Certificering & Verificering

ISO-Certificering
AgreenaCarbons program er ISO 14064-2 standard certificeret af DNV.

ISO 14064-2 standarden er en del af ISO 14000 familien, der er en gruppe af internationale standarder for miljøstyring. Standarden er den mest anerkendte standard for miljøstyring, brugt af flere hundredetusinde organisationer verden over.

ISO 14064-2 leverer en række værktøjer som vi hos AgreenaCarbon bruger til kvantificering, monitorering, rapportering og verificering af aktiviteter, der reducerer og/eller fjerner udledningen af drivhus gasser.

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DNV Verificering
DNV er AgreenaCarbons certificerings og verificerings organ. Vores program og vores carbon certifikater er verificerede af DNV.

DNV er en uafhængig ekspert i garantier og risikostyring. Drevet af en mission om at beskytte liv, ejendom og miljø, gør DNV det muligt for virksomheder at tage kritiske beslutninger på baggrund af fakta og troværdige indsigter. Ved at fremme sikkerhed og bæredygtighed, er DNV med til inspirere og finde løsninger til at tackle globale udfordringer og drive globale omstillinger.

DNV er et af verdens førende klassificerings selskaber og en anerkendt rådgiver, der støtter virksomheder i at sikre den højeste kvalitet indenfor performance, produkter, mennesker, faciliteter og forsyningskæder.

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Cool Farm Tool
Vi har indgået et samarbejde med Cool Farm Alliance og benytter deres Cool Farm Tool, udviklet af University of Aberdeen. Cool Farm Alliance er en alliance, der forsøger at samle landmænd, NGO’er, multinationale fødevare producenter, samt detailhandlen, med det formål at promovere dyrkningsformer, der kan være med til at mindske udledningen af drivhusgasser.

Cool Farm Tool (CFT) er en online beregningsmodel, der udregner landmænds drivhusgasudledning, fugtniveauer og biodiversitet. Modellen er industriens standard værktøj til specifikke beregninger af drivhusgasser.

Vi har bygget AgreenaCarbon udregneren på baggrund af CFT modellen, hvilket gør os i stand til at kvantificere drivhusgasudledningen og carbonoptaget for de specifikke marker, der er tilmeldt vores carbon program. Udregningerne laves på baggrund af en variation af forskellige informationer og parametre der blandt andet relatere sig historisk dyrkningspraksis og nuværende markdata.

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Hummingbird
Hummingbird Technologies er en satellitbilledevirksomhed, der ved hjælp af kunstig intelligens og machine learning gør det muligt at identificere markgrænser samt lave vurderinger af NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetations Index).

Satellitbillederne gør Hummingbird i stand til at lave afgrødespecifikke analyser af marker. Disse analyser bruger vi til monitorering af markgrænser, plantedække (hovedafgrøder og efterafgrøder), samt pløjepraksis.

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Drivhusgasregnskab

Begrebet global opvarmning bliver ofte inkluderet i diskussionen omkring den nuværende klimakrise, og med god grund. Menneskelig aktivitet har påviseligt øget mængden af de såkaldte drivhusgasser i atmosfæren. Disse gasser inkluderer Carbondioxid (Kuldioxid, CO2), Dinitrogenoxid (Lattergas, N2O) og Methan (CH4), for blot at nævne nogle. Alle disse gasser absorberer og lagre energi, der enten er på ind i atmosfæren eller er blevet reflekteret ud igen. Dermed skabes det, der normalt kaldes for drivhuseffekten, som er med til at øge den generelle globale temperatur. De overnævnte gasser har hver især et såkaldt drivhuspotentiale (Global Warming Potentia, GWP), på henholdsvis 1, 39 og 298 gange potentialet for CO2. Potentialerne beskriver gassernes indvirkning på drivhusgaseffekten, og på baggrund af disse har man oprettet den fælles omregningsfaktor, kaldet CO2-ækvivalent eller CO2eq.

