Carbon is a keyword for future business sustainability in all sectors and interest is booming around agriculture as a route for carbon sequestration, offsetting and carbon credits. However, agricultural industry is still catching up on what carbon looks like in farming and the challenge of sectoral carbon mitigation, let alone how it might be able to best harness potential carbon and financial benefits. What are the business opportunities, threats and challenges for the sector in terms of carbon management?; What do the realisation of carbon markets mean for the agricultural and rural sectors, and are they a risk or opportunity?

Various surveys, conducted by SAC Consulting and at national agricultural events, show that general knowledge and confidence in discussing carbon is relatively low in the sector. Agriculture and associated rural sectors need to fully understand what carbon means for them now and into the future, and this need is increasingly urgent and more private investment is channelled towards offsetting or green CSR. This project aims to improve understanding of carbon services across the sector, to increase the knowledge, confidence and engagement of industry in carbon issues, enabling stakeholders to represent their interests and concerns within national and international debates and ensure future sustainability of the sector into a new era of carbon-based business.

Project Activities

This project, running throughout 2022, has drawn together consultants, researchers, academic staff, students, farmers, policymakers, and NGOs in a series of interlinked knowledge transfer activities, to collate knowledge and develop a series of concise and accessible materials for industry more general on agricultural carbon markets.

Stakeholders involved in this project:

  • SAC Consultants
  • SRUC Researchers
  • Farmers and land managers
  • Scottish Nature Finance Pioneers Basecamp network
  • Other rural and agricultural consultancies
  • Public bodies
  • Policymakers
  • Farming bodies and organisations
  • Financial experts
  • Nature & conservation experts

Next steps for work:

This project has provided crucial initial funding to better understand the state of play for carbon markets in agriculture, and increase the baseline level of knowledge across those involved and reached by its activities and outputs.

It is clear that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and much more work is needed to continue helping agricultural industry engage constructively in emerging carbon markets and green finance. In the process of concluding the project under this funding, experts within SAC and SRUC working on this project met to discuss next steps for the industry in addressing challenges in scaling up carbon markets and areas for further research. We hope that this helps in providing clear direction and focus for those interested and working in this space, and who are keen to continue advancing the conversation.

Other contributing staff:

  • Hannah Rudman
  • Paul Mayfield
  • Julian Bell
  • Ben Law
  • Mark Reed
  • Vera Eory
  • Ghina Haroon
  • Rebecca Audsley
  • John Farquhar
  • Andrew Moxey
  • Steven Thomson

This project is funded by the University Innovation Fund from the Scottish Funding Council.

The project funding expired on 31st December 2022.

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