Food industry giants unveil new global regenerative agriculture framework
The Sustainable Markets Initiative's Agribusiness Task Force has launched a new framework in the hopes of unleashing trillions of dollars in support of regenerative farming practices.Supporting businesses include Mars, McCain Foods, McDonald's, PepsiCo and Waitrose.
The new framework aims to render regenerative farming financially viable and scalable, laying the groundwork for implementation projects in key regions including India, the UK and the US.
The strategy is focused on tackling the pressing environmental challenges posed by the current food system, which accounts for approximately 30% of human-produced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and remains a primary driver of nature loss.
The Task Force highlights that while regenerative farming could contribute a third of the land-based climate action required by 2030, economic barriers hinder its widespread adoption among farmers.
The Agribusiness Task Force’s chair Grant Reid said: “Taking farming back to its roots through regenerative practices isn’t a choice; it’s one of the only ways we can guarantee farming and global food supply chains can survive for generations to come.
“That’s why our plan, proving that regenerative farming could be economically viable, rewarding, and scalable, could be transformational to the world. But we need to prove it, which is why we’re eagerly putting into practice our theory by launching implementation projects across the world.”
Inside the new framework
The four-lever framework proposed by the Task Force is founded on new funding and sourcing models, introduction of common metrics, suggested government policy changes and a plan to create new revenue streams for farmers.
The ‘new funding and sourcing models’ is a blended finance model combining philanthropic support; catalytic capital from asset managers; commercial capital offered at preferential rates from banks; longer-term contract commitments from food businesses to source sustainable commodities and crop insurance from insurance companies helping de-risk farming operations.
Additionally, the framework outlines plans to create new revenue streams for farmers by enabling them to earn carbon credits throughout their field’s entire rotation, even during periods of soil recovery.
The Task Force emphasises the significance of scalability, advocating for common metrics to facilitate a universally understood approach to regenerative farming.
Earlier this year, research conducted by FAIRR revealed that the absence of a universally accepted definition for ‘regenerative agriculture‘ and a lack of consensus on the specific objectives that companies aim to achieve through it, poses significant challenges to the food and beverage industry.
The SMI’s framework also promotes Government policy changes aimed at unlocking an estimated $1.2trn that regenerative agriculture can contribute to the global economy.
These recommendations range from providing financial support and training to farmers adopting regenerative practices to integrating regenerative farming terms into trade agreements and incentivising landowners to encourage these techniques among tenants.
The Task Force is actively exploring farming projects worldwide to demonstrate the viability of its concept, spanning rice in India, canola and wheat in Poland, wheat in the US and potatoes in the UK, engaging both industry leaders and financial institutions.