AgreenaCarbon er baseret på en omfattende metode der fremmer bæredygtig landbrugspraksis, med det formål at forhøje jordens humusindhold, forbedre kulstofbindingen og sikre en permanent lagring af drivhusgasser.

Metoden er bygget ind i vores AgreenaCarbon platform, hvorpå landmænd indtaster deres aktiviteter for de marker de ønsker at inkludere i programmet. Indtastning og indrapportering sker på årlig basis, således at det er muligt at kvantificere de årlige reduktioner og opsamlinger af drivhusgas.

Kulstof Opsamling

Kulstof opsamling og lagring starter med planter, solskin og en smule regn. Gennem fotosyntese, bruger planterne energi fra solen til at opsamle CO2 fra atmosfære og omdanne dette til sukker og ilt. Sukkeret bruger planterne i deres vækst, mens ilten udskilles som et restprodukt.

Kulstof Lagring

Der er to primære puljer af kulstof lagret i biomasse, henholdsvis en pulje over jorden (Frø, planteskud, halmstrå og blade) og en pulje under jorden (Rødder). Puljen af biomasse over jorden afgiver kulstof til jorden efterhånden som denne biomasse nedbrydes. Dette sker eksempelvis når afgrøderester snittes og efterlades på jorden, eller ved en decideret inkorporering i jorden. Kulstoffet i biomassen under jorden lagres ved anaerobe forhold, altså iltfrie forhold hvor kulstoffet omformes til opløst organisk kulstof (Dissolved Organic Carbon, DOC).

Denitrifikation

Denitrifikation er en mikrobiel reduktion af nitrat og nitrit, hvori forskellige nitrogen-gasser dannes, f.eks. dinitrogenoxid (Lattergas, N2O) og nitrogen (Kvælstof, N2). Som nævnt ovenfor, er det en essentielt at målrette nedsættelsen af nitrogen-kilder, da disse har enormt høje drivhuspotentialer. Udledningen af lattergas kan sænkes ved brug af nitrogen hæmmer eller gennem reduceret iltning/forstyrring af jorden.

Herunder er en liste over de parametre der tages højde for i AgreenaCarbon programmets kvantificering af reduktioner og opsamlinger af drivhusgasser. Alt i alt bidrager disse praksis til dyrkningen af sundere afgrøder, samtidig med at der oplagres atmosfærisk kulstof (CO2). Derved skabes der mere modstandsdygtige fødevarekæder, øget biodiversitet i landbrugets økosystemer ved flere bier og insekter, samt forbedrede vandmiljøer.

Efterafgrøder
Cover crops job is primarily to improve the soil. They are planted after the cash crop is harvested, to keep a green cover all year around. Benefits of a full year green cover are improved soil aggregate stability, reduced erosion and nutrient runoff, improved water infiltration and holding capacity, reduces disease, weed and insect cycles, and increase in biodiversity. In case of a very wet field, cover crops will reduce soil moisture for the next cash crop.

Potential Risks: seed, fuel, and planting costs may not offset economic benefits of cover crops in short term, but long-term improvements are seen, cover crops immobilize nitrogen e.g., unable to use by subsequent crop, climate and management practices will affect the benefits of cover crops, certain cover crop types can be difficult to terminate and risk becoming a weed.

Minimum disturbance
Reduced soil disturbance and no-tillage practices, also leads to less soil erosion due to reduced soil disturbances, less soil compaction due to lower machinery use – and thereby also lower fuel costs, lower labour costs due to less field pass overs, less moisture loss and all in all – healthier soils.

Potential Risks: Initial cost of no tillage equipment, steep learning curve for new techniques, potential increase in chemical use if it isn’t done right, and gullies can form

Use of organic fertilization
A key component of more climate- and environmentally friendly practices is the use of organic fertilizer, as it contributes greatly to improving soil organic matter and soli activity, as organic fertilizer has many sources, such as vegetables, animals, and residue materials. It is cheaper than synthetic fertilizer and contains additional micro-nutrients beyond the synthetic. It reduces leaching potential and supply-chain emissions., and it potentially provides N supplies for future crops.

