Fears of a ‘wild west’ approach to the soil carbon market have been calmed after the publication of minimum requirements for soil carbon codes. It is hoped the new codes will prevent greenwashing and drive environmental benefits.
The Environment Agency (EA) has utilised funding from the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund to produce the minimum requirements, which will enable the production and vetting of high quality soil carbon schemes. The work undertaken by EA has addressed several of the technical, legal and practical aspects of soil carbon projects, including reliable soil carbon measurement and verification.
By vetting and signposting the highest quality soil carbon schemes, the project hopes to prevent greenwashing and drive significant environmental benefits as well as investment for farmers.
This is a step away from the current, unregulated and inconsistent situation in which businesses are using a range of contractual mechanisms and a variety of techniques for measuring and estimating change over time.
Market inconsistency has been a barrier to investment, so it is hoped that new rigorous standards will unlock both demand and investment into soil carbon projects that demonstrate high levels of integrity.