Three major farm carbon calculators outline a roadmap to harmonisation

27 Jun 2024

The three major farm carbon calculators featured in the Defra Report Harmonisation of Carbon Accounting Tools for Agriculture – SCF0129, have announced a collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), intended to harmonise the methodologies used in calculating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture.

Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, Cool Farm Alliance Community Interest Company and Agrecalc Limited have reached an agreement to work together to support UK agriculture to measure GHG emissions using the most up-to-date and accurate tools possible, harmonising the methodologies and outputs of their carbon calculation tools.

The three companies are looking forward to their joint work on this major challenge, to fulfil the requirements outlined in the comprehensive Report, compiled by ADAS throughout 2023. It is generally agreed that the overarching goal should be to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture through resource efficiency improvements, optimising production practices and mitigating environmental impacts.

Liz Bowles, Farm Carbon Toolkit CEO, said: “We are not seeking to reach a point where all three calculators will produce the same answer for any given dataset. As the Defra report put it, “there is no single ‘right’ answer”. Rather we are striving to make it possible for users to fully understand why different calculators produce different answers.

“We plan to align with the Science-Based Targets initiative Forestry Land and Agriculture Guidance (SBTi FLAG) and draft Greenhouse Gas Protocol Land Sector Removals Guidance (GHGp LSRG) through our collaborative actions. This commitment underscores our dedication to maintaining high-quality standards and ensuring environmental sustainability in our operations, and in calculation outputs.”

Scott Davies, Agrecalc CEO, said: “It is intended that we agree on a common set of data sources which all three calculators will use. All calculators can go beyond these baseline requirements, and all parties to this MOU will retain their commercial independence. We will also involve the relevant government and other organisations’ teams with our work plan as we develop it.

“This collaborative approach supports a joint understanding of industry requirements and advancing consistency in our tools and methodologies. Our goal is collaboration with industry, trade bodies, and fellow calculator providers in the UK and internationally, so that we can actively contribute to the development of more consistent approaches to on-farm carbon calculation.”

Richard Profit, Cool Farm Alliance CEO, said: “We are looking forward to this collaboration, as it will help align methodologies where that makes sense and that will especially allow us to look into new areas that require attention. How we then incorporate the new information in our calculators will vary from calculator to calculator as a result of our different base approaches.

“We will also ensure that the tools include the latest and most robust scientific findings into their frameworks and roadmaps.”

The calculators are seeking that this joint work become the “agreed way” and at some point, become a minimum required standard for all calculators to adopt. The companies will engage in consultations with Defra, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, and Northern Ireland Government to reach a practical and realistic form of ongoing validation of their harmonisation work.

Methodologies or other harmonisation solutions developed as a direct result of the MOU will be published transparently or will otherwise be made available for others to use.

Although this MOU currently only involves the three major companies in this space, the group is open to other calculators joining the coalition so long as they publicly provide transparency in their Calculator methodologies.

The representatives of the three calculators will be holding a joint webinar on the 11th of September 2024 at 1pm – 2pm to share more details of the work being done together. Please register via this link if you would like to join: