(Photo: The program was presented at the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange headquarters)

Buenos Aires, November 26, 2019. Today, a private and non-mandatory framework to certify the carbon balance in food, beverages and bioenergy exports was presented at the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange headquarters. All the Grain Exchanges in the country, i. e., Chaco, Rosario, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Bahía Blanca, and Entre Ríos supported the initiative.

The program was baptized “Programa Argentino de Carbono Neutro” or “Zero Carbon Argentine Program” and its aim is to determine the greenhouse gas emissions in the production of food, beverages, and biofuels in the country, to implement good agricultural or manufacturing practices to reduce such emissions, and finally, to determine the balance of carbon in the production process.

This initiative tries to anticipate the increasing demand from food-importing countries as regards the carbon footprints of the products. Led by the European countries, around 69 countries all over the world are implementing regulations on the carbon balance in their imports. “This is an excellent initiative because India asked us to certify the carbon footprint in the soybean oil we export, and if we don’t do that, they will do so applying their own standards”, a source from the oilseed industry explained to eFarmNewsAr.

Eduardo Serantes, a senior agronomist and consultant involved in this project, told the audience that the Argentine agriculture carries out a carbon sequester mostly due to the massive use of no-till farming. He addressed the audience to emphasize this particular characteristic of domestic farming. He belongs to the GPS (Spanish acronym of South Countries Group), a private NGO that involves institutions from the Mercosur countries linked with the agribusiness sector.

They assume those requirements from the food companies and retail, basically from Western countries, which are eventually replicated by other nations like Japan, Southeast Asian countries, or even African countries, which will apply pressure on the food chain for companies to demonstrate that their carbon balance is neutral or even positive, a circumstance that could turn into the flourishing business of carbon bonds.

During the presentation, the speakers said that the US resigned to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. EFarmNewsAr wanted to know, why Argentina shouldn’t follow America’s steps and also leave this commitment that conditions farm production, increasing transaction costs all over the chain, due to certifications. They answered that these requirements come not from the countries but from the food companies, and not necessarily from the European Union, but the US too.

An official from the National Environment Secretariat told eFarmNewsAr that this program is on the right path. Although it is a private and non-mandatory scheme, it will be very useful to permit the access of the Argentine products to the world.