Thanks to the flexibility of our first mile tracking solutions, we continuously explore new applications. This post discusses how our food tech lets farmers and other agricultural stakeholders benefit from high-quality carbon credits. Before delving into our avocado tree planting project in Ethiopia, let’s briefly define carbon credits.
What Are Carbon Credits?
You can have different carbon credits based on the offset project that generates them (e.g., tree planting, wind farm development, etc.). These projects absorb CO2 from the atmosphere or avoid its emission. Therefore, an individual or a company can compensate for part of their carbon footprint by funding them.
There are independent organisations certifying carbon credits, like Verra, who have developed one of the most widely used standards in the world. Once approved, each carbon credit corresponds to 1 ton of CO2e avoided or removed from the atmosphere.
Carbon Credits: Benefits & Challenges
Farmers would benefit from selling carbon credits simply because they could be an additional income source. Besides helping smallholders make extra money, other stakeholders should see the purchase of carbon credits as an investment. For instance, food retailers could offer carbon-neutral produce to their customers. Aside from a positive impact on the planet, the correct implementation of this decarbonisation strategy will improve companies’ ESG performance and attract investors.
However, carbon credits also have problems, such as a lack of additionality. The carbon credits you purchase will be added only when the emission avoidance/removal associated with the project that generated them (e.g., tree planting) would not have happened without your investment. Yet, additionality is tricky to prove without a series of legal and technical information about the project. Out of the other disadvantages of carbon credits, ensuring permanence is the main one when considering tree planting. According to experts, trees should store carbon for at least 100 years to have a true climate-positive impact. In this case, efficient monitoring of the plantation over time is the only solution.
A High-Quality Carbon Credits Scheme for Ethiopian Farmers
With financial support from the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF), a challenge fund set up by the Nordic Development Fund, Farmforce has partnered with Sunvado, the avocado processing arm of Tradin Organic in Ethiopia, to investigate how first mile technologies can spur farmers into adopting more climate-smart agriculture practices. Based on a feasibility study, we identified tree planting as one of the best sustainable farming techniques to implement. Sunvado sourced 75,000 avocado seedlings from over 3,000 growers in Southern Ethiopia to make that happen. Also, to further incentivise farmers, the avocado oil producer aims to allow smallholders to generate and sell carbon credits out of those trees. And that’s where our food traceability software comes in. Tapping into our digital solution, Sunvado can gather the first mile data required by aESTI, the organisation that will certify the carbon credits farmers could get for planting the avocado trees. To be more specific, our mobile app’s Polygon and Survey features will enable their staff to collect and track the following information for each field:
- Number of trees planted
- Condition of trees planted
- The number of trees that survived
All these insights will help Sunvado during the certification process, when aESTI will have to verify whether the project meets a series of eligibility criteria such as permanence, additionality, etc. To date, Sunvado operators have already conducted around 2,000 surveys and mapped over 2,000 fields. In the next phase of the project, we’re planning to extend the carbon credits access to 25,000 smallholders.
Carbon credits are a trending topic and could boost African climate-smart agriculture activities. This is good news for all stakeholders along the first mile of the food supply chain! Advanced traceability solutions, like Farmforce, can facilitate the certification of carbon credits, thus unlocking sustainable economic opportunities. Let’s talk about carbon’s first mile!