Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank
FAQ

How can my farm become certified for carbon farming with the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank?

Apply by completing the Sustainable Futures Carbon Farm application form.

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How much land do I need to become a Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank farm?

You decide how much land you want to be certified for carbon farming. The minimum is 20 Hectares (50 acres)

You can register all of your farmland with Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank. however different soil types will sequestrate carbon at different rates, and different rotations will also impact the carbon sequestration potential of an area of land.

What happens after I have applied?

The Future Food Solutions Team contact you to organise soil sampling on the agreed tract of land to determine a baseline for soil carbon. The sequestration potential is calculated based on the soil type, cropping and management practices.

To ensure there is always enough carbon sequestrated to meet commitments, a 40% buffer of the predicted carbon sequestration potential is held in reserve as soil data until the five-year ‘truing up’ process is undertaken.

The data is sent off to the certification body, BCarbon at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, who convert that data into certified carbon credits available to sell.

You commit to a land management agreement with the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank which outlines the crops which will be grown on your carbon farming land and when you plan to implement cover crops or/and cash crops. We predict the carbon sequestration total which can be achieved over the next five years.

How much money can my farm make each year?

As with any commodity, the value of certified carbon credits fluctuates each year depending on supply and demand. Current predictions show that the price of carbon credits will increase as the United Kingdom gains momentum to reach the 2030 carbon reduction targets. At the beginning of each new farming year, the carbon credit price is negotiated by the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank and our customers. Initially, each carbon credit will form part of a Voluntary Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme and is expected to have a value in the region of £40-50 per credit.

How will the price of certified carbon credits be determined each year?

Future Food Solutions, the deliverer of the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank, manages the sale of the carbon credits. Future Food Solutions maintains a portfolio of carbon credit customers including supply chain partners, heavy carbon users and sales direct to consumers via our forthcoming website. Similar to a pea group equalisation programme or grain pool, Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank farms receive the average price achieved for each batch of carbon credits, minus a 15% + VAT management fee.

Are there specific farming systems I need to adopt to get carbon credits?

No, but certain farming practices sequestrate more carbon into the soil than others. To optimise the potential carbon credits within a rotation the use of cover crops wherever possible is very important as they will capture atmospheric carbon dioxide into the soil. The Sustainable Landscapes programme supports farmers in maximising the carbon sequestration potential by sharing knowledge.

What will it cost my farm to be a Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank farm?

We take a management fee of 15% + VAT which is deducted from the value of your carbon credits. The management fee covers data collection costs, ground truthing, remote sensing, assembling data into a certified carbon credit programme, facilitating the certification process and any other associated fees. Farms are required to fund the soil sampling required to satisfy the certification requirements; this is likely to be less than £2.00 per tonne of CO2 equivalent.

How long do I need to commit my land for?

In order to receive a payment for carbon credits, the farm will be required to commit the designated land area for 10 years. This is on a rolling contract basis to ensure that the carbon credit sold is reflected in the level of carbon sequestrated in the land.  The aim is to make sure that any carbon sequestered in one year is stored in the soil for the following ten years, in order for that sequestered carbon to make a genuine contribution to net-zero carbon policyies.

How does the buffer system work?

As the carbon credits are based on the predicted amount of carbon sequestrated, it is important to create a reserve in case the predicted carbon credits are not achieved.

After five years, a follow-up soil sample is taken from precisely the same location. The carbon levels are measured using the same soil analysis as the original sample. If the soil carbon after five year period is equal to the predicted level,  the buffer amount is paid back in full to the farm.

What happens if my farm sequestrates more carbon than predicted?

If the carbon level in the soil is higher than predicted, the buffer amount is paid back to your farm in full. Surplus carbon is credited to the farm’s carbon credit account and is made available for sale the following year.

What happens if my farm does not sequestrate as much carbon as predicted?

If the soil carbon is less than predicted the buffer payment will be reduced to reflect the underperformance. Soil carbon of less than 40% of the predicted levels will impact future carbon sales. Any Carbon deficit could be rolled over or offset against future Carbon sequestration activities. The Sustainable Landscapes programme is developing practical methods to enhance the sequestration of Carbon and provide support to farmers on the Carbon Credit Programme.

When my farm receives carbon credit certification, do the credits have to be sold through the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank?

Yes. The carbon credits are linked to the protocols and data collected by the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank and the certified carbon credits can only be traded and redeemed through the Sustainable Futures Carbon Bank.

I rent the land I farm, who owns the carbon credits?

The carbon credits are accredited to the land, however, the amount of carbon in the soil is dependent on the rotation and the farming methods employed. Therefore, the tenant and the landowner must agree between themselves on how much of the value each party receives. Your arrangement could impact your rental agreement and/or other future income streams.   

If I sign up to the Sustainable Farming Incentives or ELMS, will that affect my carbon credits?

As it currently stands, we do not believe so.  We will seek early clarification as the DEFRA scheme details become clearer. It is confidently predicted that the new schemes will pay for regenerative farming techniques and cover the costs of practices such as cover crops, helping to complement the carbon credit programme.

Who will manage the process of getting certified carbon credits and how much will that cost?

The process will be managed by Future Food Solutions who collects and holds all the data required by the certification body BCarbon.  The collected data is used to predict potential carbon sequestration over a five year period then presented to the accreditation board to receive certified carbon credits. Future Food Solutions remotely monitor the fields and help validate the process.

How do you determine how much carbon could be sequestrated?

The Future Food Solutions team look at soil types, soil analysis, proposed rotations, farming practices and any other information available to calculate the potential for carbon sequestration in the soil.

Who is accrediting the carbon credits?

The carbon credits are certified by BCarbon Inc which is a company established by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Houston, Texas in the USA. The Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy is a well-regarded, high profile institute with many global partners, working in partnership with Future Food Solutions and the Sustainable Landscapes Programme to certify carbon sequestrated in soil.

Does my farm need to be carbon neutral to gain carbon credits?

Not necessarily. However, this will impact the number of carbon credits that your farm will be accredited. It is likely that there will be some form of premium for zero-carbon food ingredients by food companies wanting to reduce the emissions of their supply chain. As a  Future Food Solutions Carbon Bank farm, you will be encouraged to review carbon emissions and the Future Food Solutions team are developing practical ways to support this.

Where does the data sit and who has access to it?

The data is owned by Future Food Solutions and is used to achieve accreditation from the certification body, BCarbon Inc. The data relating to each certified carbon credit needs to be retained for the full ten-year carbon storage period and will form part of the Carbon Credit Trading Register.

How does my farm leave the programme?

Once all the live carbon credits for which you have been paid have been retired. In most cases, it will be 10 years. Leaving the programme before this point is possible, however, it would mean that any outstanding credit payments would be foregone.

I have more questions, can I speak to someone at Future Food Solutions?

Yes, certainly. Visit our Contact page here for our contact details.