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Green Thumbs Up for a Carbon Neutral Future

  • Agreena is a purpose-led company based in Copenhagen that aims to combat climate change by turning agricultural land into carbon sinks. Through their platform, farmers can earn carbon credits by adopting regenerative practices that increase the carbon potential of their land. 
  • Agreena helps farmers overcome knowledge barriers and connects them to voluntary carbon markets, providing financial incentives for sustainable farming. The company's software platform assists farmers in planning, tracking, and validating their transitions to regenerative agriculture practices. 
  • By creating a revenue stream and mitigating short-term yield loss, Agreena enables farmers to sustain profitability while contributing to climate resilience. With their innovative approach, Agreena is paving the way for a cleaner, greener, and healthier planet.

Don’t you think the Earth deserves a spa day? 

Okay, hear me out. Once in a while, we all treat ourselves to a little something. It's like a reward to yourself after you’ve worked hard and you're tired. If we need something like this from time to time, I feel like it's high time the Earth deserves it too. After all, look at all the chaos we as humans cause on Earth. 

Headquartered in Copenhagen, Agreena is a green knight riding heroically through agricultural fields (I really just imagined someone from Bridgerton riding a horse), a purpose-led company helping the world build a scalable impact for farmers and the climate. It is a platform where farmers can earn carbon credits for turning their land into carbon sinks.

Carbon sinks are basically like giant vacuums which accumulate and store carbon-containing compounds which leads to reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These sinks help tackle climate change and help keep it stable. 

Soils are a massive carbon sink, second only to the ocean in their carbon absorption power. Globally agricultural land area is approximately five billion hectares, or 38 percent of the global land surface, leaving a huge opportunity to seize large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. The problem is that there hasn’t been much of a financial incentive for farmers to increase the carbon sink potential of their land — and farming is already a low profit margin industry, so then why would they do it? How would it help them?

Agreena, the Indiana Jones of the farming world has raised $22.5m from their Series A funding for a platform where farmers can earn carbon credits for turning their land into carbon sinks. Those credits can be sold in voluntary carbon markets. The credits give farmers an average of a 20% boost on the profitability per hectare of land.

Agriculture accounts for nearly a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and now, the industry has the opportunity to become a significant part of the solution. By adopting a set of regenerative practices, soil is being turned into natural carbon sinks. 

What are regenerative practices though? Here's where the spa day I was talking about comes in. Regenerative agricultural practices are like a spa treatment for the Earth. They rejuvenate the soil by giving it a refreshing face mask made of cover crops, crop rotation, and tillage to nourish and protect it. Agreena is essentially providing Earth with a 7-step skincare routine that comprises reforestation, restoration of peatlands, fortification of buffer zones, ecological aquaculture, etc.

The benefits expand beyond incentivizing farmers economically through carbon markets. There are a tonne of regenerative agriculture co-benefits that build climate resilience: improved water retention, biodiversity and reduced erosion, to name a few. The startup’s work is rooted in creating the climate impact necessary for future generations, while continuing to feed a growing population.

Simon Haldrup, co-founder of Agreena, says the company helps farmers overcome two barriers, “One is the knowledge barrier, because this is new to a lot of farmers. And second, we help to commercialise their adoption of regenerative practices by giving them access to the voluntary carbon markets.” The climate and fintech company offers one of the few financial reward schemes in the world to incentivize farmers on their sustainable carbon farming journey.

Agreena was founded in 2018 by co-founders, Simon Haldrup, a digitally minded business leader with experience in banking, Julie Koch Fahler, a tech specialist and Ida Boesen, an agricultural professional. They came together to transform how the farming industry connects and trades. While it started out by transforming the farming industry and helping farmers, it has now expanded and aims to create a climatic impact, necessary for the future generations. 

Farmers can increase the carbon potential of their land by tilling it less. This is when farmers plough the soil between crops. Tilling can reduce the land’s water and nitrate absorption qualities, meaning the soil’s quality depreciates, and also releases carbon into the air. It’s also about the type of fertiliser they use and the “cover crops” they plant between food crops. Cover crops are plants which feed the bacteria and fungi in the soil, increasing the soil’s carbon levels.

Farmers input data on their land into Agreena’s platform, creating a baseline understanding of the land’s quality. The farmer then plans for the next harvest, committing to certain actions that increase the land’s carbon sink potential.

At the end of the harvest, satellite imagery and a third party verifier are used for Agreena to assign a certain amount of credits to the farmer for the changes they’ve made to their land. “Farmers will earn approximately two credits, some more, some less, per hectare,” says Haldrup.

Agreena’s software platform helps farmers to plan, track and validate their transitions to regenerative agriculture practices that store soil carbon. It is primarily focused on helping farmers build a revenue stream and overcome technical barriers. They then sell their carbon credits to fund new machinery for regenerative agriculture, mitigate short-term yield loss, and sustain the profitability of their business so they can continue to produce food. This is how Agreena works. 

The company has raised a total of $77.6M in funding over three rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 30, 2023 from a series B round. Agreena is funded by 8 investors. The number of hectares enrolled grew 10X over the year of 2022 and farmer participation increased 4X. Working in close collaboration with partner farmers across 16 European markets and growing, Agreena and its soil carbon platform for farmers, AgreenaCarbon, are leading the market.

Agreena has really swooped in to combat climate change and we are embracing a future where carbon is no match for the Earth. Having a cleaner, greener and healthier planet is something we all can get behind. I’m ‘rooting’ for them, are you?

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