The Code will address all the ‘principles’ needed to ensure that the soil carbon market-place delivers for farmers, investors and the environment. This will reflect obligations for both the sequestered carbon, and the market-place in general.
Sequestered carbon must be scientifically measurable according to robust, high-integrity methodologies
Paid for activities must be over and above what would have occurred under business-as-usual conditions
Regenerative practices must be maintained to ensure that any sequestered carbon is retained in the soil over an agreed period of time
The approach used, and the changes in carbon stocks claimed must be verified by a trusted, third party organization
Rules need to be established to avoid double-counting - separate market players claiming the same carbon increase
A UK Soil Carbon market-place must not lead to CO2 or GHG increases elsewhere or have a negative impact upon food production
The market-place must be deliver carbon sequestration at sufficient scale to generate value for money and low overheads for farmers and investors
Projects should not reward historic or deliberate soil carbon loss or land managers who are not making adequate carbon reductions efforts elsewhere
The Code will be able to mesh with public sources of funding for climate mitigation on agricultural land or the new subsidy regimes, such as the 'Environmental Land Management Scheme' (ELMS), in England.
The Code will list practices with sufficient evidence base to support their implementation. As evidence accumulates, the Code will be updated to reflect our improved understanding of ‘what works’.
The Code will adhere to ICROAs code of practice where possible. Ownership for publishing, maintenance, development, governance and promotion of the Code will be clear and transparent.