Regenerating Supply at the Growing Edge of the Natural Products Industry
Regenerative Agriculture was, without a doubt, the star of the show at the 2018 Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California with a host of events exploring regeneration in business and supply and many brands making claims for, and commitments to, the integration of Regenerative Agriculture in their supply systems.
This article seeks to explore the rise of regenerative agriculture within the Natural Products Industry as the latest innovation within the sector and to unveil the potential that it holds for transformative change. We review the history of regenerative agriculture, its potential and the main claims and commitments made to ‘’regenerative’’ at Expo West 2018.
We are very encouraged by the leadership being assumed within the natural products sector and are committed to doing our part to bolster support for the nascent community-of-practice comprised of brands, farmers, agencies, not-for-profits, service providers and other businesses who are taking bold steps towards aligning their businesses with the imperatives of the biosphere.
A note to the reader: while we the authors of this article have our own perspective of what ‘’regenerative’’ and ‘’regeneration’’ means in the context of agriculture (such is our business after all!) we hope that we have remained unbiased in presenting this review and that it can be considered as an offering to evolve our collective understanding of the opportunities that are emerging at the intersection of supply and agriculture and to stimulate constructive and co-creative discourse.
The History of Regenerative Agriculture
The term Regenerative Agriculture was first introduced to the world by Medard Gabel (1979), further developed by Robert Rodale (1983) and Charles Francis et. al. (1985) but only recently came into common parlance over the last decade with a resurgence of interest within the ecological agriculture community and later within the natural products arena.
Regenerative Agriculture draws from millennia of traditional agricultural practices from around the world as well as over a century of applied research and development within the fields of organic farming, agroecology, agroforestry, permaculture, biodynamic agriculture, natural farming, keyline design, restoration ecology & holistic management. Regenerative Agriculture can be considered to be a system of farming principles, patterns, processes and practices that actively enriches soils, biodiversity, ecosystems and watersheds while effectively producing a variety of ecosystem functions and agricultural yields. At the community level, Regenerative Agriculture can increase farmer and rancher livelihood resilience and the well-being of communities and economies.
Regenerative Agriculture is proving to be one of the key ways by which we can reverse global climate change as well as affect positive change within the realms of land system change, biochemical flows, ocean acidification, the hydrological cycle and the revitalization of biodiversity.
The Potential of Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture emerges as a response to the great challenges of our time, notably the multiplicitous effects of global climate change and increasing social inequality.
Of the 100 most substantive solutions outlined by Project Drawdown in their groundbreaking 2017 book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, 16 of the Top 30 solutions fall within the realms of food production and land-use change (see here for more information). Much of the work in Drawdown relating to agriculture and land-use comes from the work of Eric Toensmeier whose outstanding book The Carbon Farming Solution, compiled agricultural systems and practices from around the world and allowed the true potential of regenerative practices to be revealed and quantified.
Climate change presents us with an imperative to reduce the total atmospheric CO2 concentration from the current 409.80 parts per million CO2 to 280 ppm (the pre-industrial level of 1750 AD), so as to avoid the worst of the deleterious effects of global warming and re-stabilize the global climate. The necessary reduction of 129.80 ppm accounts for 275.18 Gigatonnes of stable carbon (1 ppm CO2 = 2.12 GT carbon).
Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture and storing the excess atmospheric CO2 in soils and biomass presents us with our best opportunity for carbon sequestration and working with the 500 million smallholder farmers who provide 80% of the world’s food is a way to do it in a way that feeds people and planet.
“A mere two percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.” (Dr. Rattan Lal)
The World Resources Institute’s, Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities estimates that worldwide there are approximately 2.2 billion hectares (5.4 billion acres) of degraded low-carbon landscapes suitable for regenerative agriculture and ecosystem regeneration, primarily in the tropical and temperate climate zones. This is an area larger than the continent of South America!
Let’s consider the 2 billion hectares of ‘’accessible’’ degraded lands (4.9 billion acres) as our target. In order to achieve the necessary reduction of 122 ppm CO2 (258.64 GT carbon) it would require the transitioning of these degraded low-carbon lands into high-carbon forests and regenerative agriculture systems (perennialized landscapes with integrated livestock). Assuming a conservative average sequestration of 5T/ha/yr of carbon (see here for more) it would take just 30 years to return our global climate to below pre-industrial levels.
