Delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference highlighted potential risks surrounding carbon trading and the treatment of natural capital, with experts urging landowners to make informed decisions.
“Don’t give away your natural assets in what may turn out to be a poor deal – but do give yourself the right to choose how they are managed and how you can benefit,” said Richard Williamson, Senior Managing Director of Trinity AgTech, which hosted a fringe session entitled How to capture the value from natural capital.
Mr Williamson advised the first step for landowners is to take control of what they have, by measuring in order to be able to make an informed choice, whatever their preference or however you wish to benefit.
He recommended the tool Sandy by Trinity AgTech, a carbon calculator used by a large number of land managers for its ability to assess a farm’s biodiversity, water stewardship and agroforestry.
“One of the first steps to take is to accurately measure your baseline. Sandy applies the latest science and technology to ensure a result that meets all the recognised standards and one in which you can have complete confidence,” he explained. Richard.
Once these measurements have been entered, Sandy then provides scenarios to improve the farm’s performance, whether that’s to enhance the value of the farm’s produce, comply with retailer’s demands or to generate carbon credits.
Meanwhile, senior manager for NCM Louisa Knocker ,noted that Trinity Natural Capital Markets opens for commercial trading on 11 January, and encouraged farmers to get involved and explore the new income streams.
“There’s a very broad spread of options available through NCM – it’s been designed to cater for all buyers and sellers of natural capital solutions, whatever your attitude to risk,” she said.
Trinity NCM model contracts are designed to maximise the growth of natural capital and its associated financial gains, and are underpinned by robust legal and contractual undertakings.
Ms Knocker said that Trinity also aligned with the Core Carbon Principles established by the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, but they are not prescriptive: “The farmer remains in control of how they manage their natural capital and what they choose to do with their carbon credits and biodiversity co-benefits,” she explained.
Trinity Founder and Executive Chairman Dr Hosein Khajeh-Hosseiny stressed the need to safeguard against green grabs by those who try to extend their capital accumulation through unfair means which foster dispossessions as well as social and ecological marginalisation.
“We’ve been handed the colossal opportunity to embark upon a new journey to pave a new, more sustainable future,” said Dr Khajeh-Hosseiny. “At Trinity, we’ve taken three steps to address this.”
- To recognise there are diverse opinions and preferences, and respect the different ways through which people ascribe value, meaning and importance to different forms of natural capital – not one market, but many.
- To focus on fair, efficient and virtuous outcomes where transparency, clarity, collaboration, insight and foresight are advanced. This addresses green-washing and safeguards against “green grabs”.
- To provide and use globally credible, independent and authoritative tools and platforms that embody these principles.
He added: “We at Trinity have said it must be the ordinary farmers and landowners, not corporations nor convenient coalitions that have presided over decades-long destruction of natural capital and farmers’ economics.
“So my call to owners and stewards of natural capital is to take control, join us on an authentic, globally credible and purposeful journey that radically transforms our prospects beyond what we may deem possible.”