What does COP26 mean for AB Agri and the agricultural sector?

By Angela Booth, Responsibility Director, AB Agri

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Now the dust has settled on COP26, it has been possible to reflect on how it will impact both our business and the wider agricultural sector… 

Generally, the outcomes from COP26 were in line with our expectations here at AB Agri. There were significant pledges made which will undoubtedly push things in the right direction, tinged with some disappointment that some of the big players didn’t commit to all of the more significant proposals. 

It can be easy to think our industry is singled out in the press as a substantial contributor to climate change – especially when it comes to methane production. However, at COP26, agriculture was rightly placed in context and the focus was reasonably balanced. 

Taking actions

Thankfully the intended outcomes of COP26 are very much aligned with AB Agri’s responsibility strategy. For instance, we welcome the pledge to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 but are ahead of the game on this. We have already committed to ensuring that none of the soya and palm oil we buy is linked to deforestation by 2025 and we are well on the way to hitting that goal.

Over the next few years we can expect to see an increased focus on controlling greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural food production – a challenge that will require industry-wide action to address. As a first step on this ‘road to net zero’, we have developed and tested a raw materials database for calculating ‘environmental footprints’ for our feed, based on GFLI data. We aim to make product environmental footprints available for our UK customers in 2022 – with other markets to follow. This information will enable us to look at how we can formulate to reduce carbon impact for our customers. 

Next steps

However, we must not forget the ‘unfinished business’ after last month’s conference. There’s widespread agreement that the world needs to do more, sooner. Countries have been asked to review their existing plans and come back with something more ambitious in 2022. As an industry, we need to pay attention to that, and we need to act fast if we want to be on the front foot. The pressure to decarbonise our economies is likely to build from here.