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TYPE OF CASE/THEME
Soil carbon sequestration, regenerative agriculture, pilot farms, companies supporting carbon sequestration
INITIATIVE IN SHORT
Carbon Action is a Finnish platform that develops methods and approaches for accelerating soil carbon sequestration, primarily in agriculture. This work includes research on how to store carbon in soils permanently and how to scientifically verify the results. The platform also introduces farming practices to Finnish farms that enhances soil health, such as regenerative farming. The initiative includes business cooperation.
IN WHAT WAY A BEST PRACTICE?
Climate action not only includes reducing emissions, but also requires creating carbon sinks. Soil organic matter stores more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined and enhancing this ability through natural processes is an effective climate solution. However, increasing the carbon content in agricultural soils has multiple benefits: for soil health, biodiversity, ecosystem resilience (e.g. to droughts) and productivity. The Baltic Sea also benefits from decreased nutrient loads to waterways.
Carbon Action promotes and develops scientifically tested practices with many benefits that have potential to be scaled up and enable significant change. The platform gathers and connects farmers, agricultural advisors, researchers and companies in an open exchange. It combines research, with farmer training and enables long-term exchanges and interactions between different actors with a similar interest. Carbon Action’s holistic approach has received international attention.
Collaboration with companies in the food chain has several purposes: to disseminate research results and knowledge about carbon sequestration in all parts of the food system and support companies with, for example, procurement criteria, sustainability communication as well as training for farmers and employees. A practical quantification and verification system for carbon sequestration and climate impact is also created.
Carbon Action is run by Baltic Sea Action Group. It started as a pilot project financed by Sitra (the Finnish innovation fund) in 2017–2019 and has since then grown into a platform that hosts several funders and projects. Carbon Action is a way for Finland to deliver on the 4/1000 initiative, presented at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 and signed by Finland. The initiative states that increasing the amount of soil carbon in the top soil by 0.4 % annually would significantly reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. However, it is still not clear how to realize this large-scale carbon sequestration and that is where Carbon Action comes in.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Corporate participation is essential to the mainstreaming of carbon sequestration in farmland for the whole food chain and achieving the ambitious goals of Carbon Action. The business platform enables information exchange and mutual learning among researchers and businesses.
Carbon Action offers training and accessible information regarding soil health, carbon farming and regenerative farming practices for farmers and agricultural advisors. 100 farms participate voluntarily and test practices and accumulate knowledge and data for research, but the platform reaches many more through its networks and activities. Promoted farming practices include e.g., maintaining a permanent vegetation cover, organic fertilizers and minimizing tillage and the use of pesticides. These practices serve to maximize soil microflora and plant photosynthesis. The platform has also launched an online course in regenerative agriculture that is for free, open to all interested and available in Finnish and Swedish.
Carbon Action combines different types of knowledge and facilitates collaboration between actors and across projects. Research efforts are multidisciplinary and farmers contribute with their own expertise. The platform has a higher potential to affect change by also collaborating with companies and influencing policy. Companies are needed to drive changes throughout the food chain and communicate with consumers. Currently, the platform includes 13 companies, such as Fazer and Valio. Businesses can help accelerate soil carbon sequestration by, for example, developing their purchasing criteria, improving consumer communication, training farmers and staff, and introducing more sustainable products to the market. One of Carbon Action’s objectives is to mobilize the actors needed for systemic change. Through these collaborations, Carbon Action maps and develops economic incentives, such as models for carbon trading, needed for the widespread adoption of these solutions in Finland and elsewhere.
LINK TO SEMINAR FROM APRIL 6TH 2022
Baltic Sea Action Group - Carbon Action
Baltic Sea Action Group - Carbon Action for Businesses
Baltic Sea Action Group - E-college for regenerative farming
Michaela Ramm-Schmidt, Leading expert, Corporate Relations, Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG)
AN INITIATIVE FROM PROJECT MATLUST'S TRANSNATIONAL COMPONENT
MatLust is an EU project with the purpose of strengthening growth and sustainability within the food industry in the Stockholm region. In MatLust’s transnational component we are looking for best practice and good examples in the Baltic Sea region. Areas of interest are sustainable business models for SME in the food sector, innovative applications of public procurement and Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and initiatives for more resilient food systems. Good examples are documented and spread via MatLust's website and events.
Forskningsrelaterade samarbeten, MatLust Utvecklingsnod samt Projektledare, Mineralskiftet Tel: 08-523 064 40 E-post