Agriculture is responsible for 24 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, and this is largely due to the intensive and “industrial” farming methods employed in recent decades, as well as the increase in meat consumption. However, a new approach has taken the farming world by storm. “Regenerative agriculture” practices return unproductive land to nature, stimulate wildlife, and store planet-killing CO2, literally using the soil as a carbon sink.
By creating forests and restoring peatlands, carbon can be captured while simultaneously halting the decline in natural diversity, essential for things like bee pollination. In addition, regenerative agriculture is contributing to the abandonment of old government subsidy regimes, which now focus on the environment, CO2 emissions and industrial agriculture.
Agreena is a Dutch startup that hits, verifies and sells carbon credits generated by farmers who switch to more regenerative forms of agriculture.
Launched only this summer, the company has now raised $ 4.7 million in seed funding led by Giant Ventures, as well as the Danish Government’s Danish Green Future Fund. A number of European farmers also participated.
Agreena says its platform provides farmers with an economic incentive to switch from traditional farming to regenerative farming methods by issuing them a “CO2e certificate” which can be sold between farmers and potential buyers.
So how does it work? Farmers register their fields and receive advice on transitioning to regenerative practices. The changes are then monitored by Agreena via satellite imagery and soil verification. Farmers can then sell the CO2e certificates independently or through the Agreena Marketplace to companies who wish to purchase carbon offsets from farmers. Buyers then track their sponsored CO2 reductions at the field level through Agreena’s platform.
Simon Haldrup, CEO of Agreena, said: “Our team is made up of 30 professionals, including carbon scientists, software developers and business growth hackers. Agriculture has deep roots in Denmark, a historically proud farming nation, which is why the company was born here, but we are growing across Europe and intend to expand globally. Agreena was founded by Haldrup, Julie Koch Fahler and Ida Boesen.
Agreena claims to have contracted over 50,000 hectares in its first year, pre-selling over 20% of their carbon offset certificates issued.
The startup has some competition in the space. Voluntary carbon market for agriculture, including Indigo (US unicorn), Nori (US and blockchain focused), and UK and France based Soil Capital. But Agreena says its main differentiator is its vertically integrated carbon platform.
Cameron McLain, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Giant Ventures, said: “We are excited about Agreena’s vertically integrated approach to agricultural carbon offsets, which is sensitive to the nuances of the industry and the incentives of farmers. We also believe that Agreena can become the dominant internet marketplace to facilitate B2B online commerce within agriculture, a nut that no one has solved yet. “