Farming

Your UK Business Climate Hub net zero plan for the agricultural sector.

Contents

  1. Understand your business emissions
  2. Get finance and support
  3. Actions you can take right now
  4. Longer term actions
  5. Indirect emissions
  6. Share your progress

Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions in farming

Direct carbon emissions produced by farming include:

  • chemical fertilisers – used on crops
  • methane – released by livestock manure
  • land use change – clearing natural habitats such as woodland
  • soil-based emissions – caused by regular tilling and soil compaction
  • energy use – for lighting and heating in farm buildings
  • transport – using vehicles and tractors which run on petrol or diesel
  • general waste – resulting from farming processes and product packaging

2) Calculate your emissions

There are a number of farm-specific tools to help measure emissions. These include:

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Get finance and support

1) Get help and advice from the following organisations:

You can also learn how to run your business in a more environmentally friendly way by hiring a sustainability consultant.

Actions you can take right now

1) Save energy in your buildings

Quick, low-cost actions include:

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
  • office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used

2) Do an energy walk-round

Walk around your farm to see if energy is being used efficiently.

Prepare a checklist. Look out for wasteful energy use and maintenance issues in the following areas:

Improve ventilation

Routine maintenance checks and cleaning will improve the efficiency of your ventilation system.

3) Change your energy tariff

Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels.

4) Switch to a smart meter

This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use. Find out more about smart meters.

5) Manage your farming waste

Recycle waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions.

6) Get training in energy efficiency

You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a sustainability training course.

Longer term actions

1) Reduce livestock emissions

If you have livestock on your farm, you can cut methane emissions by :

  • feeding cattle based on their nutrient needs
  • focusing on herd health and breeding practices to improve production efficiency
  • using manure storage covers, sealed tanks and additives to break down manure

Milk cooling

On a dairy farm, a Plate Heat Exchanger can reduce energy costs for cooling milk by up to 50%. Using water to pre-cool milk can reduce cooling costs by 30%.

Vacuum pumps

In a milking parlour, installing a variable speed drive on a vacuum pump can reduce pump running costs by 60%.

2) Reduce soil emissions in farming

To reduce soil-based emissions and improve soil quality, use cover crops. Avoid:

  • regular tilling
  • grazing and travelling on wet soil
  • compacting the soil with heavy machinery

3) Install renewables

If you are the legal owner of your property, you might consider installing renewable sources of energy.

For example:

By doing so, you could make significant long-term savings on energy bills.

Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes to the property.

4) Reduce transport emissions from farming

Over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. Visit our page to find out about how to reduce emissions from freight and logistics.

If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.

Visit our page on switching employee mode of transport for guidance.

Electric vehicles

If you use a work vehicle, you can reduce emissions by switching over to an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace.

Visit our page to find out more about installing chargepoints.

Transporting refrigerated goods

Learn how to reduce emissions when transporting refrigerated goods

5) Use sustainable product packaging

Replace plastic with recycled or compostable substitutes.

Types of sustainable packing include:

  • plant-based packaging
  • edible packaging – made from seaweed extract
  • compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives
  • plantable packaging – which is made from seeds and can be buried in soil

Find sustainable packaging companies

Indirect emissions

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

Find out more about how to source products and services from green suppliers.

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

3) Certify your supply chain action with PAS 2060

PAS 2060 is the internationally applicable specification to demonstrate carbon neutrality.

PAS 2060 certification can enhance your business’s performance and resilience and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The standard process for PAS 2060 certification includes these steps:

  1. Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) based on accurate measurement data.
  2. Reduction of emissions through a target-driven carbon management plan.
  3. Documentation and verification through qualifying explanatory statements and public disclosure.

Through independent British Standards Institution (BSI) verification for PAS 2060, your business can demonstrate that it has met these requirements.

Search on Google for organisations that provide PAS 2060 verification.

Share your progress

Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.

You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:

  • worked out a benchmark of emissions
  • started to take action

Find out more about how to track and share your progress.

Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census
Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census