ESMC Finds Potential Demand for Ecosystem Market Credits Approaches $14 Billion
Potential purchases of U.S. ecosystem credits from agriculture could be as high as $13.9 billion according to an IHS Markit (formerly Informa) economic assessment released by the ESMC. The study sought to determine the extent of market demand for credits that American farmers and ranchers can generate through establishing and maintaining conservation practices that provide quantified ecosystem benefits. The Economic Assessment was released at the September 24 Farm Foundation Forum on “Incentivizing Conservation Agriculture.”“The Informa assessment confirms ESMC’s conviction that there is substantial demand for ecosystem services from farmers and ranchers. ESMC is building a voluntary market to monetize those outcomes for producers, using science-based approaches to increase and measure soil organic carbon, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve water quality and water use efficiency,” said ESMC Executive Director Debbie Reed. “This study demonstrates conclusively the demand for the ecosystems services marketplace ESMC will launch in 2022. Through the ESMC marketplace, farmers and ranchers will receive payments for the environmental benefits they provide, and corporate and public entities will be able purchase credits to meet their sustainability goals.” Read the full press release here
To access the full report, click here.
To access a 2-page summary of the IHS Markit Economic Assessment, click here.
Welcome New ESMC Team Members
ESMC is pleased to welcome two Project Managers to the team! Tom Driscoll and Caroline Wade will be instrumental in helping move the ESMC platform to the implementation stage.
Driscoll, formerly leading conservation policy for the National Farmers Union, will be responsible for oversight of development and refinement of ESMC protocols, for planning and implementing pilot projects, and for certification of assets that will prepare for the national program launch. Wade will provide administrative, strategic, facilitative and technical support for ESMRC Working Groups (see below) focused on research, development, demonstration and deployment of cost-effective, scalable technologies and approaches necessary to accomplish the program goals, objectives and outcomes. She comes to ESMC from several years of agriculture conservation focused work in the corn belt region with The Nature Conservancy and Illinois Corn Growers Association.
The ESMC member-driven research consortium – known as the Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) – will support development of a cost-effective and scalable approach to farmer and rancher engagement in ecosystem service markets, an approach needed to scale the beneficial impacts of sustainable practice adoption on working agricultural lands. The ESMRC will also meet corporate and societal needs by quantifying, monitoring and verifying the environmental benefits achieved on an annual and ongoing basis. This body of work falls into five research objectives: Impact Quantification; Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) technologies; MRV Platform; Gridded Land Ledger; and Quantifying Soil Ecosystem Service Capacities. To achieve these goals, four ESMRC Working Groups have been established and tasked with developing and implementing specific research and development initiatives. The Working Groups, co-led by ESMC members and informed by Science Advisors chosen from a slate of national experts, will focus on the research, development, demonstration and deployment of cost-effective, scalable technologies and approaches.
Working Group 1: Quantification of Soil C and net GHG in Protocols, Pilots and Certification will work to develop accurate, cost-effective and scalable quantification of agricultural management system impacts on soil C and net GHG (carbon, methane and nitrous oxide), including economic impacts. Working Group 2: Quantification of Water Quality and Water Quantity in Protocols, Pilots and Certification will do the same for impacts on water quality and water quantity. Working Group 3: Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Technologies; MRV Platform; and Gridded Land Ledger will work to develop innovative and advanced analytical tools and technologies to cost-effectively quantify, assess, monitor, and verify systems-based impacts of the operations of farmers and ranchers at scale while providing robust and transparent documentation of outcomes. This group will also develop a secure platform to cost-effectively collect, store and manage data inputs and outputs in order to support the marketplace and develop a land ledger that tracks ecosystem service outcomes in a geospatial manner. Working Group 4: Soil Carbon Research to Quantify and Achieve Ecosystem Service Capacities of Soils will work to credibly assess the technical capacity for different soils to absorb and retain carbon and contribute to improved water quality and water use conservation as metrics of soil health.
Upcoming ESMC Member Meeting
Founding Circle and Legacy Partner members will gather in Washington, DC, for their second quarterly meeting on November 14–15. As of this newsletter, 14 companies and organizations have joined the ESMC as Founding Circle Members, along with 21 Legacy Partner Member companies and organizations. Members will consider and prioritize strategic recommendations from the Working Groups and next steps for action.