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Farmer’s climate actions support food companies’ net-zero targets

Saara Airaksinen

Saara Airaksinen


Reducing emissions and effective climate actions in food supply chains are a collaborative effort in which the farmer’s climate actions play a pivotal role. Emission reductions are crucial at all stages of the food production chain, from raw material production to end consumption.

In the production of food products, all stages of the production chain influence carbon dioxide emissions and their reduction. No single part of the supply chain can be solely blamed for the carbon footprint; effective climate actions require cooperation.

Food companies are required to calculate GHG emissions, which include both their direct and indirect emissions (scope 1 and 2) as well as emissions within their value chain (scope 3). Statistically, the majority of carbon dioxide emissions within food brands’ value chains originate from raw materials, primarily derived from farming and animal production. Therefore, climate actions taken in agriculture strongly impact food brands’ ability to reduce their own emissions.

An increasing number of companies are also setting science-based emission reduction targets according to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) definitions. Achieving these targets for food companies requires a deeper understanding of emissions in primary production.

Collaboration between food brands and farmers is essential in achieving SBTi targets. Significant climate actions can be taken, for example:

  • Cultivating on mineral soils and adopting regenerative farming principles.
  • Using organic and low-emission fertilizers.
  • Reducing waste streams and maximizing production efficiency.
  • Utilizing clean energy sources.
  • Sourcing raw materials as locally as possible.
  • Optimizing supply routes and favoring low-emission transportation.

Why does farmers’ climate actions matter?

Food companies, as the purchasers of farmers’ raw materials, need information about their value chain’s carbon dioxide emissions and ways to reduce them effectively. Therefore, collaboration in primary production is increasing.

Emission calculation and climate impact management are continually growing. It is advisable to prepare for this development early by increasing one’s understanding and ability to report emissions. This provides tools to respond to the growing number of information requests.

Understanding and influencing one’s own emissions also helps farmers improve their operations. Understanding soil carbon stocks in fields helps farmers make not only emission reductions but also economically viable decisions.

Regenerative farming, with one of its goals being carbon sequestration in soil, can positively affect crop yields and soil fertility as a result.

Engaging in climate actions may potentially lead to better yields. Continuous monitoring of production inputs can lead to cost savings. Furthermore, in the future, it may be possible to receive compensation for responsible production. Some companies already require producers to transition to regenerative farming, and in the future, even access to loans from financial institutions may be tied to climate actions.

Better collaboration through improved information flow

From a food company’s perspective, including raw material producers in emission calculations can also improve relationships with farmers and agricultural producers. As climate change progresses, the availability of raw materials is inevitably decreasing, emphasizing the importance of good relationships with partners.

Understanding emission sources helps producers and food companies work together to reduce emissions. The Biocode platform connects producers and organizations, ensuring that up-to-date and accurate data is always available for supply chain emission management.

The platform combines:

  • Supply chain management
  • Enhancing collaboration
  • Facilitating data collection and processing
  • Meeting reporting requirements

With this tool, food companies can obtain precise figures from farmers and use them as emission factors in product calculations, for instance. Producers can easily calculate and share their emission data with organizations securely, allowing changes in farming practices to be reflected in real-time in product carbon footprint calculations.

Utilize accurate data for better carbon footprint calculations and streamline supply chain emission management. Explore digital agriculture emission management here.

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