Two major agriculture firms have launched a new carbon reduction and certification programme.

Simpsons Malt and BASF Agricultural Solutions are collaborating on the project which aims to deliver carbon-neutral malting barley and distilling wheat.

Family-owned Simpsons Malt has the capacity to produce around 300,000 tonnes of malt annually and supply it to distillers and brewers across the globe.

The Scottish Farmer: Simpsons MaltSimpsons Malt

The agreement with BASF will support Simpsons Malt to achieve its commitment of carbon-neutral malting barley and distilling wheat production by 2030.

Simpsons Malt says it has made substantial investments in Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction across its sites and is uniquely placed within the malting industry to be able to engage directly with growers, crop input suppliers, and the wider agricultural sector to make significant and lasting reductions in Scope 3 emissions, which are predominantly generated from on-farm production.

The joint project will enable growers to implement novel interventions to reduce emissions helping to future-proof their businesses and lower their environmental impact.

Ben Gothorp, Sustainability Manager at Simpsons Malt, said: “The distilling sector has ambitious climate targets and, given the strength of their brands and the storytelling that underpins them, a more sustainable, decarbonised supply chain is important to achieve and for us to be a part of.”

He added that the benefits will be gained by the whole supply chain. Whether a distillery takes malt supplied by five farmers or 150 farmers, the combined total of greenhouse gas emissions and reduction, as well as the grain’s provenance, is fundamental to the integrity of the final product. “It’s all about helping farmers to build resilience in their business, more sustainable practices and to ensure that we can give full transparency to our customers.”

The Scottish Farmer: The collaboration aims to reduce carbon emissions.The collaboration aims to reduce carbon emissions.

BASF will record all on-farm crop management practices via its Carbon Farming Platform, to determine the impact different on-farm decisions would have on the carbon position of the final, harvested crop.

BASF will then validate Simpsons Malt’s work by monitoring and reporting that reduction of value chain or Scope 3 GHG emissions has been achieved, as part of the Gold Standard Value Change Programme.

Joel Johnson, Business Director for BASF Agricultural Solutions UK & Ireland, said: “The drinks industry, especially whisky, is of huge importance to the UK. This partnership will demonstrate how beginning with growers, all partners are in dealing with the challenges of producing food and drink sustainably.

“Our agreement is different to many agrifood carbon-reduction programmes because it combines BASF expertise and know-how as part of the Carbon Farming Platform to not only record on-farm practices but crucially to provide Simpsons Malt’s growers with practical guidance on how their choices – say method of cultivation or fertiliser programmes – can change the farm’s carbon footprint.”

The Carbon Farming Platform was developed by BASF to improve a fact-based understanding of the trade-offs within and across farming systems and processes. The aim of the platform is to make agricultural practices more sustainable.

Simpsons Malt and BASF will be working with groups of growers over the coming winter and spring to record how they can reduce Scope 3 emissions in distilling supply chains.