Potential risks: Nutrient content varies, generally applied when there is no crop on the field, requires more machinery, requires biological processes to become plant accessible, supplies are limited.

Healthy residue Management
Crop residue management systems include conservation tillage practices such as no-till, which provide sufficient residue cover to protect the soil surface from the erosive effects of wind and water. It promotes soil biodiversity as well as above ground biodiversity, it reduces soil emissions depending on residue C:N ratio (NOx and ammonia) and prevent nutrient leaching (N, P). In warmer climates it also serves as water retention.

Potential Risks: Increases in N emissions with high N-containing residues, increase fisk of fungal diseases in wet climates, economic losses if residues were previously sold.

Active crop rotation
Having a yearly yield with a well-planned crop rotation is an effective way to improve the outcome of the fields. Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to combat pest and weed pressure, as well as improve soil health and optimize nutrients in the soil. This combined results in improved soil organic matter, restoring of soil fertility and structure, as well as erosion and flood control.

Potential Risks: nutrient availability for the subsequent crop (leguminous cover crop), reduced yields due to expertise shortfalls, new equipment costs.

Decreased fuel usage
Practicing reduced soil disturbance significantly reduces fuel consumption and therefore reduces supply chain emissions and costs. It also encourages more efficient vehicles in order to reduce time between farm activities.

Potential risks: To occur requires new machinery, thus increasing investments, on/off engine cycling can damage equipment, decreased fuel usage is hard to achieve without changes in other practices.


Program Methodology

Minimum requirements
GHG storage in the soil is not by default final and eternal – the storage can be reversed. This occurs when different forms of carbon are exposed to drier, warmer and more oxygen available environments which happens following soil disturbance. Thus we have a few minimum requirements built into our methodology, to avoid reversals and thus ensure permanence of GHG storage.

Throughout the full duration of the contract, the Agreena farmers will adhere to the following minimum requirements to earn their certificates year on year.

1) No conventional soil disturbance practices – ie. no plowing

Intensive soil disturbance such as plowing is creating reversals and thus releasing large amounts of captured CO2e into the atmosphere. Moreover keeping cultivation to minimum soil disturbance practices will in the longer term enhance biodiversity and the natural biological processes of the soil, as well as it improves the soil fertility. Soil organic matter increases, and thus increases the carbon sequestration potential in the soil as well.

2) No burning of residues. 

Successive fires on fields releases a significant amount of carbon and nitrogen into the atmosphere. Moreover the fires destroy the organic matter that makes soil fertile, causing crop yields to decrease over time and increasing the need for fertilizers.

Moreover the program is designed for active cropland, and the farmer must therefore have a yearly yield on the participating fields. Peatlands, forestry etc. is at the moment not possible to sign up to the program. A yearly yield with a well planned crop rotation is an efficient way to combat pest and weed pressure, improve soil health and optimize nutrients in the soil. This results in improving the soil organic matter, which again increases the carbon levels in the soil.

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Additionality is defined as actions that occur as a result of the programme that would not have happened in the absence of the programme.


We ensure additionality by removing the barriers for consistent adoption of regenerative practices across the global agricultural eco-system, to reduce carbon emissions, and foster relative enhancements of soil carbon stocks

The programme addresses the key barriers of adoption of regenerative agriculture (RA) through providing financial and educational incentives.

Financial barriers
When adopting new practices there are two main financial barriers:

  1. Initial investment in new machinery
  2. Risk of yield outage in the short term

Financial barriers are reduced through the issuance of carbon certificates which are a purchasable commodity aimed at co-financing the initial investment of machinery as well as cover missing earnings due to potential lowered yields – all this to achieve a consistent commitment to adopted RA practices.

Educational barrier
Regenerative farming is a completely new way of cultivating fields and requires both initial new knowledge as well as continuous guidance and advice.

