbon credit and trying to find more. Their interest in credits is part of their larger strategy to reduce their own emissions and offset the ones they can’t reduce. On the carbon credit supply side, the marketplace is increasing credit production to meet this growing demand. The early adopters have charted the way. Now, more farmers are entering the carbon market.
The science of agricultural production matters a lot when only a handful of ingredients make up your food or drink. Think coffee, which is just one ingredient. Or beer. The most recognizable lager in America, Bud, is brewed today with just four ingredients: rice, barley, hops, and water. Kimberly Rogowski has spent the last 15 years finding and buying those ingredients for Bud and other beers in the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, including Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob ULTRA. She’s now the director of the brewer’s agronomy program. Rogowski knows how fewer ingredients makes the quality of each of those ingredients more important. That’s why she and her 14-person agronomy department start their work focusing on the soil.
“We are either stealing the future or healing the future,” author, journalist, and business strategist Paul Hawken said in a discussion to kick off the Carbon Farming Connection, an Indigo-hosted virtual event on the state of agricultural carbon markets held on June 23, 2021. “We've made a lot of money stealing the future. Farmers are demonstrating that you can heal the future. That is, make it whole again, and also be very profitable.” The event brought together industry-leading experts to talk about the growing demand for agricultural carbon credits and why the quality of the carbon credit matters.
By Brandon Bruggeman, North America Commercial Trade Lead
The science behind agricultural carbon sequestration offers a snapshot of the constant dialogue between the atmosphere, plants, and soils.
It starts with photosynthesis—and continues in exchanges between plant roots, animals, and microbes living within the soil. Implementing regenerative practices that support soil microbial communities promotes active carbon cycling, thereby accumulating soil organic matter long term, particularly in deeper soil layers. This persistence is what ultimately allows farmers to get paid for the carbon in their soil and supporters to receive high-quality credits through Indigo’s Carbon program.
Featuring Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna
April 20, 2021
Stéphane Bancel, CEO of pioneering biotech powerhouse startup Moderna, understands the vital importance of climate. More than a year into a global pandemic brought forth by COVID-19, a brutal new virus that has triggered so much chaos and disruption, Bancel thinks the world has been primed to see how collective action can address monumental challenges. And that communities are capable of great change. Together, people can not only make do, but also make better. “I hope this crisis has opened the eyes of people that climate is a much bigger crisis, with much bigger consequences,” says Bancel.