Mars Petcare, with project support from the Food Lab, has become the first company to deliver a case study measuring carbon using the new Gold Standard protocols (standards designed to meet the global GHG reduction goals set forth in the Paris Agreement).
Most farmers do not manage for GHGs, but they care about their soils and about reducing inputs so that they can stay in business and keep supplying customers. With this in mind, in 2017 the Australian Mars Petcare team worked with Food Lab’s Elizabeth Reaves to develop a Soil Health Initiative in the New South Wales region of Australia.
The goal of the program is to build an enabling environment for farmers to work towards implementing soil health practices and seeks opportunities to reduce their GHG footprint and sequester carbon. Mars is investing in the farming system groups in New South Wales to support extension and outreach to increase the exchange of knowledge between farmers.
By May 2020, Mars expects the pilot program to reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 612 tonnes and sequester 3,120 tonnes of carbon (compared to a 2017 baseline). The goal moving forward is to reach 200 farmers and 700,000 ha by 2022. This expansion would lead to approximately 30,000 tonnes of emissions reduced and 145,000 tonnes of CO2 sequestered. Mars does not want to lead alone and is seeking collaborative partners in the region who source wheat, canola, barley or corn to be part of the first supply chain driven soil health initiative in Australia.
The scaled projected would mimic the pilot project, providing farmers with access to the Cool Farm Tool and working with farmer groups directly to grow wheat in a more sustainable manner. Practices such as cover cropping, reduced use of fertilizer and controlled traffic farming are among some of the ways in which farmers can manage and see change among their wheat fields. And important to all project partners, improved sustainable practices, GHG emission reductions and sequestering of carbon also means increased resilience against climate change and weather events, as well as higher yields and improved income for farmers.
With exciting pilot results and a call for project partners during the next phase of work, Gold Standard recognized the program with Mars as one of its ValueChange Program projects during Climate Week in New York City. The ValueChange Progam is “designed to translate intervention-level GHG accounting into corporate GHG inventory reporting in line with the GHG Protocol.” In addition, the ValueChange Program provides guidance to projects like the Australian Wheat Project on how to calculate and attribute the climate impact of on-farm climate interventions.
You can learn more about the project from Gold Standards Value Change Story. Funding for the Australian Wheat Project has been provided by Mars and the Australian Government. If you’re interested in becoming a project partner or learning more please contact Elizabeth Reaves.