About Low Carbon

A climate-friendly public policy context

The Paris Agreements, signed five years ago, established a sustainable and ambitious international framework for cooperation on climate change to limit warming and achieve a global balance between greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

France's objective for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris agreements is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The agricultural sector currently contributes 17% of total emissions, in the form of direct or indirect emissions.

According to various concordant sources (ADEME, Climagri), 2/3 of the carbon footprint of food is linked to crop production.

Carbon footprint of food in France - Source: The energy and carbon footprint of food in France, ADEME, January 2019

GHG emissions and absorption in France in 2017 - Source: SITEPA, Stratégie Nationale du Bas Carbone

France has a roadmap: the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC) to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It concerns all sectors of activity and must be supported by all: citizens, local authorities and companies.

Its two ambitions are to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to reduce the carbon footprint of the French. 

Guidelines are then put in place to implement the transition to a low-carbon economy in all sectors, including agriculture.

For this purpose, there are now carbon budgets, emission ceilings that must not be exceeded in five-year periods until 2033.

What is the Low Carbon Label?

Low carbon label - MyEasyCarbon

Launched by the government in 2019, it allows projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in all sectors (forestry, agriculture, transport, building, waste, etc.) to be certified and valued economically. 

Adopted to meet the climate objectives
of the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC), the Low-Carbon Label is the first voluntary climate certification framework in France.

Agriculture can be involved in this label, in particular by increasing soil organic matter through various agronomic techniques (agroecology, conservation agriculture).

What is the Low
for Field Crops?

Low carbon label - MyEasyCarbon

The LBC "Field Crops" method describes all the levers for reducing GHG emissions that can be implemented by producers, as well as practices aimed at storing more carbon in the soil. The method aims to calculate the effect of practices on the carbon balance at the level of the production system, by identifying and analysing the different cropping systems, including the storage and drying buildings for their crops.

To reduce the sources of GHG emissions on farms, the levers that can be activated mainly concern the management of crop nitrogen nutrition (choice of fertiliser form, reduction of doses through more efficient inputs or the insertion of legumes, etc.) and fuel consumption (tillage, energy needed to pump irrigation water, etc.). To increase GHG sequestration by storing carbon in the soil (or to obtain a lower removal of carbon), the levers aim to increase the return of carbon to the soil: plant cover, crop residues, contribution of residual products, insertion of temporary grasslands, etc.

Leverages Label Arable Crops
Source: Agricultural Outlook

After having identified the levers implemented during the project, an estimate of the emission reductions (ER) will be made. These ERs are modulated according to the methodological choices (data sources, risk of non-permanence of carbon storage in soils, etc.) and added up, per hectare, over the entire duration of the project. Once the project has been certified by the authorities, the farms will have to record all the data relating to the practices involved on an annual basis, in order to re-evaluate the emission reductions at the end of the project. Funding arrangements may vary depending on the project. After five years, a verification audit will have to be carried out by an accredited body. This will lead to the recognition by the authorities of the carbon credits associated with the ERs.

Key stages in the life of the Arable Label
Source: Agricultural Outlook