“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.
Watch the full interview:
For the past five decades, Hawken has been a leading voice at the intersection of how business can support nature—for the well-being of both. He grew up on his grandfather’s farm in California and has continued to work with farmers around the world. He understands how hard farmers work—and that there is no climate solution without farming. In his 2017 bestselling book Drawdown, he ranked regenerative agriculture #11 to help stabilize the climate. Talking with Carbon by Indigo’s Ryan Stockwell at the Carbon Farming Connection, Hawken explained how we got here:
“Conventional agriculture was, in some ways, a brilliant invention at the time, but it basically fed the plant. It protected the plant with pesticides and got competition out of the way with herbicides. What regenerative agriculture does is feed the soil, and the soil feeds the plant. For 600 million years, plants have been fed by soil.”
Hawken, who advises heads of state, CEOs of global supply chains, and consumers on climatic, economic, and ecological regeneration, goes on to explain what is motivating the world's largest companies, such as Walmart and Nestlé, to bring sustainability into their supply chains by supporting carbon reductions, removals, and offsets.
“When you talk to the CEOs, they have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, they feel the urgency as a person,” Hawken noted. “They are very concerned about the future and their role in guiding and creating or not creating a future.”
His next book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation (Penguin) will be published September 2021.