Simplified sequestration formula:
5T C/ha x 2 billion ha x 30 yrs = 300 GT carbon
300 GT carbon /2.12 = 141.5 ppm (1 ppm CO2 = 2.12 GT carbon)
409.8 ppm — 141.5 ppm = 268.3 ppm
This simplified calculation is a heuristic to illustrate the point that regenerative agriculture has a major role to play in our strategy of reversing climate change as well as provisioning a multitude of ecosystem functions and benefits, producing hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting the wellbeing of millions of people. Moreover, when we consider that agricultural land currently accounts for approximately 38.4% of the Earth’s total surface area (5.15 billion hectares / 12.72 billion acres) it becomes abundantly clear how pivotal a role regenerative agriculture will play in coming years.
It’s important to remember that the regenerative agriculture ‘’solution’’ is only one element of a unified strategy that necessarily involves the end of fossil fuel related greenhouse gas emissions and a complete transition to a renewable energy economy (again, see Drawdown for more details).
Regenerative Agriculture entering The Natural Products Industry
The Natural Products Industry has long been an incubator for agricultural innovation, beginning with it’s inception in Europe and later in North America through the work of early pioneers Demeter International, The Soil Association & the Rodale Press, in response to the advent of chemical agriculture in the post WWI era. The first organic certifications emerged in the 1970’s, Fairtrade certification in the 1980’s & non GMO in the 2000s.
An intense period of inquiry began between 2014–2017 exploring the definition and scope of Regenerative Agriculture, including:
- The Rodale Institute’s Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change (2014)
- Kiss The Ground’s The Soil Story (2015)
- Eric Toensmeier’s book The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security (2016)
- Patagonia Provisions — Unbroken Ground (2016)
- Terra Genesis International’s Levels of Regenerative Agriculture White Paper (2016)
- Organic India & New Hope 360’s The Rise of Regenerative Agriculture (2016)
- The Carbon Underground’s Regenerative Agriculture Definition (2017)
- Terra Genesis International’s Regenerative Agriculture Definition (2017)
- Kiss the Ground’s — How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World (2017)
- See here for a general overview of the Regenerative Agriculture movement.
In New Hope Network’s study from last year the data strongly suggests that there are also shifts occurring in consumer values such that they are considering the broader impacts of their purchasing; and, that this is giving rise to an unprecedented degree of ethical decision-making supportive of the transition to regenerative agriculture. This is especially true for millenials, of whom 62% were found to be willing to pay more to support responsible business practices, responsibly produced food, and brands that practice environmental responsibility. Furthermore, in another New Hope study it was found that 65% of natural products brands are interested in sourcing ingredients from regenerative agriculture systems and in a survey of farmers asked what would be required for them to make the transition to regenerative practices: 65% said proven profitability, 58% said improved yields, 53% said reduced costs, 41% said market demand and 41% said multi-year contracts would be necessary for them to seriously consider making the shift. The conclusion is that the responsibility falls largely on the brands to link consumer demand to farmer willingness to transition.
Regenerative Claims at The Natural Products Expo West
In 2012, a group of mission-driven natural products companies led by Numi Tea, Guayaki & Big Tree Farms, came together to form OSC² (One Step Closer to an Organic and Sustainable Community) with the mission:
‘’To address the toughest sustainability problems facing our industry and our planet by building new regenerative business models and agricultural systems’’.
With the support of the Sustainable Food Trade Association and New Hope Network from this initiative emerged the Climate Collaborative at Expo West 2017 — an industry-wide initiative of over 200 businesses from the natural products industry:
‘’working collaboratively to catalyze bold action, amplify the voice of business and promote sound policy to reverse climate change’’ .
It was at Expo West 2017 that Regenerative Agriculture really arrived in the natural products space and it is from the Climate Collaborative’s ranks that much of the innovation relating to Regenerative Agriculture has emerged.
Areas where strategic climate collaboration is already happening includes: leadership & business development; ingredient sourcing; packaging design; as well as information exchange between brand-led regenerative agriculture initiatives.
At Expo West 2018 several major Regenerative Agriculture initiatives were launched as well as a number of smaller claims made by individual businesses. Below we review the key features of each initiative, who has been leading the development process, and which companies have aligned and made claims and commitments to integrate regenerative agriculture into their supply systems.
Regenerative Agriculture Standards & Certifications
The Regenerative Organic Certification (Regenerative Organic Alliance)
The Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) is a “a cooperative effort among a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists, and brands, led by Rodale Institute, to establish a new, high-bar standard for regenerative organic agriculture”.
