Did you know that food production is responsible for more than 20% of global CO2 emissions?

The underestimated impact of agricutural production on climate change. Facts & figures show the importance of ecological farming.

It is high time for a more sustainable approach with ECOMETHOD

Facts & figures:

  • The food industry accounts for between 19% and 29% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Within the food industry, agriculture is responsible for 9% of these emissions.
  • Fertilisation accounts for 35% to 45% of CO2 emissions from agricultural production, depending on the type of crop. (*)

Emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are increasing. This will lead to far-reaching climate changes, which is one of the main challenges that you and I will have to face in the coming decades. That is why we urgently need to change our behaviour: how are we going to use our natural resources, how can we produce more sustainably and how can we organise our economic activities?

With Ecomethod, we offer you an innovative and lucrative solution to reduce fertilisation-related CO2 emissions. We have carried out a thorough study of this foliar nutrition method, which shows that CO2 reductions of up to 90% are possible, without compromising on harvest or quality. How? You can read all about it in this blog post. Let’s start by looking at the sustainability aspect in more detail.

What is sustainable development?

To put it in the words of the EU-Brundtland report: “Sustainable development means meeting the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Which three components determine the durability?

  • Economy: revenue generation capacity, efficiency and profitability of the production cycle
  • Environment: good management and conservation of natural resources
  • Society: the ability to guarantee a common good.

In the agro industry, sustainability translates into more efficient production processes.

  • less waste
  • more economical use of raw materials
  • better working conditions
  • Fewer pesticides
  • Fewer food miles

In order to live sustainably, we need to adapt our behaviour at various levels: our lifestyle, the use of natural resources, the way we produce and the economic activities,… We are gradually evolving from a linear to a circular economy.

What is sustainable agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture wants to produce good quality food and agricultural products. At the same time, sustainable agriculture is economically beneficial for the farmer, environmentally friendly, socially equitable and contributes to improving the quality of life of both the farmer and society as a whole

Agriculture faces a twofold challenge

On the one hand, the agricultural sector is responsible for 9% of total greenhouse gas emissions, a percentage that will only increase with the growth of the world’s population. Nevertheless, agriculture must continue to feed this growing world population.

On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself also has to deal with and adapt to the consequences of climate change. This means, among other things, that it must reduce emissions from agricultural production.

In addition, consumers are exerting more and more pressure on industry and governments. They demand that industry produces more sustainably and that governments introduce specific legal sustainability regulations.

Agricultural policy is responding to this trend: the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other legislation are forcing the sector to gradually produce with a lower environmental impact.

The CAP plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Incentives for sustainable management of soil and water resources
  • Measures for the use of more responsible and sustainable farming techniques
  • Stricter environmental legislation regarding the use of certain substances
  • A code of good agricultural practice (restrictions on fertiliser use and spreading conditions, manure storage methods, crop rotation, etc.);
  • Encouraging environmental labels

But what exactly is the benchmark?

To measure the impact of human activity on the environment, we use the “carbon footprint”.

The carbon footprint measures the contribution of human activities to the greenhouse effect, expressed in units of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2eq). These greenhouse gases are partly responsible for climate change.

The ecological footprint is an indicator that quickly, clearly and concisely shows the environmental effects and translates them into CO2 equivalents. By using this method, we can also measure the environmental impact of agricultural production. Let’s take the production of a tonne of potatoes as an example: the global ecological footprint of this production consists of the sum of the individual footprints that characterise field preparation, sowing and irrigation. But also the phyto treatments, the harvesting and the fertilisation each have an individual impact.

From traditional to ecological fertilization: Ecomethod

Well, the impact of fertilisation: this is where you can make a difference. You significantly reduce the carbon footprint of fertilising by choosing efficient and innovative techniques. Ecomethod, the foliar fertilisation method of BMS Micro-Nutrients, clearly shows great advantages here.

It is a fertilisation method that makes maximum use of foliar feed. Due to the high CEC of the leaf, the plant can absorb a large amount of nutrients. And because you bring nutrients directly to the leaf, you use fewer fertilisers – with reductions of up to 90% – and you maintain the quantity and quality of the harvest.

It is a method which, thanks to targeted foliar applications, reduces the need for soil fertilisers and thus reduces CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

The foliar fertilisers of BMS MN are very pure and extremely soluble. When used in a customised foliar nutrition programme, they promote photosynthesis and also help to reduce soil contaminants.

Ecomethod as a certified solution for sustainable production

To avoid greenwashing (**), we have been working intensively with a research and consulting firm, 2A Group. These experts in sustainable development have carried out a study that compares the ecological footprint of different fertilisation methods and the related CO2eq emissions. For this purpose, we have carried out trials on various crops: apple, hazelnut and wine growing.

What is the purpose of this study?

  • verify the environmental value of foliar fertilisation (Ecomethod) by using the CO2 footprint
  • calculate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • to demonstrate the benefits of foliar nutrition technology.
  • Communicating the results of Ecomethod in a credible way.

What’s the outcome?

This study proves that you can achieve a significant reduction of CO2 emissions with the foliar fertilisation programs of BMS Micro-Nutrients. Several tests show reductions of 25% with partial foliar applications, up to 98% in the case of total foliar nutrition.

Ecomethod improves environmental performance thanks to reduced use of fertilisers, a reduction in CO2 emissions and at the same time ensures a good and high-quality harvest. We will publish more details about the examples of CO2 reductions on our website.

The indicated CO2 savings were calculated on the basis of a comparative LCA study carried out by 2A GROUP and audited by the independent certification body Rina Services.

Carbon footprint as a guide for producers and consumers

A clear food label that mentions the reduction of CO2 emissions promotes the purchase of sustainable products. The choices that we make at the table have a major impact on climate change. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of this and want to make well-considered choices. This is the conclusion of a study carried out in 2018 on Nature Climate Change. With eco-labels, we must help them to make that choice.

The food manufacturer distinguishes itself by mentioning its carbon footprint and thus clearly indicates the efforts it has made to contribute to a better environment.

Legislation is moving in this direction: anyone who anticipates instead of waiting and then having to adapt is ahead of the competition

When do you start with Ecomethod?

Sustainable production should not be an empty, green slogan, but a well-founded action that is measured and controlled. Soon, your sustainability efforts will become a prerequisite for staying on the market and growing as a producer. In addition, future agricultural policy will grant premiums to producers who can demonstrate CO2 savings.

With our certified tool we calculate exactly which CO2 savings you can make in your crop by gradually switching to foliar nutrition, while maintaining a high-quality harvest. Contact us for a simulation of your savings free advice: marketing@chelal.com

(*) “Consumers underestimate the emissions associated with food but areaided by labels”, published in December 2018 on Nature Climate Change by Adrian Camilleri  from University of Technology Sydney and by Richard Larrick, Shajuti Hossain and Dalia PatinoEcheverri from Duke University.

 (**) Greenwashing is when a company or organisation tries to appear greener or more socially responsible than they actually are. They pretend to treat the environment with care, but this often turns out to be nothing more than ‘a lick of paint’.