Having proper tools to assess GHG emissions in the agriculture industry is set to play a crucial role in our future.
As of today, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost, leading to severe damage on a global scale. A process that has been going on for over 150 years.
Preserving topsoil is extremely important since it helps keep the carbon trapped on its surface layer. Carbon aids in renewing organic matter on those arable soils, increasing soil fertility (a true gift from nature).
The other main reason to preserve topsoil is even more critical.
The European Union’s yearly GHG emissions reach 4,4 billion tonnes, and the same territory on its surface layer has trapped around 14 billion tonnes of GHG. More than three times what is already being emitted.
For example, in Latin America and Asia, the production of certain products like beef, soy, palm oil, and cocoa has led to the loss of 87% of their tree-covered surface between 2001 and 2015. This is a severe hazard to combat climate change.
Agriculture is no longer only for self-sustaining a community, but a massive industrial scale where profit became the primary motivation.
Furthermore, some companies do not even report these emissions misleading calculations and estimates when it is time to file general reports.
Luckily, we started to see a new trend in GHG reckon.
There are 3 main scopes to account for GHG emissions:
Scope 1 considers the direct emission of a working factory or a running truck.
Scope 2 are those indirect emissions associated with purchasing electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.
And finally, mentioned Scope 3 emissions consist of business travel, leased assets, operational waste, transportation, investments, etc. It’s a large bag of activities hard to hold against the producer.
This context helps understand why measuring soil GHG is paramount for the planet’s future and companies to continue engaging in genuinely sustainable practices. Many companies have proactively started to account for their Scope 3, topsoil emissions. But the real challenge is measuring them and keeping proper track of them.
There are several tools that the industry uses to measure them, but they are not entirely accurate.
One of the most famous and worldwide recognized is the Cool Farm Tool, a calculator that assesses GHG and carbon stock changes at the product of farm level. It considers fertilizers, field operations, and so on.
We can all agree that preserving carbon stock and preventing its release into the atmosphere has double benefits.
Having the best soil data is critical in maximizing our agricultural practices and taking advantage of production planning, techniques, and even region selection.
Unfortunately, currently measuring tools are not 100% accurate. They rely on advanced calculation methods that may not entirely represent the live status of a piece of land. That’s why a real agriculture app is much needed.
This next step in the industry is a win-win for the environment and the rural communities who rely daily on it for their survival.