The certification is being launched and supported by the Regenerative Organic Alliance, comprised of representatives from the following organizations; Rodale Institute (Chair), NSF International Dr. Bronner’s, Patagonia, White Oak Pastures, Maple Hill Creamery, Demeter, Fair World Project, Textile Exchange, Grain Place, Compassion in World Farming and a rapidly growing group of brands seeking to adopt the standard.
The Framework for Regenerative Organic Certification is focused on three pillars:
- Soil and Land Management — Increases soil organic matter over time and sequesters carbon below and above ground, which could be a tool to mitigate climate change
- Animal Welfare — Improves animal welfare
- Farmer and Worker Fairness — Provides economic stability and fairness for farmers, ranchers, and workers
There are three certification tiers which incentivise participants to develop their production methods moving up the tiers with Bronze, Silver & Gold labels. Each of the tiers requires participants to create a plan and begin to incorporate regenerative agriculture practices. The standard has been designed to not allow members to remain stagnant at any given tier, with the right to make ROC claims being closely bound with aspirational and continued progression.
Of the ROC participants, two in particular have been doing much of the initial heavy lifting: Patagonia and Dr. Bronner’s. The fact that these brands have aligned with the certification lends a great deal of integrity to the initiative considering the supply system innovation they have already incorporated into their business practices, including Dr. Bronner’s support for smallholder farmers around the world and Patagonia’s Traceable Down Standard and their food & beverage division Patagonia Provisions founded in 2009 to focus on ‘’building a healthier, more sustainable food chain’’ (see here for CEO of Patagonia Rose Marcario’s stirring keynote at Expo West 2018 speaking to the importance of regenerative agriculture and industry-wide collaboration).
Regenerative Agriculture Standard (Regenerative Agriculture Initiative)
The Regenerative Agriculture Initiative has drawn a great deal of attention and support within the natural products industry for their standard, which is being co-developed by the Carbon Underground and Green America, in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever), DanoneWave, Annie’s (General Mills), and MegaFood.
The standard is rooted in the regenerative agriculture definition developed by the Carbon Underground & California State University, Chico in 2017 which was signed by over 150 companies, organizations and scientists, stating that: “Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density”
The new standard is described as: ‘’a global verification standard for food grown in a regenerative manner. The standard seeks to encourage farmers to restore the carbon cycle and build soil health, crop resilience, and nutrient density’’ and brings together a team including farmers, ranchers, scientists, certification experts and another 50 organizations who have come to consensus that the standard should include:
- Ability to rapidly achieve impact
- Outcomes-based metrics, that can be verified and enforced
- Value, viability and flexibility for farmers, with credit for outcomes already achieved
- Clarity and transparency for supply chains
- Compatibility with related standards, such as Regenerative Organic, Organic, and Non-GMO. (Companies or growers who have invested in complementary standards will have those achievements recognized within this program, but they are not mandatory.)
- Flexibility for improvements as new data become available
Regenerative Agriculture Scorecard (ORAAC /General Mills)
In 2016, General Mills formed the Organic & Regenerative Agriculture Advisory Council (ORAAC) bringing together ‘’sustainable agricultural leaders, farmers and industry stakeholders with the mission of advancing organic and regenerative agriculture practices… the council helps identify challenges and propose real-life solutions to achieve its larger sustainability goals, which range from reducing our carbon footprint to improving the health of key watersheds by 2025.’’
In February 2018 they released their Regenerative Agriculture Scorecard ‘’a user-friendly tool to verify implementation of on-farm management practices as they relate to regenerative agriculture principles. While a standardized definition of regenerative agriculture does not exist, at General Mills we define it as agriculture that protects and intentionally enhances natural resources and farm communities.’’
The scorecard has three stated primary goals:
- Verify the implementation of on-farm management practices and increase transparency within our supply chain
- Create a simple tool for farmers to understand baselines, identify strengths, and determine areas for improvement
- Make progress toward understanding how agricultural practices can lead to outcomes of interest.
Current General Mills projects include:
- A partnership with farmers to ‘’grow ingredients grown using regenerative farming practices’’ such as organic wheat for Annie’s® Limited Edition Organic Mac & Cheese and Bunny Grahams
- Supporting the conversion of 34,000 acres of conventional agriculture to organic in South Dakota and to “advance regenerative soil management practices’’ including no till, crop rotation, and cover cropping.
