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Carbon audit puts spotlight on business efficiency

By Seamus Murphy, Consultant, SAC Consulting

Carbon auditing is an increasingly important management tool for the farm business; for those that have carried out regular carbon audits over the past few years the benefits of doing so will be clear.

A carbon audit shows your business in a new light and can highlight areas where money and carbon can be saved that may not be obvious without it.  There are plenty of  these 'win-win' scenarios where changes can be made to increase profitability and reduce carbon emissions although they are just one of the reasons why a carbon audit is beneficial.

It is likely that in the future, carbon audits will be a requirement for farms, so carrying out one now and getting a good understanding of what's involved could put your farm ahead of the game.  It is also very likely that any new payment scheme will determine a payment level off the back of where your farm currently is in terms of numerous different metrics, meaning that farm businesses that have taken positive action in terms of carbon emission reductions could receive a higher payment.  This possibility makes carrying out a carbon footprint now and acting on it, a long-term investment in the business.

Another area where the carbon audit could be of great benefit in the future is when it comes to obtaining finance from banks.  Financial institutions are looking more closely at the types of companies that they support in terms of environmental credentials.  This is beginning to slowly makes tis way into agriculture and is a definite prospect for the future.  Carbon audits can help you tell the right story and reap the benefit of the work you have done.

Carbon footprint is not going to go away, and whilst one carbon audit is good, the real benefit is found in annual audits which can tell a longer story of your farm's journey.  The first step of any journey is to make a start.

This article from Farming for a Better Climate was first published in the Farming Scotland Magazine in November 2021.