Leveraging Natural Capital

Carbon is on everyone’s minds. Some farmers are looking to carbon trading to mitigate the loss of BPS. Many more see carbon audits becoming necessary to fulfilling supply chain obligations, assurance schemes, or accessing certain types of finance.

The Knowledge Hub will answer common questions around carbon audits and trading, such as the role of additionality and the difference between carbon brokers & carbon marketplaces. It will also chart the evolution of carbon audit technology to explain why calculators provide different answers and how these should be interpreted.

However, carbon is just one piece of the natural capital puzzle. Soil, biodiversity, and water quality all offer opportunities to increase farm incomes and business resilience.

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is one opportunity that is increasingly discussed, though many express concerns about its impact on production. One way to benefit from biodiversity without taking areas out of production are biodiversity co-benefits.

Co-benefits are attached to carbon credits to evidence broader environmental benefits. Sustainability-focused buyers will pay a premium for these credits. A Shropshire farmer recently sold carbon with a biodiversity co-benefit for £100/credit on Trinity Natural Capital Markets, four times the market average.

Credits can also be associated with water quality co-benefits. Soon, air quality may be associated too. Farms selling their carbon without associating it with environmental co-benefits are probably missing out on significant income.

Outside of natural capital markets, many farmers are looking to increase farmgate prices by evidencing the provenance of their produce. This takes advantage of growing consumer demands for high animal welfare, localism, low carbon, and high biodiversity standards.

The potential of natural capital to improve farm incomes and resilience are large, however, the sector is rife with noise and confusion. Choosing the right technology to navigate these opportunities will essential.

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