- Supporting Organic Valley farmers to develop Carbon Farm Plans and advance ‘’regenerative practices’’.
Biodynamic Farm Standard (Demeter)
Demeter’s Biodynamic Farm Standard is described as ‘’a comprehensive agronomic blueprint for achieving the goals of regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration.’’ and is rooted in the teachings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and his seminal “Agricultural Course” held in 1924 in response to a group of European Farmers who noticed a decline in seed fertility, crop vitality and animal health.
Steiner presented a perspective in which the farm was “self contained and self-sustaining, responsible for creating and maintaining its individual health and vitality”. In 1928 Demeter was formed and reflected Steiner’s farming principles in the Demeter Biodynamic Farm Standard.
The standard measures six ‘petals’ of influence:
- Soil Health
- Food Quality
- Food Security
- Climate Adaptation
- Climate Mitigation
Through these lenses many of the practices come into shape, including that a percentage of total farm area must be set-aside as habitat for biodiversity. Fertility, disease control and weed control must come from the farm itself, leading to integrated animal systems, compost and green manure, nutrient rich crops, careful crop rotation, botanical species diversity, predator habitat, crop nutrition, and attention to light penetration and airflow.
Biodynamics uses a series of ‘preparations’ that are required for certification and call on the use of herbs, mineral substances and animal manures, that are utilized in field sprays and compost inoculants applied in minute doses, much like homeopathic remedies, to revitalize the soil and stimulate root growth, enhance the development of microorganisms and humus formation, and aid in photosynthetic activity. Preparations are a core differentiator from other standards, and are sometimes critiqued for a perceived deviation from the scientific process. This is addressed through Demeter’s science page by examining the reductionist thinking behind cause and effect science and offering a more holistic approach to scientific investigation with a host of peer-reviewed articles as supporting evidence.
Individual Regenerative Claims
In addition to the standards & certifications mentioned above there are a number of individual companies who are promoting regenerative agriculture including:
- Canaan whose Promise to the Planet includes commitments to ‘’work in balanced regenerative ways that sustain the soil’s capacity to produce.’’
- Cacoco who produce ‘’drinking chocolate hand-crafted from regenerative cacao’’.
- Cholaca who source their cacao from a regenerative farmer cooperative and are committed to regenerating the planet with cacao.
- Clif Bar & Company who are advocating that ‘’…food and farm policy needs to encourage the growth of organic and regenerative agriculture’’.
- Guayaki’s commitment to ‘’Regenerating Ecosystems, Building Vibrant Communities’’ in the Atlantic Rainforest of southern Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
- Imlak’esh Organics who ‘’en-vision the development of a globally regenerative food culture that supports community, biodiversity, cultural rights, and sustainable practices’’
- Natural Habitats’ commitment to ‘’introducing regenerative farming methods into our farms to increase the positive impact that growing oil palm can have on the environment’’ through their Palm Done Right campaign.
- Numi Organic Tea ‘’ From organic farms dedicated to regenerative agriculture to Fair Trade and Fair Labor certified farming communities, Numi works intimately with our supply chain to bring you premium teas and create a positive impact in the world’’
- Nutiva’s support for ‘’organic regenerative agriculture (that) can mitigate climate change through carbon farming’’ by donating 1% of their sales since 1999 to advance ‘’ecologically beneficial agriculture and healthy communities’’.
- Organic India who ‘’believes in the power of regeneration. Every year, our network of farmers and wildcrafters works thousands of acres of organic farmland in India to provide quality, organic crops and herbs, while simultaneously reversing environmental degradation in Indian farming communities’’.
- Oregon’s Wild Harvest who have committed that ‘’Mother Nature gives us everything we need to thrive. It’s our responsibility to take care of her and heal the planet. We do this through Biodynamic, or “regenerative” farming’’
- REBBL’s commitment to ‘’regenerative agricultural practices promoting long-term soil health, ecosystem resiliency, and carbon drawdown’’
- Sap! Maple Water who state that their business is ‘’built on the principles of regenerative agriculture. Without healthy trees and healthy forests, we would not be able to produce our drinks. We are committed to donating 1% of our revenue to organizations working in the regenerative agriculture space’’.
- Serenity Kids Baby Food whose purpose is ‘’to support small, regenerative family farms as we source the highest quality ingredients for our pouches’’.
