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How a carbon audit can help your farming business stay competitive

19 March 2021

As part of its 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan, the Scottish Government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across Scotland by 75% by 2030. Reducing GHG emissions in the agricultural sector is a key factor in achieving this goal. A good starting point to help Scottish farming businesses remain competitive over the next 10 years and play their part in reducing GHG emissions is to undertake a carbon audit. Not only can a carbon audit help your farming business to be more environmentally sustainable, it can also help you identify where performance improvements can be made, helping you to compete better with similar enterprises.

So, what is a carbon audit and how does it all work?

A carbon audit can help you identify the quantity and source of GHG emissions – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and where you can make processes more carbon and cost efficient in your business. Having a low carbon footprint will enable you to position yourself favourably against your competitors and appeal to buyers who are actively looking to buy from low carbon suppliers.

Over the last year, the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) has helped 540 farmers and crofters access funding for carbon audits, enabling them to identify a range of opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, and make efficiency improvements and cost savings. Do you know how well your business compares to its nearest low carbon competitor? Don’t find yourself behind the curve. Act now to improve business efficiency and sustainability.

FAS can help you access up to £500 in grant funding to commission a qualified farm adviser to conduct an audit of your farming business. All you need to do is apply.

During your carbon audit, a dedicated farm adviser will collect emissions data based on the activities that are carried out on your farm. This will then be used to determine your resource use and GHG emissions for the whole farm or croft. Following a FAS carbon audit, Finzean Estate’s Andrew Farquharson said, ‘Not only would I recommend it [a carbon audit], I think it’s going to come to a stage of being compulsory.’ / ‘I think farmers, if they haven’t done so already, need to be following up with a carbon audit.’

Confirming his plans to implement most recommendations in his carbon audit, Andrew noted immediate plans to review the use of feed on the estate with a view to implementing efficiency improvements. In addition, he aims to enhance carbon sequestration on his land by planting small-scale farm woodland. Andrew commented, ‘It’s helping us focus on what our objectives and targets should be going forward.’

It is recommended that carbon audits are repeated annually to monitor performance and identify the impact of the changes made over the course of the year. FAS carbon audits are open to all farming and crofting businesses, provided they are registered in Scotland with the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS). Whether you’ve already had a carbon audit or if you are looking to change the efficiency across your farming business, FAS is here to help.

To apply for carbon audit funding of up to £500 or for more information, please visit http://www.fas.scot/carbon-audits. Alternatively, please call 0300 323 0161 (up to 30 minutes of free advice available) or email advice@fas.scot

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