USA – Global agricultural and commodities firms including Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, General Mills, Cargill, Indigo Agriculture have joined forces to create a sustainability consortium with a goal to enhance sustainable practices across the value chain.
Called the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), the platform works to further develop a market-based approach to promote land stewardship to build healthy soils, soil carbon sequestration and water conservation on the globe’s working lands.
Other members of the consortium include McDonald’s USA, Noble Research Institute, LLC, Soil Health Institute, The Nature Conservancy and Mars Inc.
Both the founding and joining members will collaborate on initiatives that targets to promote conservation management practices to improve soil health, reduce GHG emissions, and water quality and reduce water use.
Debbie Reed, president of DRD Associates LLC has been selected as the consortium’s executive director.
She has focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and ecosystem services from the agricultural sector since 1997, having worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and in the U.S. Senate as a senior staffer on natural resource and agricultural issues.
“There is no subject about which I am more passionate than working with farmers and ranchers to properly steward our natural environment,” Reed said.
“I’m thrilled to lead the consortium, because I am joined by numerous like-minded organizations and individuals from across the country.
We already have seen such a tremendous outpouring of support.”
ESMC will be housed and supported by the Soil Health Institute with a drive to development of advanced analytical tools and technologies, while enhancing farmer and rancher incomes.
The ESMC is conducting a pilot test of its integrated ecosystem credit protocol on 50,000 acres of rangeland and farmland in Texas and Oklahoma.
This is part of a land stewardship pilot that is focused on development of cause and effect assessment from production management practices, led by Noble Research Institute.
The program aims to include all major agricultural production systems and geographies in the United States by 2022.
“America’s farmers and ranchers are vital to addressing many of the conservation challenges facing the world today,” said Larry Clemens, director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program.
“We are excited to join other members of the Consortium to work toward a sustainable food system through improved soil health that benefits farmers, ranchers, communities and our natural resources.”
Jerry Lynch, vice-president and chief sustainability officer at General Mills said: “We’re proud to partner with the consortium and its members to support farmers and ranchers who are building healthy soil on their land.
“Both Lynch and General Mills have been involved in the effort since the early multi-stakeholder convening process in 2017 that led to the formation of the ESMC.”