- Teatulia’s promotion of regenerative natural farming practices based on the practices of Masanobu Fukuoka
- Teton Waters Ranch’s commitment to ‘’a process of discovery about regenerative agriculture and the promise it holds for the farmer, the consumer and the planet when embraced and adopted at scale’’ in partnership with Savory.
- The Philosopher’s Stoneground’s open-source regenerative business model “Nourishing the Roots” supporting the development of regenerative almond orchards.
- White Leaf Provisions’ promotion of Biodynamic and Regeneratively Farmed™ products
Ecological Outcome Verification Initiatives
Two additional initiatives were launched at Expo West 2018 looking at Regenerative Agriculture integration into the supply systems of the Natural Products Industry but from a very different angle than those initiatives already mentioned. These are the Savory Institute’s Land to Market™ program and Terra Genesis International’s blockchain based platform Regen Network. These applications have been designed to be supportive of standards and certifications, to allow for the verification of specific ecological outcomes resulting from agricultural practices applied on farms. This is an essential development, not least of all so that standards and certifications can prove that the practices they are applying are working as they had hoped and as a tool for learning, but also to provide transparency for consumers that are increasingly concerned that the products they are buying are aligned with their ethics and values.
Land to Market™ program (Savory Institute)
Savory Institute’s Land to Market™ program is described as ‘’The World’s First Verified Regenerative Sourcing Solution for meat, dairy, wool and leather’’. Current commitments to the Land to Market™ program include EPIC Provisions, UNION, Applegate & Zuke’s® Natural Pet Treats and Supplements.
Building upon Holistic Management’s (HM) comprehensive biological monitoring methodology, Savory has developed Ecological Outcome Verification™ (EOV™) for the follow key indicators:
- Soil Health — Healthy soils absorb more carbon, retain more water, are richer in microbiota, and produce more nutritious foods.
- Biodiversity — Plants are more varied and resilient, wild and domestic animals are more plentiful, and soils are higher in microbiological content.
- Ecosystem Function — Water, sunlight, decaying matter, and minerals are cycled through a regenerative process of birth, growth, death and decay, and back to birth again.
The scientific methodology behind Holistic Management is rooted in the concept that nature functions in wholes and has systemic complexity that cannot be conflated with a complicated machine metaphor. This leads the practitioner to the understanding that land is inseparable from the human systems of culture, beliefs and values that are tied to that land, and the economy that sources it’s value from that land. All are part of the indivisible whole.
Holistic Management, requires that actions are designed taking into account a holistic understanding of the whole under management. Current paradigms of management within agricultural (and many other) systems attempt to achieve objectives within the context of ‘need’, ‘desire’, ‘profit’, or ‘addressing a problem’, and when these simplified objectives meet the complexity inherent in living systems unplanned and undesirable consequences occur. Holistic Management achieves management objectives within a Holistic Context using a Holistic Decision-Making Framework to ensure actions are socially, environmentally, and economically sound.
These are considered the core tenants of their certified products. Through their global network of Savory Hubs they are equipping, training and monitoring thousands of farms and ranches around the world.
Regen Network (Terra Genesis International)
‘’The world’s first distributed ledger and token ecosystem that makes it possible for the existing movement of scientists, farmers, NGO’s, citizen researchers, open hardware groups, permaculturalists, agro-ecologists, governments, B-corps, cooperatives, and NGO’s to have a common operating system, database and token to coordinate activities to reverse the adverse effects of climate change through ecological regeneration, and realign the human economy with the health of our ecology.’’
Regen Network aims to bring together a consortium of certification agencies, brands, consumer groups and farmer associations to govern the common technological infrastructure that will make it possible to make verifiable claims and distribute payments and rewards for ecological regeneration.
Instead of being a competitor with certification and standard schemes, Regen Network will enable existing initiatives and organizations to leverage the potential of blockchain technology to improve transparency, precision and traceability, while unlocking a disintermediated payment for regenerative outcomes to reward farmers for doing the leg-work to turn an industry from a net carbon emitter to a net carbon sink.
In order to achieve this aim, Regen Network is developing a set of open-source protocols and processes to monitor changes in ecosystem state over time, verify the ecological outcomes of regenerative land use activities and reward land managers for desirable ecological outcomes.
This platform is rooted in TGI’s 10 years of working in the field of Regenerative Agriculture and supply and especially in the living systems frameworks stewarded by the Carol Sanford Institute and the Regenerative Business Community — of which TGI is a member.