We have connected an online learning system to our technical platform to assists farmers in achieving the best outcomes throughout their transition. Also, the service platform offers direct connection between specialist agronomists and the Agreena farmers to ensure continuous advice on best management practices for the specific fields and local areas.

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Note: We have taken inspiration from the Verra: AFOLU Non-Permanence Risk Tool, and Verra: VSC Program Guide v4.0. and have chosen to slightly adjust the specific approach as there are certain risk factors that are not applicable, as well as the Programme not considering agroforestry factors which these tools are primarily designed for.


Permanence refers to the length of time that carbon will remain stored after being sequestered in carbon pools (25 years). The carbon stored in soils and in the above ground biomass can be re-emitted to the atmosphere either by natural processes or by the disturbances of the soil layer.

All Agreena farmers are required to contribute a percentage of their climate benefit to the AgreenaCarbon Non-Permanence Buffer, which remains unsold and guarantees the integrity of our certificates in the face of risks to permanence, overestimation or potential reversals of emission removals. The Buffer does not include risks associated to GHG reductions, but solely CO2 removals that risk being released back in the atmosphere.

The Buffer consists of verified carbon Certificates set aside to cover both the structural quantification risks as well as non-permanence risks. The Buffer is held in the AgreenaCarbon Registry with the purpose of replenishment in a case of reversal (eg. due to intensive soil disturbance) during the project contracting term.

Moreover, as with all modelling, there is a level of uncertainty that needs to be accounted for. Therefore, the buffer mechanism is also used to mitigate against uncertainties and natural disaster risk such as fires and flooding.

 

Buffer allocation

AgreenaCarbon considers a range of risks and uncertainties associated with the estimations, reversals, and permanence of GHG removals. The determination of the certificate share that will be allocated in the buffer is the same for all projects and depends on contract type. It is calculated based on the following identified risks as described in

  1. Non-permanence risks during the Crediting Term.
    Our Programme assumes a risk of non-permanence during the crediting term, associated to reversal of management practices and non-compliance to the AgreenaCarbon terms and policies.
  2. Non-permanence risks in the Maintenance Period.
    Our Programme assumes that the level of commitment is different between contract types and therefore the risks associated to non-permanence after the Crediting Term are adjusted for each contract type.
  3. Non-permanence risks due to natural/other drivers (e.g., flood or fire).
    Despite the risk is low, AgreenaCarbon still accounts a share of the buffer to natural causes. Furthermore, the assigned share to these events is including the increased risks of damages due to factors affected by climate change (e.g, risk of fire or flood). Our Programme has therefore assigned a fixed buffer of 3% to account for such risks.
  4. Quantification risks due to uncertainties (e.g., modelling, measurements, additionality). To address uncertainties related to the modelling of GHG emission, along with other aspects that can jeopardize additionality, AgreenaCarbon has allocated 15% on buffer to account for uncertainty risks.

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Note: We have taken inspiration from the Verra: AFOLU Non-Permanence Risk Tool, and Verra: VSC Program Guide v4.0. and have chosen to slightly adjust the specific approach as there are certain risk factors that are not applicable, as well as the Programme not considering agro-forestry factors which these tools are primarily designed for.


All AgreenaCarbon certificates are issued, transacted and retired on the AgreenaCarbon Registry where certificates are allocated unique serial numbers to ensure there is no double-counting or double-selling.

Our programme registry is an internal database for certificates with an online account management platform. The aim of the registry is to ensure complete traceability and validity for all carbon certificates over time.

The registry is responsible for the recording and visualisation of registered projects, validated certificates and ensuring that all is processed in accordance with the AgreenaCarbon rules; providing services of holding, transferring, retiring, and cancelling certificates; managing buffer certificates; and maintaining custodial services and records of legal ownership of certificates.

The Registry will be accessible via an online platform where the certificate account balances are viewable with respect to the account holders e.g., farmer and buyer.

