Tools available for on-farm Carbon measurement and reduction

As we all know, the agricultural industry is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It’s also pretty well known that it is also the country’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (also known as carbon emissions). The latest New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory published earlier in April (it crunches 2017 numbers), puts the figure at 48.1 per cent. Since 1990, NZ’s net emissions have increased by 65 per cent.

This increase in net emissions is a complex combination of factors including; the effect of more forests being harvested, fewer trees being planted and an increase in gross emissions (of which agriculture has played a significant part). However, farmers are already improving emissions efficiency (shown by information from the Ministry for Primary Industries), which has meant that total agricultural emissions have grown by 15 per cent since 1990, instead of more than 40 per cent without those initiatives.

At our recent Blinc Workshop Innovation Series event, “What Could Climate Change Mean for Farming in Canterbury?” that we held last week, we heard from three key speakers with different perspectives, about the work they’re doing in this space. Most notably, Ngāi Tahu Farming talked about the process they undertook to complete a baseline greenhouse gas inventory to understand their own emissions profile and are working on specific focus areas to reduce it. As it can be a complex process, they enlisted the aid of Enviro-Mark Solutions. Enviro-Mark Solutions provided tools and expertise which ensured that the inventory was complete and robust. Ngāi Tahu Farming spoke specifically about the high value they place on independence and international accreditation that they sought by bringing Enviro-Mark Solutions on board.

Further good emissions news for our industry is that Enviro-Mark Solutions is developing a farm-specific carbon footprinting tool that can provide for a certified carbon footprint for a farm. This tool downloads data directly from farmers’ Overseer accounts allowing for easy flow of data into a greenhouse gas inventory for farms. It is expected to launch later in the year. You can find out more about this tool and solutions for your farm by getting in touch with Craig Davison at Enviro-Mark Solutions, craig.davison@enviro-mark.com or 027 245 1653.

With the Zero Carbon Bill about to be released for discussion it is likely that agriculture will be expected to contribute – including by being part of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Knowing your carbon footprint will help you identify your largest emissions sources and implement a reduction plan, therefore getting a headstart on any changes. This provides real value for the many farmers that are already doing great work to reduce their environmental impact.

More about Enviro-Mark Solutions:

Enviro-Mark Solutions is the leading provider of environmental certification in New Zealand. Since 2001, its programmes have ensured that New Zealand organisations are benefiting from international best practice, applied science, and effective tools. Enviro-Mark Solutions is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, a Government-owned Crown Research Institute. Though developed for New Zealand’s needs, Enviro-Mark Solutions’ offerings currently serve over 400 clients worldwide.