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Growing a net-zero food system

An open-source framework for climate-smart agri-food products in Canada

We need urgent action to achieve a healthy, affordable and sustainable food supply in Canada. Growing a net-zero food system is an open-source framework designed to support the transition. With the support of the Canadian Alliances for Net-Zero Agriculture (CANZA) and contributions from participants across the full value chain—input providers, growers, producers, processors and retailers, as well as actors from academia, government and non-government organisations—we developed this framework with the aims to:

  • Enable the standardisation of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting for climate-smart agricultural practices
  • Provide considerations for climate-smart Products labelling and certifications
  • Explore pathways to drive the commercialisation of climate-smart agri-food products in Canada

Picture a future where our agriculture and food systems reach net-zero, nourishing both people and the planet.

Why is this important?

The agriculture industry contributes 8% of Canada’s total GHG emissions. Without a standardised approach to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), these emissions could increase by more than a quarter by 2050. We need meaningful climate action throughout the Canadian agriculture and food value chain to reduce emissions, enhance productivity and optimise food production.

A standardised MRV approach

Our open-source framework provides a standardised approach to enable value chain participants to credibly measure their emissions reductions, drive commercialisation and contribute meaningfully to Canada’s climate targets. It focuses on key commodities with the highest climate impact in Canada, notably beef, pork, poultry and dairy, as well as input commodities like barley, soya, maize, canola and wheat.

To supplement the open-source framework, we are also developing a stand-alone measurement methodology outlining technical GHG accounting practices for measuring emissions reductions and removals for key commodities. We encourage industry players, financial institutions and industry associations to leverage the pilot version to support climate impact measurement in existing products and certification schemes, to estimate the impact of climate-smart interventions such as incentives and financial products on emissions reductions and to measure the emissions impacts of their supply chains.

By adopting a standardised, credible MRV approach, more value chain players can drive progress toward their climate targets, benefiting Canadians with healthy food and a sustainable future.

A vision for a net-zero food system

Agriculture and food are fundamental to our well-being; transforming Canada’s agri-food systems can help to achieve food security and support the transition to net-zero. Governments and value chain participants need to take critical action to decarbonise and to better measure, report and verify the climate impacts of their improved agricultural practices. With this framework as the foundation, we can ensure a brighter future for agriculture and create a food system that supports a sustainable future for Canadians.

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