Charles Sturt University, Media Release, 14 July 2023
Charles Sturt University is leading an important advancement in the Australian agriculture sector with an initiative that will enable a global on-farm emission calculator (Cool Farm Tool) to be customised for a region-specific focus.
Charles Sturt has led the Cool Soil Initiative since 2020, providing research, data infrastructure and administrative support for the program, including supporting the exhaustive review of the Cool Farm Tool, which provided the evidence to demonstrate the benefit of country-specific values.
Cool Soil announced on Friday 14 July that it will commence a long-term partnership with the Cool Farm Alliance, a non-profit that oversees the Cool Farm Tool. The partnership will allow the Alliance to customise the Cool Farm Tool to target Australia’s unique climate and soils.
The Cool Farm Tool is already used in 150 countries to estimate GHG emissions, soil carbon sequestration, water stewardship and biodiversity by tens of thousands of users, including farmers, crop advisors and agribusiness leaders.
This development will allow farmers to obtain accurate GHG emission and natural capital estimates of their farms while giving companies that buy wheat, canola, maize and other crops greater assurance of the impacts they are supporting through the Initiative.
Charles Sturt’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Michael Friend said Charles Sturt is proud to be a key driver behind this partnership, through the Cool Soil Initiative, which will be a game-changer for Australian food supply chains.
“This collaboration will not only immediately address the discrepancies in emission reporting for the grains industry,” Professor Friend said.
“It is set up to be an enduring partnership which will continue to provide Australian representation into future development of these global emission reporting tools.”
The Cool Soil Initiative and Cool Farm Alliance will work together in the coming months to incorporate country-specific emission factors, which will enhance the Cool Farm Tool’s regional applicability.
The extensions will improve alignment between the Cool Soil Initiative supply chain emission reporting with Australia’s National GHG Inventory methods, setting an important global precedent and call-to-action for greater regionalisation in climate assessments.
Cool Soil Initiative Project Lead Dr Cassandra Schefe said the partnership represents a significant moment for on-farm emission reporting in Australia.
“Farmers and companies tell us they want streamlined reporting that aligns with both domestic and global market needs, and that recognises the unique conditions under which Australian farmers grow food and fibre,” she said.
“As farmers and supply chain companies continue to work on understanding and reducing their emissions, it’s essential to have reputable, science-based tools that work throughout the supply chain and in all markets, and that’s what the plan launched today is all about.”