Over one fifth of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions are contributed by agriculture and it is the third largest emitting sector, behind energy and transport. Emissions from agriculture have fallen by 27 percent since the baseline year of 1990, mainly due to a reduction in livestock numbers, a reduction in the use of fertilizer and a reduction in grassland being ploughed for arable production. All of these factors have been linked to market forces or increased costs rather than government intervention or proactive measures taken by industry.

The agricultural industry has an opportunity to initiate collective, collaborative responsibility for increasing environmental efficiency. This project aims to enable farmers to take ownership of actions to mitigate and reduce the climate change contribution of agriculture. A wide range of environmental issues are often set out as challenges to the farming industry. The CarbonPositive project aims to open up the discussion around climate change and the role that the agricultural industry in Scotland can play. This project provides the opportunity for a national baseload of carbon to be audited and banked offering the possibility of measuring progress against this accumulated carbon figure.

The Carbon Accumulator Tool can measure the aggregated carbon efficiency savings across different sectors in a farm business. It provides an insight into key activities and gives an up to date accumulated tonnes of CO2e figure that the agricultural industry in Scotland could ultimately use for promotion in markets, to benchmark themselves against and to evidence the positive contribution that farmers make in environmental terms. There is also scope and interest in paying farmers for ecosystem services in the future rather than providing a traditional Common Agricultural Payment which this project could enable and support.