From Farmers Markets to Carbon Markets: What is the future of zero carbon agriculture? | Net Impact

From Farmers Markets to Carbon Markets: What is the future of zero carbon agriculture?

If anyone has a vested interest in being part of the solution to climate change, it's farmers. Their lives and businesses depend on the weather, making them highly affected by drought, flooding, and extreme conditions, especially in developing nations. Sustainable agriculture, through techniques such as cover cropping and grazing management, may have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon in the soil. That's why the agriculture industry is reimagining climate-smart business models that reward farmers for capturing carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing biodiversity. 

There are many institutions, policymakers, and investors that are enthusiastic about the benefits of soil sequestration in particular. The National Academies of Sciences believes that it's a cost-effective and readily available climate solution, with the potential to remove 250 million metric tons or more of carbon dioxide per year in the United States alone. That's about 5 percent of the U.S.'s annual CO2 emissions, which totaled 5.4 billion tons in 2018. In addition, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) estimated that if implemented globally, soil conservation and soil-building activities could provide nearly 10% of the carbon reduction needed to avoid breaching the 2-degree barrier.

However, there remain many unanswered questions and challenges ahead before we can be confident in the long-term impact of carbon-sequestering practices. While corporations and policymakers are enthusiastic in their support of regenerative agricultural techniques, the science that is needed to underpin the benefits of carbon sequestration is not yet mature. In addition, measuring and rewarding carbon capture is both complicated and expensive and only accessible to farmers who have funding and resources to cover the cost of measurement. 

Join our next Reimagining Capitalism conversation, developed in partnership with Bayer, with Michelle Lancaster, Director Sustainability Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft and Cintia Ribeiro, Digital Business Insights Lead, Crop Science, Bayer. This conversation will be moderated by the co-founder and Managing Director of the agricultural-centric impact investing firm, Provenance Capital Group. We will examine the challenges, opportunities, and viability of carbon markets, and the innovation, collaboration, and reimagination it will take for these new models to succeed. 

Join us on November 12th, at 10:00am PST / 1:00pm EST

About our Speakers: 

Cintia Ribeiro, Digital Business Insights Lead, Crop Science, Bayer 

Innovation is the common theme of Cintia's career. Following her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, she joined Bayer Crop Sciences in 2014, as part of the Emerging Leaders in Science rotational program where she had the opportunity to lead projects across agricultural product research teams in different fields. After the program, she took a role in global IT supporting the digital transformation of commercial processes and currently works in the New Business Models (NBM) team. The NBM team was created to innovate Bayer's go-to-market strategy, interact with customers, and generate new value for Bayer's stakeholders. In all her roles, the main objective was to innovate: first products then processes, and now businesses. She values innovation as one of the most important tools to succeed and be sustainable in our rapidly changing environment. 

Currently, she is one of the leads of the Bayer Carbon Pilot Program, where Bayer is merging the commitments in sustainability with the core of business strategy with the goal of redefining the value of agriculture. This role is very aligned with her sustainability passion also expressed by being an executive member of the Bayer Net Impact professional chapter. Cintia is also a leader in the St. Louis and Bayer's Hispanic community and in 2019 was elected St. Louis Emerging Leader as part of the Adelante Awards. 

Michelle Lancaster, Director of Sustainability Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft

Michelle Lancaster is Director of Sustainability at Microsoft, where she leads the company's sustainability-focused work with external stakeholders, as well as sustainability-focused product strategy and customer engagement. For the past seven years prior, she led Microsoft's sustainability and corporate responsibility communications and prior to that, led public affairs campaigns for Fortune 500 companies in Washington, D.C. 

Logan Yonavjak, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Provenance Capital Group

Logan is a financial services professional, social entrepreneur, and author. She's incredibly passionate about building businesses and guiding capital in ways that replenish, restore, and sustain our social, environmental, and economic systems to advance a more holistic future for all. Prior to co-founding Provenance Capital Group, Logan worked as a consultant with a variety of clients, primarily focused on working land investments. She has also held positions with CREO Syndicate, the Yale Investments Office, and Align Impact. 

Logan's work in financial services has involved connecting high net worth individuals and other investors to regenerative investment opportunities. she has also developed new financial models and tools, particularly focused on land conservation and restoration, and has written extensively about how to invest for people, planet, and profit. Logan has advised a variety of impact-oriented startups, on both raising capital and reporting impact metrics. 

She is a Startingbloc Fellow, a Property and Environment Research (PERC) Fellow, and a Kinship Fellow. Since 2017, Logan has served on the Board of Slow Money NYC, a local network of Slow Money, a national non-profit catalyzing investment in sustainable food and farms. Logan holds a Masters of Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She also holds a B.A. with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Mark Heckman,  President, Main Street Ag and Heckman Properties

Farming in West Liberty, Iowa, Mark Heckman is an agricultural leader in several respects, Past-Director on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a Board Member and currently serving on Animal Ag and Environment Committee for Iowa Corn and Advisor for the US Grains Council. He and his partnership farms about 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans with a focus on soil health. He uses cover crops and reduces tillage where possible.  

The family farm also includes pork and cattle production. Mark uses technology that supports the sustainable use of hog manure while maintaining water quality standards and good relationships with his neighbors. 

He and his family hosted Cargill’s supply chain leadership team in 2019 to demonstrate how the farm implements sustainable soil health in row crop production and best in class animal welfare practice in the hog operation. He also has expertise in Strategic Risk Management, Commodity and Energy Procurement, Policy Development, and Raw Material Exposure Coverage.

Mark is also an award-winning member of the Soil Health Partnership and a member of the Global Farmer Network.