Scaleable Measurement and Verification

One of the trickiest issues for soil health is being able to identify and measure improvements robustly at a reasonable cost – this is the “measurement, reporting, verification” (“MRV”) challenge. We are combining leading soil experts with theestablishment of a landscape-scale facility for the development and testing of emerging measurement technologies andto benchmark existing and new MRV technologies.

Next Generation Soil Science

In some ways, soil science has not kept up with the growth of experimental data relating to soil which is now available,nor with analytical platforms such as artificial intelligence. We working with a global network of scientists and technologists to help build the next generation of soil science, concentrating particularly on the carbon cycle in soil, andits link to co-benefits including water and nutrient storage, and emissions reduction.

Connecting Farmers and Scientists

Just as there is no way best way to improve soil health sustainably, nor is there one best way to connect farmers andscientists. Here are some of the different ways we are exploring:

  • Transforming Agriculture in India - we are working with farmers in two of the southern Indian states - Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, kicking off with a major survey of farmer experience on soil and related practices. These learnings will be integrated into the approach of the National Pathway for India that emerged from the UN Food System Summit in 2021, which has generated considerable interest from farmers, Indian corporates, and NGOs alike.
  • European Carbon+ Farming Journey - this is an ambitious programme aiming to transform the European agriculture and food sector into a nature-positive system. Here we are a lead partner in a programme driven by the World Economic Forum and 15 corporates from diverse sectors, to co-create a very different food system that integrates farmer needs, science, and commercial objectives.
  • Rethinking Scottish Agriculture - here we are partnering with North Star Transition which has had impressive success in grass-roots co-creation of sustainability solutions in Wales. We are picking up those techniques and experiences and applying them in a similar bottom-up approach for Scotland, bringing together land-owners / users, farmers, producers Government, NGO’s and the science community to form a Scottish Transition Lab to co-create opportunities for systemic change.
  • Leveraging Technology in New Ways - one of the “blue sky” opportunities under consideration is to create a global network of those working on and with soil – as farmers, suppliers, scientists – and create a “creative commons” leveraging artificial intelligence with a view of replicating and simulating “laboratory conditions” on a global scale to speed up our learning. We are working with a major global technology company on this.

The Financial Challenge

While our collective stewardship of soil generates public and private "goods", aligning practices across the value chain to generate sustainable income is a huge challenge.  We are working with public sector funders as well as private finance institutions and philanthropic foundations to determine new ways to tackle this issue.