Opinion and comment from Food and Drink leaders.
Duncan Farrington is a fourth generation farmer and founder of Farrington’s Mellow Yellow. He is passionate about the wonderful health and culinary benefits of rapeseed oil and after years of research, became the UK’s first seed-to-bottle producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil in 2005. As a LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) demonstration farmer, Duncan is committed to sustainable farming practises and hosts regular visits and talks to community groups. At the beginning of 2020 Farrington Oils became the world’s first food business to be certified both carbon and plastic neutral.
One business success
In 2020, we were incredibly proud when Farrington Oils become the world’s first food brand to be certified as both carbon & plastic neutral! We are signatories of the United Nations Climate Neutral Now Initiative pledge and have achieved the Carbon Neutral Gold Standard, now for the second year. In order to achieve plastic neutrality, we have partnered with rePurpose Global and now fund the removal of the same amount of plastic from the environment as we use in all of our packaging.
Two challenges the sector faces
- With global carbon emissions rising and our understanding about the devasting effects this could have increasing, this is a real challenge to not only the food and farming industry, but all industries. As a LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Marque farm, we follow sustainable farming techniques which not only reduce our emissions, but also increase our soil carbon content, meaning we are storing carbon in our soils rather than it being released to the atmosphere. I am working with an EU project, AgricaptureCO₂, to create a globally recognised system for calculating carbon stored in soil, which will be a huge step towards using sustainable agriculture to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale.
- Whilst awareness of carbon emissions and the role healthy soils can play in improving this is becoming better known, an area that is not yet widely appreciated is the nutritional quality of food grown. Generally, nutrition levels in all foods have been steadily dropping over the past few decades. However, through my soil analysis and LEAF farming practises, I have shown that sustainable agriculture can put more nutrients back into the soil, helping to reverse this trend and grow more nutritious crops for our food.
Three forecasts for the sector
- If we can achieve a globally recognised standard for soil carbon measurements, farmers will have a new source of revenue opened up in the form of carbon credits. AgricaptureCO₂ will hopefully lead the way to achieving this on an international scale as a trusted, verified, and certified standard.
- All farmers will move towards sustainable agricultural methods. It is sometimes called sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture or integrated farm management; call it what you like, but I think it is common sense farming. By improving the soil, we will be able to grow better quality crops, replacing man-made nitrogen with soil nutrition and biological sources such as rhizobia based products, use natural predators instead of insecticides, nurture pollinators, insects and birds and ultimately spend less money on growing more crops.
- Sustainability will become integral for all brands as consumers will demand this. Consumers are placing more and more importance on sustainable actions, such as less packaging, recyclable packaging, ethical production. Food brands that embrace these ideals will thrive, whereas brands that don’t make changes will not.