The agriculture sector faces increasing environmental risks, such as drought, flooding and erosion, related to climate change and resource degradation. With the appropriate information, investors and decision-makers can direct their capital toward agricultural practices with better environmental performances and lower risks. But environmental impact data is currently difficult to access. The Environmental Impact Reporting in Agriculture (EIRA) aims to mobilize such information that can drive the transition to sustainable agriculture.
Steps to address this urgent need for information are outlined in a new report: “Environmental Impact Reporting in Agriculture: Creating a link between agricultural investments and environmental impact”. Information as such can facilitate sound investment decisions, risk management and robust impact reporting. The report builds on a 2018 feasibility assessment conducted by Clarmondial AG and Wageningen Environmental Research, with support from EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Booster.
The initiative convenes investors, companies, researchers, and others in the agriculture sector to design, build, and test a software tool that meets their needs for environmental impact information. The international consortium will work to connect demand and supply for environmental impact information in agriculture, including stimulating greater investment in primary research and monitoring.
Core elements of the EIRA tool will include a methodology for aggregating fragmented data sources and an interface for tool users to customize outputs to specific geographies and commodities. Output metrics will be used to compare the environmental impact of specific value chains and transactions, against baselines over time and across investment portfolios. Wageningen Environmental Research will play a role in data management and tool development. Wies Vullings, senior researcher, explains: “The EIRA initiative will bring together expertise from industry and the scientific community, ensuring that EIRA software is anchored in best available scientific evidence.”
Call for partners
An international consortium of motivated investors, companies, scientists, and technical partners is now being convened to initiate design of an EIRA prototype that can be applied in multiple regions. As the EIRA tool matures, it will provide environmental metrics to a wide array of companies and financial institutions operating in the agricultural sector. If you are a interested in joining EIRA, please contact Wies Vullings.