Bayer launches its decarbonization program for agriculture in Europe

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 10:00

Bayer has announced the European launch of its global Carbon Initiative, whose main goal is the decarbonisation of the food value chain with a focus on farmers’ activities for a more resilient and sustainable food system.

It brings together farmers and food value chain players to explore future reward structures for farmers implementing new carbon reduction practices and thus contributing to the Green Deal objectives of the European Commission.

The new European Carbon Programme recognises the pivotal role growers and their land can play in helping create lasting, positive environmental impacts and is an integral part of Bayer’s sustainability commitments specifically aimed at reducing field greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“Our Carbon Programme actively contributes to the development of carbon farming activities in Europe by working directly with farmers in their role as primary producers and involving companies throughout the food value chain,” Lionnel Alexandre, carbon business venture lead for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Bayer Crop Science, said.

“This collaboration at a food value chain level will help decarbonize the European food system in a way that works for farmers, the environment and consumers.

“The main idea is to reward growers for adopting climate-smart farming practices like using cover crops, tillage reduction, crop rotation, and precision nitrogen application. These activities sequester carbon in the soil while improving soil health, resilience and productivity and limit emissions.”

To support these operations, Bayer will develop a digital tool which will allow farmers to claim rewards based on accurate and verified data. It will be compliant with current data privacy standards and reliable and simple to operate for every farmer.

This digital Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) solution builds on Bayer’s industry-leading digital farming platform Climate FieldViewTM.

The 27 participating farmers in France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom collectively have about 500 hectares of lands.

Central to the European Carbon Programme is the practice of co-creation: farmers, Bayer experts and food value chain players work together in a carbon farming lab where they can jointly test activities and generate learnings.

Discussions with food processors and retailers are ongoing, and they are expected to join the Carbon Programme by the end of the year.

After establishing the current carbon content in their lands as the baseline for the project, the participating farmers will implement climate-smart farming practices like using cover crops and tillage reduction.

This implementation of new practices will be continuously monitored and improved. The learnings and further insights gained from the participating project partners from across the food value chain will inform the design and implementation of an accurate and reliable digital MRV tool.

The programme is expected to deliver this new digital solution in the next three years, while its implementation within Climate FieldViewTM is planned for the third year.

“An intact soil structure and organic matter soil management are decisive for securing my income”, Stefanie Peters, Agro-Farm GmbH Nauen and part of the Bayer ForwardFarm network, said.

“In my opinion, carbon farming, the sequestration of carbon in the soil, can make a great contribution to this. I am also looking forward to working with a variety of partners within Bayer's carbon program.”

The European launch is part of the company’s Global Carbon Initiative which launched in the U.S. and Brazil in July 2020.

In these countries, Bayer is the first agriculture company to offer all the necessary technologies in terms of seeds and traits, crop protection and digital solutions, cost-efficient MRV and certification according to internationally recognised standards.

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