Evolving the work of Regenerative Agriculture in Supply
Many opportunities are emerging to support regenerative agriculture in supply; certain considerations are useful when choosing how to engage:
- Standards, certifications, platforms, programs and applications in service to regenerative agriculture must continue to evolve along with the farming systems and communities they are certifying/verifying. The world is changing around us and so an iterative and adaptive approach should be embraced to promote healthy agroecosystems and communities. Alliances may form between mutually supportive initiatives to foster continued systems evolution through the co-development of regenerative farming practices.
- Certain agricultural systems and crops are revealing themselves to have disproportionately higher potential for achieving regenerative outcomes and beneficial systemic change (e.g. silvopasture grazing systems or multi-strata agroforestry). Brands have a great opportunity to develop precompetitive partnerships in order to potentialize and de-risk strategic interventions in their supply systems based around these agricultural systems and crops.
- Natural Products Industry brands have an opportunity to use their individual and collective influence at local, regional, national and international levels so as to affect change within the realms of strategy, policy and advocacy so as to bring Regenerative Agriculture to a wider audience and greater impact.
Next Steps for the Regenerative Natural Products Movement
It is very encouraging that so many brands and supporting businesses have taken up the regenerative banner and are demonstrating strong will and commitment to supporting this next crucial phase in the development of the industry.
Like any new term, ‘’regenerative’’ is being described by different actors in different ways; some have made the comparison to how ‘’sustainability’’ was treated in the 90’s and named the potential threat of ‘greenwashing’, i.e. branding and marketing that leverages public perception around green and natural products and environmentalism but lacking actual substantive commitment within actual business practices (see here for a great recent interview with Matthew Dillon Director of Agriculture for Clif Bar who touches on this theme). Over the next couple of years we will see a huge adoption of supply transparency applications (especially those using blockchain technology) which will play a disruptive role for ‘’business-as-usual’’. Increased consumer engagement and ethical buying trends suggest a shift occurring in the market; with supply transparency technology supporting a significant reduction in brand malfeasance while also supporting the storytelling of the ecological and social impacts of products.
Learning and exchange between brands and initiatives will be crucial to truly understand and support what regenerative actually means in different contexts, and to expand beyond the regenerative agriculture equals carbon farming narrative (carbon farming is a crucial aspect of regenerative agriculture but is also so much more — see here). For any initiative to be considered regenerative it must itself be regenerated as new data provides for better understanding.
Strategic partnerships will allow groups of businesses (such as the members of the Climate Collaborative) to work together to overcome shared challenges, reduce the risks of innovation and to evolve collective understanding and in so doing actualize greater systemic benefit. Collaboration may arise through mutual support between certifying initiatives with platforms verifying the specific ecological outcomes of agricultural practices promoted. Several strong commitments to outcome verification within aspirational practice-based standards have already been made.
The question being asked is: ‘’what steps can we take to align our businesses and societies with planetary health and how can we track our progress in this endeavor?’’. The responses to this question are, of course, as diverse as the ecological and cultural contexts being considered. Context specific protocols that can holistically track the ecological outcomes of agricultural practices will allow us to collectively discover what is working where and how we can use this data to grow an informational commons and a community-of-practice dedicated to the shared goal of regenerating humanity’s relationship with the biosphere.
Huge momentum is building and we anticipate considerable growth for regenerative agriculture by it’s adoption within the Natural Products Industry. The growing edge that is embracing regenerative agriculture is in a unique position to activate the potential of the whole industry to affect wide-scale beneficial change including an important role in reversing climate change.
Concrete next steps to consider:
- Join Climate Collaborative & make climate commitments relating to regenerative agriculture and beyond
- Attend regenerative community development events such as Regen18, The Regenerative Business Summit & The Regenerative Earth Summit
- Consider the role of drawdown heavy hitter perennial crops in your supply system and the integration of perennial crops into the agroecosystems of your supplier network
- Form working groups within companies with cross-department representation (purchasing, product development, sustainability, CSR etc) to work together to grow regenerative impact within your own supply system
- Form working groups of brands, farmers and service providers focused on collaborative integration of regenerative agriculture into specific supply systems and agroecosystems — to meet the growing demand for regenerative ingredients brands will have to support the growth of supply.
- Consider the impacts of particular ingredients and agroecosystems when formulating new products.
- Consider the implications of the standard/certification/platform(s) you are choosing for your business and how you can uplift these through your participation
Consumers are ready, farmers are willing, the world is waiting. Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come and it appears that regenerative agriculture has arrived and is here to stay.