Enhancing soil

08-18-2022
By storing CO2 in the soil, experts hope to combat climate change. Yet transparent measurement methods and standards are still lacking to determine the efficiency of carbon farming measures. A newly founded initiative aims to remedy this situation. With significant financial support and content-related assistance from the Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, K+S Aktiengesellschaft and Klim, an Agritech company, have launched a DIN standardization process for carbon storage in soil - DIN SPEC 3609. At an event on August 2, 2022, under the leadership of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), 17 German companies, associations as well as scientific institutions agreed to the business plan for the formation of a corresponding consortium.

Agriculture is heavily affected by climate change. At the same time, it is responsible for seven percent of greenhouse gases in Germany alone, and for as much as a quarter worldwide. By changing crop rotations, using alternative farming methods, or cultivating the soil gently, however, CO2 from the atmosphere can be stored as carbon in and on soils. Experts refer to this as carbon farming. There is consensus among experts that these potentials need to be utilized to a greater extent to achieve national and international climate goals. 


In the long term, it is estimated that Germany could store over ten million tonnes of carbon in mineral soils through carbon farming measures. Mandatory regulations for assessing and quantifying organic humus buildup and greenhouse gas emission changes from adapted management practices in and on agriculturally used soils, however, hardly exist so far. Yet transparent methods are a prerequisite for regulating carbon sequestration services through a market mechanism. Farmers who are innovative and economically viable would therefore have an incentive to use carbon farming as a business model. 


“Our clear goal is to fully adopt the regulatory framework in the next six months,” says Jessica Berneburg-Wächter, head of the consortium. “We then want to use the rulebook to contribute to the EU's decision-making process.” By the end of the year, the EU Commission intends to present a proposal for a legal framework on carbon farming.


About Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank

Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank is Germany’s development agency for agribusiness and rural areas. Its promotional mandate covers not only agriculture and forestry, but also the entire food value chain, the increased use of energy from renewable sources, and the promotion of bio-economy solutions. Rentenbank attaches particular importance to the promotion of innovation, including research and development in universities, the early-stage financing of agriculture-related start-ups, and the market introduction and practical use of new technologies and products. Rentenbank’s promotional instruments are subsidies, subordinated loans, and special promotional loans. The special promotional loans are granted via the local banks of the ultimate borrowers on a competitively neutral basis. Rentenbank provides funding to banks, savings banks, and local authorities operating in rural areas. The Bank is a federal institution under public law whose capital stock was formed by contributions from the German agriculture and forestry sectors. It is subject to the German Banking Act (KWG) and is regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and the Bundesbank. As one of the few triple-A rated institutions in Germany, Rentenbank raises funds in the capital markets.

 

About Klim

The German impact startup Klim is creating a joint movement with farmers, food companies, and consumers to promote regenerative agriculture as rapidly as possible, sustainably reduce CO₂ emissions, and therefore make an important contribution to climate protection. The digital climate platform provides farms with documentation and funding opportunities as well as access to knowledge and a community. Food companies are therefore given the opportunity to shape their supply chains in a future-proof and climate-friendly way, and consumers can make their contribution to climate protection by purchasing products with the Klim label. Klim GmbH was founded in Berlin in 2020 by Dr. Robert Gerlach, Nina Mannheimer, and Adiv Maimon with the vision of climate-positive agriculture.

About K+S

We make an important contribution to society: We enable farmers securing the world's food supply. Our products keep numerous industries running. We enrich consumers' daily lives and ensure safety in winter. With around 11,000 employees, production sites on two continents, and a global distribution network, we are a reliable partner for our customers. At the same time, we are realigning ourselves: We are focusing even more strongly than before on fertilizers and specialties. We are becoming leaner, more cost-efficient, more digital, and more performance oriented. On a solid financial basis, we are tapping into new markets and business models. We are committed to our responsibility towards society and the environment in all regions in which we operate.

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Richert ole.richert@k-plus-s.com
Ole Richert
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