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New Coalition Announces Bold Plan to Decarbonize Europe’s Food System

04 May 2021 News, Partner News, Press Partners form a European farmer-centric initiative to accelerate progress toward European Green Deal carbon neutrality goals.

New Coalition Announces Bold Plan to Decarbonize Europe’s Food System

Organizations and stakeholders representing every step of the food value chain have come together under an ambitious new effort to decarbonize the European food system, while maximizing other benefits such as soil health and farmer resilience. The initiative to form the European Carbon+ Farming Coalition was catalyzed by the World Economic Forum’s CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal and is part of the emerging food and nature platform, 100 Million Farmers: Transitioning towards Net-Zero, Nature-Positive Food Systems.

Agriculture in Europe is today responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a transformation of the sector could be a sizeable contributor to Europe’s net-zero emission plan and will require ambitious collaboration along the entire value chain and alignment across European countries.

Earlier this year at the Boosting Europe's Green Transition session during the Davos Agenda Week, members of the Forum’s CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal first announced the concept of a coalition to deliver on the European Green Deal. The ‘Carbon+ Farming Journey’ project, will take a farmer-centric approach with partners focused on increasing the uptake of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices, identifying the roadblocks to adoption, designing solutions with economic, practical and ecological benefits to farmers. It also will work to develop financial tools to empower farmers in managing transition risk and recommend the right set of farmer incentives.

The world’s soils are the second largest carbon sink, second only to oceans. There is strong scientific evidence that on-farm technology coupled with the widespread adoption of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices – such as no-till, cover crop and nutrient and manure management – can reduce GHG emissions through avoidance and sequestration, while improving agriculture’s significant impact on nature. To implement this transition at a broad scale, the agricultural and corresponding food systems must develop a set of recognized, science-driven, technically relevant practices and solutions to meet climate neutrality objectives for the European Green Deal.

Currently, the following organizations are partners in the emerging European Carbon+ Farming Coalition:

  • BASF
  • Bayer
  • CropIn
  • European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF)
  • EIT Food
  • Hero Group
  • Planet
  • Swiss Re
  • University of Glasgow
  • World Economic Forum
  • Yara International ASA
  • Zurich Insurance Group

The European Carbon+ Farming Coalition will be designed to scale up, and will be open to additional stakeholders, including relevant NGOs and academics. Learn more about the emerging initative here or email 100MFarmers@weforum.org.

For media inquiries: 100MFarmers@weforum.org

Partner quotes:

“Farmers are in a unique position to be part of the solution to combat climate change. Sustainable farming practices can reduce emissions and increase farm resilience. We are excited to be part of this new coalition to drive this important topic which is fully in line with our global commitments to boost sustainable agriculture. We are 100% dedicated to support farmers to decrease their environmental impact, improve farm resilience and sequester carbon in the soil. Moreover, we believe that partnerships are the cornerstone to accelerate the path towards carbon neutrality in the food value chain.”

Vincent Gros, President of BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division

“Agriculture can not only feed a growing global population, done right it can also become part of the solution to climate change. To advance our efforts to decarbonize food systems in Europe, we need a framework for carbon accounting on farms that is standardized and driven by science. By collaborating across the public and private sectors, embracing innovation, and putting farmers at the center of our efforts, I believe we can achieve sustainability at scale.”

Liam Condon, CEO of Bayer’s Crop Science division

"Digital & Data-driven Platforms are key enablers in bringing large-scale transformation by engaging stakeholders, including farmers, that will join the program. CropIn is excited to be a part of the European Carbon+ Farming Coalition. We believe that multi-dimensional predictive insights on every farm pixel will solve these complex challenges and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon world. We look forward to contributing towards building a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral platform covering elements of Climate-smart farming, GHG emission reduction, Carbon Sequestration Methodologies, Farm-to-Fork Traceability, Carbon Credit Mechanism etc. Farmers would be the key contributors to the success of the coalition and hence a real-time data-driven adaptive solution would be of great value to support their transition.”

Krishna Kumar, CEO of CropIn

“Sustainable soil management is key to the delivery of many ecosystem services mediated by soils, especially when under agricultural land use. Decarbonizing food systems starts on-farm where organic carbon produced by plants can be withdrawn from the atmosphere and brought back to the soil, and where CO2 emissions can be minimized by reducing the mineralization of soil organic matter and fossil fuel use and the optimization of other agricultural inputs. To achieve this, minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop diversity are core practices, which the European Conservation Agriculture Federation promotes together with its member associations in 19 European countries.” 