 

Certificate lifecycle

  • Transferable: certificates available for sale / claim by farmers or 3rd party buyers
  • Retired: Occurs when certificate has been sold.
  • Cancelled: Replenished and cancelled certificates due to reversals or premature termination from farmers.

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Monitoring, Reporting and, Verification (MRV)-process

The MRV process is essential for guaranteeing the validity of the processes and outcomes of the programme.

The process is broken into three key steps:

  1. Quality assuranceperformed by the Customer Success department in which the intent of the programme is confirmed with the project proponent, ensure understanding of input data and next steps.
  2. Quality control – The process of running our field level, reported real-world data through initial modelling and data pattern analysis paired with satellite imagery data to confirm both the practice adoption as well as the emission reductions and removals. Following a desk review, to ensure accuracy of reported and modeled data – random site inspections are performed.
  3. 3rd party verification – handled by a trusted & industry leading verification body that verifies both the AgreenaCarbon methodology, QA & QC processes as well as the final quantified reductions in order to verify the issued certificates.

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Program Terms

A farmer either join the program for 5 or 10 years. Or they can try out our vesting model, where they have the flexibility of being part of our programme for a year at the time. In the vesting model, they will receive their pay-outs over a five-year period, and will only get payouts in the years where they are part of our programme.

AgreenaCarbon verifies the farmer’s reduced emissions from a farmers field
activities and creates verified, tradable CO2eq-certificates. The farmer is the owner of the certificates and decides what he or she wants to do with them. They can either sell them, keep them or have us sell the certificates for them.

They can only sell your certificate once – issued certificates will be retired upon selling and cannot be sold multiple times.

If a farmer wishes to leave our programme early, there are two ways of doings so:

Good leaver
If a farmer leaves and still subscribe to our monitoring service, they are  considered a “good leaver”, and there will be no repayments or retained payments. They will be asked to pay a monitoring and verification fee, to cover our cost for satellite & data verification. They will still need to adhere to the minimum requirements through the full contract period.

Bad leaver
If a farmer leaves and do not subscribe to our monitoring service, they are considered a “bad leaver”. On a fixed model they will be asked to repay up to 3 years of executed payments. On a vesting model we retain all future payments.

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The aim of AgreenaCarbon is to have a net-net positive effect on the climate and assist in the transition towards sustainable agriculture. When undergoing the sale of certificates either via AgreenaCarbon or an external broker, the programme has outlined a buyer condition that requires said buyer to have an implemented an Environmental,Social and Governance (ESG) policy which seeks to reduce and eliminate their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. In the screening process, the programme will either independently assess publicly available ESG policy’s or request a copy from the buyer.

Once buyers meet our requirements for certificate purchases, AgreenaCarbon will then provide guarantee that all purchases certificates will remain permanent indefinitely through the use of our programme buffer framework.

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AgreenaCarbon Certificates

ESG Policy

AgreenaCarbon certificates are a purchasable commodity that represents one tonne of CO2e removals and reductions, for the use of insetting or offsetting emissions.

When a company wishes to buy certificates from the AgreenaCarbon programme in order to use for offsetting, the company must have a pathway towards reduction or elimination of their own scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (see link below). AgreenaCarbon certificates are not a quick fix or a license to continue practices that damage the climate.

In order to ensure that buying companies have a sustainability strategy, Agreena has an ESG screening process of the potential buyers of certificates.

It must also be emphasized that the buyer’s resale of purchased Certificates is strictly forbidden. The seller and/or Agreena ApS have the right to cancel all certificates sold due to breach, if the buyer attempts to, causes or completes such resale of Certificates.

Link for the definition of scope 1,2 and 3: https://www.epa.gov/greeningepa/greenhouse-gases-epa

In light of the recent reports published by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it-has become apparent that the agricultural industry accounts for about 24% of global green house gas emissions. One solution could be to reduce or stop production, however in the face increasing population growth this simply is not an option.

