Ribena Takes a Step in Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Regenerative Farming

For the past few decades, greenhouse gas emissions have been a major environmental issue. The excess amount of these gases contributes greatly to climate change, which poses a significant threat to our planet.

The food industry is a major cause of carbon emissions, so numerous businesses are working towards implementing sustainable farming methods in order to decrease their carbon footprint.

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, the company behind Ribena, is teaming up with the University of East Anglia, Suntory Holdings Limited and Soil Ecology Laboratory to start a project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the cultivation of blackcurrants.

The project will take place on Gorgate Farm in Norfolk. The farm has been growing blackcurrants for Ribena since the 1950s, and the project will cover nearly 60 hectares of blackcurrant production. The goal is to enhance the crop’s ability to withstand adverse conditions, lower carbon emissions associated with blackcurrant farming, and enhance soil quality to promote plant growth and increase carbon sequestration potential.

The project aims to boost soil health, plant nutrition, and environmental protection while reducing the use of external inputs. The researchers are studying sap samples from blackcurrant plants to improve their nutrition. They hope to identify and address imbalances in macro and micro-nutrients, which can affect the plant’s resilience and make them more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Additionally, they will utilise novel and organic inputs, such as fertilisers and crop protection, to replace conventional inputs, which contribute to carbon emissions. The project aims to create various alleyway gardens that will feed the soil and increase carbon. Additionally, compost extracts will be used to enhance soil health and carbon sequestration by restoring soil microbiology.

Regenerative farming practices aim to decrease carbon emissions and enhance crop resilience and soil health. Adopting these farming practices can have multiple advantages, for example, it can lower the dependency on synthetic inputs that contribute to carbon emissions and enhance the quality of the produced food.

Suntory Holdings Limited invested in the pilot project that started in April 2023, with the project set to run for a minimum of three years. The developed principles and learnings aim to bring about significant progress in sustainable production, not only for blackcurrants but also for various other crops. This could serve as a model for supporting other growers as they embark on their journey towards regenerative agriculture.

The project will be using the Cool Farm Tool, which is a commonly used method to measure greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon storage on farms. The goal is to achieve precise and consistent carbon reporting and then share the project’s discoveries through peer-reviewed scientific papers.

To summarise, it’s great to see companies like Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I collaborating with top institutions and implementing eco-friendly farming methods to contribute to lowering carbon emissions.

It is becoming clear that regenerative farming practices can improve food quality and address rising environmental issues, therefore, it’s important for us, as consumers, to be aware of the way our food is grown, its impact on the environment, and the sustainable practices being implemented by companies to try and improve the world we all live in.

News Credits: Ribena owner launches ‘bold’ regenerative farming project at UK blackcurrant farm

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