Gottlieb Basch, Chair, European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF)

“Agriculture is our greatest chance for delivering on our commitments under the Paris Agreement, and inclusive innovation will be the key enabler for a just transition to net-zero, nature-positive food systems. By pooling resources, avoiding duplication of efforts, sharing and establishing best practices in such collaborative partnerships, we can achieve greater impact more effectively. EIT Food believes and invests in people-centric and systemic innovations, where no one is left behind. We are thus excited to join this coalition of pioneering organisations in a shared vision for a better future.”

Dr. Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food

“The Hero Group has been working closely with fruit and vegetable farmers since 1886. Our mission to “delight consumers by conserving the goodness of nature” depends entirely on healthy soils and ecosystem services, like pollination, on-farm.  Sustainable agriculture is at the core of Hero Group’s Climate Positive 2030 commitment.  Simply said  - our consumers care about how their food is grown and so do we.  Thus, we continue to actively engage with our farmers to adopt and measure climate-smart farming practices that preserve nutrient-level and quality of soils.  Hero welcomes the opportunity to partner with the World Economic Forum, other food & agriculture companies and universities to accelerate progress towards carbon neutrality and biodiversity goals in Europe.”

Rob Versloot, CEO Hero Group

“Sustainable agriculture plays a consequential role in slowing climate change by sequestering carbon and increasing biodiversity, yet practices today often counter these benefits by neglecting soil health and relying too heavily on fertilizers and pesticides. Earth observation data is a powerful tool for monitoring and assigning value to these natural resources in order to edge closer to carbon neutrality. We’re excited to join this important coalition and have our data directly contribute to Europe reaching its net-zero emission plan.”

Will Marshall, Planet CEO and co-founder

“As a global re/insurer, Swiss Re has contributed to the agricultural sector resilience for many years with innovative risk transfer solutions. Today we want to help the sector transition towards a decarbonised future; we understand there are risks associated with this critical phase and the insurance industry can be a catalyst and a partner in this transformation. We believe the Coalition allows an effective mobilisation of technical competencies, risk insights and co-ordinated market forces to help transform Europe into a leading example of an adaptive, equitable and climate-resilient society, and we will play our part.”

Veronica Scotti, Chair, Public Sector Solutions, Swiss Re

“With the UN Food Systems Summit, COP26 and CBD COP15 happening in 2021, there is a strong momentum to transform food systems. Multistakeholder coalitions, such as the European Carbon+ Farming Coalition, have the power to accelerate this transition by enabling market-based systems that value climate, nature and social outcomes, and support the livelihoods and resilience of the farmer.”

Sean de Cleene, Member of the Executive Committee; Head, Food Systems Initiative; World Economic Forum

“The CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal stands out for its action-oriented approach to tackle decarbonization through cross-sectoral and concrete lighthouse projects, which the European Carbon + Farming Coalition is part of. The private sector plays a key role as catalyst of the green transition and concrete business commitments such as this one are crucial to translate the ambition of the European Green Deal into action.”

Mirek Dusek, Member of the Executive Committee, Head of Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East, World Economic Forum.

“Farmers hold the keys to one of the most efficient ways available today to address the climate crisis, and it is up to all of us in the agrifood sector to work together and support growers as they step up to the challenge. By improving our collective understanding and establishing a shared way forward through this coalition, we will take a big leap towards a climate smart, sustainable European Agriculture, at scale. We are confident that this lighthouse also will support the transformation beyond Europe. Yara, and its AGORO Carbon Alliance platform, is delighted to be part of this coalition.”

Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO, Yara International ASA

“As part of Zurich’s planet promise we are committed to creating innovative solutions to support the changing needs of our customers and facilitate the transition to a net zero carbon future. We need to ensure access to these solutions at scale to accelerate a fair transition. It is crucial that companies involved across the full value chain work together to drive change and we welcome the establishment of this coalition of the willing to support the decarbonisation of European agriculture.”

Alison Martin, CEO EMEA and Bank Distribution, Zurich Insurance Group

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