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Carbon calculators join forces to help UK agriculture measure GHG emissions

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Three leading carbon calculator providers have reached an agreement to work together to to help harmonise the methodologies used in calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. 

Last year ADAS, on behalf of Defra, issued a ‘Harmonisation of Carbon Accounting Tools for Agriculture‘ report, comparing results from popular calculators and offering recommendations on how to harmonise them. It is generally agreed that the overarching goal should be to reduce the overall GHG emissions from agriculture through resource efficiency improvements, optimising production practices and mitigating environmental impacts.

Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, Cool Farm Alliance and Agrecalc all featured in the report, and have now decided to work together to fulfil the recommendations and ultimately help farmers deliver the best carbon mitigation strategy for their business.

Liz Bowles, Farm Carbon Toolkit CEO, said:

“We are not seeking to reach a point where all three calculators will produce the same answer for any given dataset. As the Defra report put it, “there is no single ‘right’ answer”. Rather we are striving to make it possible for users to fully understand why different calculators produce different answers.

“We plan to align with the Science-Based Targets initiative Forestry Land and Agriculture Guidance (SBTi FLAG) and draft Greenhouse Gas Protocol Land Sector Removals Guidance (GHGp LSRG) through our collaborative actions. This commitment underscores our dedication to maintaining high-quality standards and ensuring environmental sustainability in our operations, and in calculation outputs.”

Scott Davies, Agrecalc CEO, said:

“It is intended that we agree on a common set of data sources which all three calculators will use. All calculators can go beyond these baseline requirements, and all parties to this MOU will retain their commercial independence. We will also involve the relevant government and other organisations’ teams with our work plan as we develop it.

“This collaborative approach supports a joint understanding of industry requirements and advancing consistency in our tools and methodologies. Our goal is collaboration with industry, trade bodies, and fellow calculator providers in the UK and internationally, so that we can actively contribute to the development of more consistent approaches to on-farm carbon calculation.”

Richard Profit, Cool Farm Alliance CEO, said:

“We are looking forward to this collaboration, as it will help align methodologies where that makes sense and that will especially allow us to look into new areas that require attention. How we then incorporate the new information in our calculators will vary from calculator to calculator as a result of our different base approaches.

“We will also ensure that the tools include the latest and most robust scientific findings into their frameworks and roadmaps.”

The three calculator providers are reportedly looking for this collaborative approach to become a minimum required standard for all others to adopt. They are also open to other providers joining the coalition so long as they publicly provide transparency in their calculator methodologies.

Consultations with Defra, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, and Northern Ireland Government will follow, to reach a practical and realistic form of ongoing validation of the harmonisation work.

A webinar is being held between 1-2pm on 11th September in which the three companies will share more details of the work being carried out and answer related queries.

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