Regenerative agriculture can be a powerful tool for helping companies to reach climate and sustainability goals that can be promoted through responsible sourcing strategies.
Increasingly, consumers are demanding traceable, ethical products; and greater responsibility and transparency from the companies that make them. Additionally, we are seeing a high level of awareness and movement of the climate crisis to the top of the agenda for leading textile companies that recognize the need for climate impact mitigation. The resilience of agriculture inputs from suppliers is key to continued business success. To meet these challenges, companies and international coalitions are working to promote solutions through cooperative efforts.
Regenerative agriculture as a solution
One approach gaining traction as a solution to meet carbon goals, sourcing resiliency and consumer demands is regenerative agriculture. It provides an opportunity for companies to transform their products and supply chains from being carbon-emitters to being part of a solution that fights climate change while supporting farmers and building a more resilient agriculture system.
What is regenerative agriculture?
We are in the early days of an evolving movement with different definitions. Broadly speaking, regenerative agriculture incorporates practices that support healthy soil, people, animals and the environment, with an aim at improving — rather than simply sustaining — soil quality and farm health. Farming and ranching practices such as cover cropping, rotational grazing and conservation tillage can help replenish the land and boost the ability of farms and communities to weather the unpredictable effects of climate change. By building carbon stocks in soil, regenerative practices also help to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Regenerative agriculture is a powerful tool to reach climate and sustainability goals that can be promoted through a company’s responsible sourcing strategy.
Meeting sustainability goals
The imperative for industries that rely on agricultural inputs to secure future supply is not a trend — it is smart business practice. The imperative for industry to take action to help solve climate change is likewise not a trend — pressure for companies to demonstrate action on climate goals through their sourcing is increasing from both NGOs and investors.
Companies and brands can use regenerative sourcing to meet their climate targets and other corporate responsibility goals; including, for example, science-based targets — which provide companies with a roadmap for future-proofing growth by specifying how much (and how quickly) they need to reduce GHG emissions. Targets are considered “science-based” if they are in line with levels needed to keep global temperature increases well below 2 degrees Celsius (for more information, visit the Science Based Target initiative website). Carbon sequestration is a key benefit of implementing regenerative practices.
Opportunities for brands, customers and employees
Through encouraging or incentivizing suppliers to implement regenerative practices, brands can drive change throughout their supply networks and accelerate their sustainability strategy. Some opportunities for companies looking to get started include:
Benchmarking analysis of current brand practices
Setting a strategy to engage in regenerative sourcing
Prioritizing suppliers, ingredients and products
Choosing the right regenerative framework for measurement or certification
Identifying resources to position suppliers and farmers for success
Implementing their regenerative program and tracking progress
Putting commitment into action
NSF’s own commitment and leadership in the space is demonstrated through our work with the Regenerative Organic Alliance in helping develop and launch its certification program, Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC). In addition to serving as the scheme manager for the ROC program, which includes creating documentation, systems and processes to support a successful launch, NSF serves as the oversight body and is responsible for approving certification bodies.
Additionally, we serve as a Design Team Partner on development of the Soil Carbon Initiative — an outcome-based, verifiable standard designed to improve soil health and build soil carbon by encouraging the shift to regenerative agricultural practices.
We are working with companies to accelerate progress on regenerative ag practice by designing approaches, implementing programs and communicating impacts with credibility.
For more information, download this complimentary webinar — featuring expert panelists from Gaia Herbs, Rodale Institute and White Oak Pasture; discussing soil health basics & best practices, techniques to reduce cost/increase yield, field and crop rotation, nitrogen/phosphorous fixers, nutrient-dense crops, and farm productivity and fertility.
Contact us at [email protected] to learn more and activate your engagement with the regenerative movement.