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  • CarbonCrop Team

Maintaining Carbon Sovereignty & Avoiding a Carbon Grab

Sheep and cows in a field next to a forest

Supply chain carbon removal programs are gaining momentum across primary industries. As a producer of wool, livestock, dairy... carbon on farms is increasingly on the radar of processors due to the increasing demands of market access, customer supply requirements, and regulatory pressures.


There is a limited pool of forest carbon removals on private farmland available to processors, and a competitive environment is on the horizon. This is a great opportunity for farmers.


While early mover processors definitely have the advantage in securing supply, farmers should make sure they're signing up to 'farmer friendly' carbon programs so they can maintain control over their carbon removal assets.


This essential control over carbon decisions is what we are defining as carbon sovereignty.


The Challenge of Scope 3 Emissions in Agriculture


Decarbonising the agricultural supply chain poses a significant challenge. For processors, brands, and other aggregators, Scope 3 emissions—emissions that occur upstream in the value chain and often ‘behind the farm gate’—often represent the largest portion of their emissions footprint. And it's tough to tackle, highlighted by the number of businesses that have removed their Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) goals, citing Scope 3 complexity as a major barrier.


Approximately 25% to 30% of the country's native forests are found on privately owned lands - much of that farmland. This nicely lines up farmers to add carbon to their existing supply lines to help processors decarbonise their value chains.


Maintaining Carbon Sovereignty


With farmers soon to be in a position to decide who gets their livestock and who gets their carbon, keeping options open will be key. Carbon is creating more and more opportunities for farmers to generate revenue, diversify revenue streams, and build more resilient businesses.


But not all carbon programs are created equal. Farmers need to be crystal clear on what commitments they are making.


  1. Do you have the same flexibility to choose who you sell your carbon to as you do your lambs?

  2. Are you able to diversify across a number of different carbon programs - both now, and into the future?

  3. Are you able to scale up and down the amount of carbon you want to commit?

  4. Are you clear on what your obligations are? Do they line up with your on-farm goals in the long term?

  5. When do you get paid? How much? For how long? How does that compare with the market?

Stay on top of carbon sovereignty


Big picture? As a farmer, make sure you're making an informed decision about what's best for you and your land. As a processor planning a supply chain carbon program, make sure your program is as 'farmer friendly' as your other terms of supply.


Supply chain carbon programs must be fair to be sustainable (in both senses of the word).


We'll be discussing this in our upcoming CarbonCurious webinar, or follow our ongoing carbon sovereignty discussions through our blog posts.


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