December 20, 20238 Minutes

2023 wrapped:
The power of our people

Agreena’s rapid growth in size and maturity is a testament to this year’s strategy having the right focus, capacity and direction. Our CEO, Simon Haldrup, reviews the successes of 2023 and sets the scene for the year ahead.

Two million hectares. That’s about the size of Slovenia or around three million football fields. It was also the targeted number of hectares Agreena needed to hit in 2023 to meet our scaling ambition and to sow the seeds of sustainable change in agriculture across Europe.

It’s with great pride that I can say ‘mission accomplished’ for the team. We announced our two million hectare milestone last month, with well over a thousand farmers sequestering carbon across 17 countries, making us the leading soil carbon programme in Europe.

This was just one of many milestones in 2023. Another was achieved in March, when we raised €46m in a Series B round, just a year after our €20m Series A round. Led by one of the most successful growth investors in Europe, HV Capital, the round featured an exciting range of new investors, as well as the support of existing shareholders.

A few months later, we announced our second annual early payout to participating European farmers – paying the largest incentives to farmers under a soil carbon programme to-date and demonstrating that carbon farming delivers true economic benefit to farmers on a consistent annual basis.

COP28 collaborations

Agreena has also achieved many significant corporate partnerships in 2023. The appetite to work with us was particularly clear at COP28 where we encountered a huge range of stakeholders interested in our solution for mobilising funds to support farmers, while scaling carbon removal.

We signed a MoU with UAE agribusiness Al Dahra at COP28 and announced the first of our partnership projects together: transitioning the largest consolidated arable farm in the EU to regenerative agriculture. More than 55,000 hectares of arable land on the Al Dahra-owned Agricost Braila farm in Romania will be part of the AgreenaCarbon programme, sequestering carbon and reaping the financial benefits of doing so through the voluntary carbon market.

We also played a key role in establishing the International Soil Carbon Industry Alliance (ISCIA) – another collaboration that was announced at COP28. ISCIA is an alliance of 15 companies that are coming together to advance climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration. It’s an exciting development that demonstrates the growing role of soil carbon in the carbon removal toolkit.

Broader recognition

In panel after panel on World Soil Day at COP28, I saw the same message repeated: we must act now and mobilise agricultural communities worldwide. The moment to transform agriculture, rejuvenate soil, store carbon at scale and feed billions of people sustainably has most definitely arrived.

As this is becoming more widely understood, Agreena’s leading role in achieving this transformation is being acknowledged. In November, we were grateful to receive the Social Entrepreneurship – Future Impact Award at this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Denmark. While looking ahead, we’ve made the shortlist of the edie Awards, in the ‘Net-Zero Innovation of the Year’ category – further recognition of the pioneering steps we are taking to radically transform agriculture and deliver on the soil carbon promise.

Our work is rooted in taking the necessary climate action to safeguard future generations, while continuing to feed a growing population, and it’s immensely satisfying to have our success in achieving this acknowledged by others. But, we’re not resting on our laurels!

Digging deeper in 2024

In 2024 we plan to diversify and expand our offerings, using our leading monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) technology to support farmers, while also providing supply chain solutions and financial services offerings.

For organisations with agricultural value chains, emissions reductions can be challenging, given the inherent complexity of the global food system. Mobilising farmers who are present in multiple geographies to decarbonise and sequester carbon has presented many companies with operational and technological challenges. Agreena will be working with partners to demonstrate the power of our product and technology to address their challenges and we’re excited to share more with you early in 2024. Just as we are excited to introduce our high integrity nature-based carbon credits to the market, bringing farmers and funders closer together and making regenerative agriculture a reality for generations to come.

Driving deeper into Europe will continue to be a top priority for us in 2024. We’ll expand into more central European countries, while accelerating our efforts in existing geographies, such as France and Germany. We’ll also start to mobilise outside of Europe, to deliver a seismic transformation of the agricultural sector.

To achieve this, we’ll remain completely committed to farmers, who sit at the heart of everything we do. Agreena exists to ensure that regenerative farming is good business for the farmer and to demonstrate beyond doubt that it is always better to be a regenerative farmer. This has not changed, and will not change.

Team building

We will also continue to build the team. Only a year ago, there were 100 ‘Agreenians’; today there are over 200 of us. We’ve eschewed the ‘just in time’ approach to hiring – preferring instead to build our teams fast, starting with the senior leadership. Hiring and onboarding the right people in the right way is the greatest gift you can give to your company and we’ve been super focused on doing this.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done over the past year and grateful to be part of such a diverse and enthusiastic team – a team that wants to be the change they see in the world. Our pledge for 2024 is to continue to meet our sky-high ambitions, with action firmly rooted in the earth.

Let me take this opportunity, on behalf of everyone at Agreena, to wish you a joyful, restful holiday season and we’ll see you in 2024!

December 20, 2023By Simon Haldrup, CEO8 Minutes