July 11, 2022 – BCarbon, a Houston-based carbon credit registry, has issued its first international soil carbon credits in the UK. These credits are the first in a major initiative to reverse climate change by using farmland to extract harmful carbon from the atmosphere.
Future Food Solutions created the Futures Carbon Bank to sell credits on the voluntary carbon market. Working with the British Consulate in Houston, Future Foods has also partnered with BCarbon, an independent verification body, which was formed by a group of stakeholders from Rice University’s Baker Institute.
Under the carbon bank program, farmers are encouraged to grow cover crops that extract carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil while employing no-till practices. Increasingly popular in the UK, cover crops are planted between the regular rotation of food crops so as not to impact the amount of food UK farmers produce.
Unlike many carbon credit programs, BCarbon credits are for soil carbon management practices that actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil as organic carbon. This way, farmers can fight climate change while continuing to feed the world.
Trade in carbon credits is expected to reach $50 billion by 2030, and the Future Food Solutions approach could unlock millions of tons of sequestered carbon credits using farmland around the world. Multinational information and analytics giant RELX has purchased the first tonnes of verified carbon credits, which have been generated by a single farm in the Yorkshire Wolds in northeast England.
“This partnership with Future Food Solutions has been particularly exciting for BCarbon,” said Jim Blackburn, CEO of BCarbon. “We are announcing today our first international carbon credits in what we intend to be the first steps towards removing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is, after all, the goal here.”
How this partnership happened
The British Consulate’s Science and Innovation team facilitated the relationship between Future Foods and BCarbon following a carbon credit stakeholder group at Rice University’s Baker Institute. The stakeholder group spawned the creation of BCarbon in 2021.
With the help of Richard Hyde, Her Majesty’s Consul General in Houston, Future Foods and BCarbon began a collaboration that led to the issuance of these carbon storage credits.
“Addressing the challenges of climate change requires an international approach,” Consul General Hyde said. “The Houston Consulate is proud to catalyze this collaboration between BCarbon and Future Food Solutions that models the innovative approach needed to address our shared challenges.
Steve Cann, a partner at Future Foods, said, “Working with the BCarbon team is a true transatlantic technical partnership, allowing farmers to receive credit for their positive CO2 removal actions from atmosphere and ultimately be part of the solution to climate change.”
How it works?
As part of the BCarbon program, Future Food Solutions performs a soil test before planting the cover crop, then uses a series of rigorous tests to determine exactly how many tons of carbon have been removed from the atmosphere. Much of this field data was acquired in collaboration with Yorkshire Water and Proagrica, who have partnered with Future Food Solutions on catchment-wide farmer engagement programs in the UK.
Although sequestration varies with weather, cover crop and soil type, on average in the Yorkshire region one hectare of cover crop and no-till will provide 2-3 tonnes of carbon to be exchanged . When measuring under the BCarbon system, developers of projects such as Future Foods and their farmers then receive money through the sale of their carbon credits.
Who buys the carbon?
The stored carbon is sold to large organizations seeking to offset their carbon footprint. More than a third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies have already made net zero commitments and the demand for quality carbon offset credits is growing.
Steve Cann of Future Food Solutions says, “This is a step change in carbon elimination, providing a real opportunity for large organizations to reduce their carbon footprint. This approach also offers global reach, as soil stocks in all agricultural environments around the world could provide significant capacity to become a huge carbon sink.
“Farming has traditionally gotten a bad press on carbon emissions, but this could change that. It means farmers across the UK and beyond can provide a solution to one of the biggest problems of climate change, put highlighted at COP26 in Glasgow.
“Plus, if we do it right, the food gets better. Water and flood management improves because cover crops transform the structure of the subsoil, which helps reduce water leaching and runoff. Because CO2 is actually sequestered into the ground from the atmosphere, the planet is also beginning to heal.”
“Everyone can contribute by eating smarter and actively choosing to buy food from lands where this healing process is undertaken by farmers.”
Early Yorkshire Credits
The first verified carbon credits come from Tom Mellor’s farm above Bridlington in the North Yorkshire Wolds. Mellor says, “Farming is about striking a balance, similar to the challenge the planet is facing with respect to climate change. If we take more than we put in, future generations will pay the price.
Tom also commented, “Knowing now that farming can be the solution, not the problem, encourages us to rethink our practices and mindset. »
The Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank is initially aiming to bring 10,000 carbon credits to the voluntary market in the coming months from other farms involved in the scheme across the UK and EU, but has big ambitions to leverage farmlands around the world, releasing millions of carbon. credits to trade with global brands.
BCarbon is a non-profit 501(c)(3) carbon credit registry formed by a group of stakeholders from Rice University’s Baker Institute that is engaged in the issuance of carbon credits associated with soil sequestration, forest sequestration and the protection and storage of coastal blue carbon. https://bcarbon.org/.