May 24, 2021

Rabobank board member suggests GHG emissions to be determined by nutrition during USSEC event


Rabobank's executive board member, Berry Marttin, recently joined US Soybean Export Council chief executive officer Jim Sutter in the Soy Suite, a series of live conversations with global experts on trends shaping the food and agriculture sector on May 18.


Soy Suite is organised by the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC).


During a wide-ranging conversation, Marttin and Sutter discussed nutrition and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, carbon farming, conscious consumption and labeling.


Marttin and Sutter first dove into the topic of how GHG emissions relate to nutrition. The former posited that emissions should be measured by nutrition rather than by calories or tonnage. If people go for the least expensive calorie, consumers would only be eating sugar, he said. While meat's emissions per tonne may seem like a lot, its emissions are not much when it is measured by nutrition.


Marttin believes farmers should be properly compensated for carbon sequestration. The cost of putting carbon into the soil on a farm is approximately US$15-20/tonne and the next best alternative costs around US$300/tonne.


US farmers help remove GHGs through the management and preservation of grasslands, wetlands, and forestland, which create and maintain carbon sinks that store carbon in the soil. By scaling up investments in climate-smart agriculture, the US agriculture industry can further reduce emissions over the next decade.


Marttin also emphasised a focus on food being "nature positive" by balancing environmental impact and yield growth. Sutter agreed that there's value in agriculture innovation and breeding, looking at both productivity and carbon sequestration.