However, the problem can also be a solution. In the past few decades there has been an ever increasing focus on sustainable agriculture practices that have been scientifically proven to improve soil health and carbon storage.

The idea of AgreenCarbon has grown from the intention of helping farmers combat the climate crisis through identifying the key barrier economic and educational barriers preventing the transition towards sustainable farming. Through buying certificates from our farmers, companies and organization are helping further accelerate the transition.

Agreena Farmers are part of a growing cohort within the Agricultural community focused on improving soil health, biodiversity and overall resilence to pests and the climate. There intentions for joining AgreenaCarbon are often rooted in their faith in the new system and the co-benefits that the practices provide for their farming operations as a whole.

We believe that trust and transparency is at the core of every sustainable solution, which is why we are transparent with our methodology and quantification. For potential buyers this means, that they can validity of our certificates, and if they wish to double-check for themselves, they are able to do so.

Why are we doing, what we are doing?
What is Agreena’s mission and background?
Why have we chosen an ISO-standard certification? What does that mean for our certificates?

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The certificate market up to this point has mainly focused on renewable energy and forestry projects where certificates have been generated through leading standards such as VCS and Gold Standard. We know we need to take decisive action this decade to ensure we meet the 1.5 degree targets. Therefore it is essential that new carbon reduction and removal projects are developed and implemented at scale.

The concept of agricultural carbon certificates is relatively new, although the potential for the impact is large. When creating AgreenaCarbon, we have sought inspiration from these other leading standards and have developed them further by building our own proprietary, scientific, scalable, and fit-for-purpose methodology, which accurately reflects the GHG protocols, accounting and quantification principles.

Soil vs Other carbon projects.

The most well known and well used form of carbon offsetting is in tree planting. Tree planting is an important part of our ongoing solution to climate change but will not achieve the required results on its own. Trees take over 20 years to have the desired effect and if UN estimates are correct we do not have 20 years to wait. Soil on the other hand offers a much more immediate carbon removal and reduction process which we can achieve in just one year’s crop cycle. Whilst also growing nutritious food, supporting local biodiversity and family farms.

AgreenaCarbon vs Other soil carbon programs.

Soil carbon programs must be simple and scalable enough for farmers to understand and use in their day to day activities. Farmers are looking for simple and practical decision making tools to understand their carbon position and the effect of the actions they take. At Agreena we believe that current soil carbon programs are too complex, costly and unsustainable for farmers to use on a daily basis. That is why we have built our methodology, online calculation system and learning platform to put the best tool and knowledge in the farmers hands to make business decisions not only based on the yield of the crop but now for the first time the impact their practices have on the climate.


International Perspective

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, and to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.

AgreenaCarbon utilises guidance issued by the IPCC Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) which is responsible for developing and refining internationally agreed methodologies and software for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The CFT software in use by AgreenaCarbon utilises Global Warming Potential (GWP) of different GHGs indicated by the IPCC Assessment Report 4, and updates accordingly.

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Goal 13: Climate Action.

Through the introduction of AgreenaCarbon there has been a mobilization of agricultural practitioners through improved education and awareness raising about practices that will help mitigate climate change and improve adaptation to a changing climate (target 13.3).

Goal 15: Life on Land

AgreenaCarbon target’s goal 15, target 15.3 through the practice management framework outlined for farmers when joining the programme. The suite of practices adopted by AgreenaCarbon are aimed at stopping degradation and improving soil carbon stock and health. Financial incentives in the form of Carbon Certificates addresses target 15a which aims to ensure sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Through promoting sustainable agricultural practices AgreenaCarbon directly addresses SDG goal 2. The key targets that the program addresses include 2.1 – ensuring nutritious and sufficient food all year round, 2.4 – improve the sustainability and resilience of agricultural systems in the face of increasing challenges related to climate change.

Goal 3: Human Health
AgreenaCarbon indirectly supports human health through improvement of plant nutrient content which has been noted to be in decline.

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