Recently, Keystone Policy Center assembled a working group called the Agriculture Climate Markets Collaborative (ACMC). This collaborative is a voluntary group that works to identify collective actions that could build trust in climate markets, provide feedback to protocol bodies and other stakeholders (like the USDA), and ultimately help develop a transparent, scalable marketplace for agriculture.
Regrow has been part of this working group, and this summer the collaborative (which includes other leading ag climate market providers and NGOs) released a set of principles intended to guide agriculture climate market transparency.
What are Principles for Transparency?
These principles are a set of voluntary pre-competitive guidelines intended to build transparency for carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and ecosystem service credit generation. It’s meant to guide program developers and corporations with supply chain sustainability programs, and its ‘pre-competitive’ nature allows for collaboration among all stakeholders in agriculture markets, promoting the establishment of a strong marketplace without the nuances of competing priorities and organizational interests.
The Principles were designed to keep growers and buyers informed in each of several topics:
- Farm and entity eligibility for programs
- Contract obligations for program participants
- Asset types generated by a program
- Standards used by the program developer
- Data required from program participants
- Models used to generate credits
- Ownership and transferability of the credits generated
- Program participant financial obligations and payments
- Data ownership and privacy
- Contractual implications of noncompliance and acts of God
- Required relationship between program developer and participants
You can read and download the full principles here.
Why is Regrow’s Contribution Significant?
We understand that, in order to make a significant impact on our food systems, we need ecosystem markets to be scalable.
Ecosystem markets incentivize practice adoption, so if these markets are scalable, then regenerative agriculture will be more accessible across the globe. However, we want to make sure these markets maintain their integrity as they scale. We need to make sure market stakeholders abide by general rules of transparency and scientific rigor, so we can ensure that our efforts are effective in mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing our overall GHG footprint.
At Regrow, we are familiar with the science and technology needed to make ecosystem markets stable and scalable. Our knowledge of the tools, paired with insights from our experience in environmental strategy and climate policy, have given us a unique window into the industry. This perspective should be heard in policies like this.
I began participating in the group from its initiation during my previous position at Bayer Crop Science. I have continued my efforts with my transition to Regrow.
Why is Industry Collaboration Essential?
It’s essential that these principles were developed with a collaborative nature to maintain process integrity.
Collaborating with other industry leaders ensures that a variety of perspectives are heard, and that the resulting principles reflect an ideal state of transparency and scientific rigor for the entire industry (not just for one organization, method or market system).
It’s important to remember that no one size fits all in the ecosystem services space. A diversity of participants in a pre-competitive environment is more likely to result in outcomes that can scale.
How will this Affect the Future of Climate Markets?
If markets adhere to these principles, it will ensure that the markets are scalable and trustworthy. From a business perspective, principles like this will add value to the markets, because those buying and selling credits will be confident in the information they receive and the assets they’re dealing with.
From the grower’s perspective, these principles will allow farmers to make informed decisions that work best for their business.
Therefore, if these markets become stronger, adoption of regenerative agriculture practices will likely increase and outcomes will be more beneficial for growers, project developers and buyers. Stronger markets generally lead to a stronger push for ecosystem outcomes, and more effort in building sustainable food systems.