Defra report marks milestone for UK carbon accounting standards

The long-awaited Defra report, “Harmonisation of Carbon Accounting Tools for Agriculture”, has been published providing much needed guidance on appropriate standards for carbon reporting.

The report seeks to achieve greater accuracy of outputs from carbon calculation tools and presents standards to comply with when carrying out farm-level carbon assessments.

The food and farming industries have long sought guidance on carbon reporting, and welcome Defra’s investment in this thorough report.

As part of the project 81 global carbon calculators were reviewed, with the report analysing in detail the six most relevant for UK farming.

Dr Emily Pope, managing director of knowledge and collaboration at Trinity AgTech is optimistic about the impact of the report which denotes clear minimum standards for carbon accounting tools.

Dr Pope explains, “Farm-level carbon accounting is currently completely unregulated meaning there is significant divergence in calculation methodology and the resulting information; this is reducing trust, stalling decarbonisation efforts, and preventing proper recognition and reward.

“One of the report’s key recommendations is to adopt tools that present reliable data, in lin, which with ISO standards 14064:2 and 14067 and the draft GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals guidance which is supportive of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

“Most businesses currently doing carbon accounting in the UK rely on old tools that adhere to outdated standards, such as PAS2050:2011, or methods that do not adhere to a recognised standard or protocol.

“These tools fail to represent the complexity of modern agriculture,” she adds.

Dr Pope therefore welcomes Defra’s acknowledgment that the poor alignment of old tools to modern standards is restricting the ability of farmers to access incentives and requirements around emissions reduction.

She adds, “That’s why this report was so desperately needed, businesses need to understand which standards to align to and which software achieves these standards.

“The report identifies that there is only one calculator that aligns with the standards endorsed by Defra, that’s Trinity’s Sandy navigation platform, denoted as calculator E within the report.

“It’s always been Trinity’s vision to develop a practical, scalable, and agile natural capital navigator that aligns with the latest reporting standards and that has the power to deliver an agricultural transition in which everyone benefits.

“This starts at farm level; if we can’t improve profitability for farmers, producing food while delivering environmental improvements becomes untenable,” says Dr Pope.

Read the full Defra report “Harmonisation of Carbon Accounting Tools for Agriculture”

Read Trinity AgTech’s summary of the report


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