August 2022 ESMC Newsletter
Eco-Harvest Receives Program Verification from SustainCERT VCI
We are pleased to announce that our recently launched Eco-Harvest market program for agriculture is the first in the US to reach program and pilot validation and verification under the SustainCERT Value Change Initiative (VCI). You can read our full press release here.
What does this mean? This exciting announcement confirms that SustainCERT has completed their due diligence process showing that the Eco-Harvest program aligns with VCI guidance. SustainCERT also completed a successful ESMC project verification. We are the first program in the US that meets all VCI requirements for independent verification of soil carbon removals and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Because ESMC’s program correctly meets the Value Change Initiative Guidance, that will allow us to add new regions and crop types to our Eco-Harvest market program. This map shows the locations and crop types now validated and included in our program. The VCI Guidance alignment also means our projects qualify for verification by SustainCERT every year.
Why is annual verification important? ‘Scope 3’/supply chain greenhouse gas corporate accounting and reporting occurs annually; claims for removals and reductions must be verified every year and cannot be carried from year to year. ESMC’s Eco-Harvest program is designed to meet these annual corporate accounting and reporting cycles to ensure our program removals and reductions can be used by buyers to meet their Scope 3 reporting commitments. Annual verification ensures that can happen.
These achievements mark another successful milestone for ESMC and our non-profit collective engagement supply chain program. We are proud of our team and our members for their participation and contributions that led to this latest program achievement and look forward to continued scaling of program outcomes and additional program successes.
Thank you to our members, stakeholders, Board of Directors, and funders for your support in achieving this historic success.
ESMC in the News
Nebraska Soil Carbon Project Officially Underway
Aurora News Register (August 23)
Representatives of area natural resource districts and corporations met at the Raising Nebraska building in Grand Island NE in mid-August to kick off a long-awaited joint effort—the Nebraska Soil Carbon Project. The guest list included individuals from the Central Platte Natural Resource District, The Nature Conservancy (an ESMC Founding Circle member and funder), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (an ESMC funder), Pheasants Forever (an ESMC Legacy Partner member), the Nebraska Corn Board, ESMC, and BeefUp Sustainability partners Cargill, Target and McDonalds (Cargill is an ESMC Founding Circle member and McDonalds is a Legacy Partner member). After an introduction of members of the various representatives of the assembled organizations and corporations, agriculture and water manager for The Nature Conservancy, Jacob Fritton, gave an overview of the Nebraska Soil Carbon Project. The project is the culmination of years of work that already includes 100 central Nebraska producers with the goal of converting 100,000 acres to soil carbon saving practices in five years. Read the full article.
Look For ESMC At….
VERGE 22; October 25 – 27, 2022 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
VERGE 22 is the leading climate tech event accelerating solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. Join thousands of leaders — from business, government, solution providers and startups — working together to address the climate crisis across six strategic areas: clean energy, sustainable transportation, carbon removal, regenerative food systems, net-zero buildings, and the startup ecosystem. ESMC’s Executive Director will participate in a roundtable discussion at the event. Read more and register.
ESMC Member and Funder News
Ohio State Leading New $15 Million Project to Study Carbon Farming as Climate Change Solution
Ohio State News (August 25)
Taking excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where it is driving climate change, and locking it into the soil, where it improves its health and agronomic productivity, is the impetus behind a new five-year, $15 million project at The Ohio State University. Funding for the project comes from a $5 million grant from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (an ESMC funder) and about $10 million in matching contributions from Ohio State, commodity groups, industry and other donors. The project will measure how much organic and inorganic carbon gets sequestered in the soil under different farming practices in key regions across the western hemisphere. ESMC Board Member Dr. Rattan Lal will serve as principal investigator of the project. Read the full announcement.
Soil Health Institute Announces Recommended Measurements for Evaluating Soil Health
Soil Health Institute Press (August 12)
The Soil Health Institute, an ESMC Legacy Partner member, recently announced its recommended measurements for assessing soil health. These recommendations answer the No. 1 question about soil health that farmers, ranchers, and their advisers have been asking since the soil health movement began. Read the full announcement.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs with Cornell Atkinson
Unique among postdoctoral fellowships, the Cornell Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellowship funds highly motivated recent PhDs to conduct projects under the mentorship of a Cornell faculty host and an advisor from an external partner organization. Cornell Atkinson is an ESMC Legacy Partner member. Applications are due October 17; read the full announcement.
Other News of Note
MIT Technology Review (August 24)
Christopher Voigt, the Daniel I.C. Wang Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering and co-director of MIT’s Synthetic Biology Center, is leading a Climate Grand Challenges flagship project that aims to reduce emissions from agriculture, largely from fertilizer, and boost yields of major food crops. “Our focus is on decarbonizing agriculture,” Voigt says. “And underlying that is biotechnology. How do we use plant and microbial engineering and biotechnology, to chip away at carbon emissions from agriculture? That’s one piece. The other [focus of our project] is developing crops that are more resilient.” Read the full article.
Diet For a Hotter Climate: Five Plants That Could Help Feed the World
The Guardian (August 20)
Over the course of human history, scientists believe that humans have cultivated more than 6,000 different plant species. But over time, farmers gravitated toward planting those with the largest yields. Today, just three crops – rice, wheat, and corn – provide nearly half of the world’s calories. As the impacts of the climate crisis become starker, farmers across the world are rediscovering ancient crops and developing new hybrids that might prove hardier in the face of drought or epidemics, while also offering important nutrients. Read the full article.
As Congress Funds High-Tech Climate Solutions, It Also Bets on a Low-Tech One: Nature
Washington Post (August 14)
From boosting forest preservation to incentivizing climate-smart farming practices, the Inflation Reduction Act includes an acknowledgement that land is a profound ally in the fight against climate change. Read the full article.
Great Carbon Expectations
Successful Farming (August 12)
The next time you buy a product, look at its label. It may include a claim of carbon neutrality. Such a declaration doesn’t just signify the company is trying to be a good environmental steward. It also indicates the firm believes it can increase the product’s value through a carbon-neutral claim. Read the full article.
(Not) Plowing to Net Zero Carbon Emissions
Successful Farming (August 8)
As a farmer and ethanol services director at EcoEngineers in Des Moines, Iowa, Mark Heckman expects that farmers who can show that they are lowering the carbon footprint of producing corn for ethanol will soon be able to reap the full benefits of making that change. There are models that can calculate the amount of carbon that can be sequestered on the farm, Heckman says, and many companies are piloting ways to create the pathways that document the reduction in carbon emissions. Read the full article.
‘We feel disrespected’: Navajo Farmers Wait for Justice Years After EPA Disaster
The Guardian (August 4)
Seven years after the EPA accidentally released 3m gallons of acid mine water, poisoning waterways that carry water to fields, farmers are still waiting for compensation. Read the full story.
22 Solutions-Focused Stories on the Food System in 2022
Civil Eats (August 1)
Not all the news is bad. Civil Eats rounded up some of their favorite recent stories about people working together with compassion, ingenuity, and solidarity across the food system. Read the full story.