The 2014 Forum for Agriculture (FFA) conference in Brussels provided Fertilizers Europe, with help from Yara, with a chance to promote the latest version of the environmental 'Cool Farm Tool'.
Determining environmental impact
"The yearly FFA is the flagship event of the European Landowners Organization (ELO)," explains Koen Van Keer who works with the Yara Public Affairs team. “The ELO is committed to promoting a sustainable and prosperous countryside and to increasing awareness relating to environmental and agricultural challenges. Yara and ELO have been collaborating on public affairs since 2011. This year's conference had a strong focus on sustainable intensification in Europe, and also discussed status and perspectives of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)."
The Cool Farm Tool (CFT), a web-based calculator to help farmers determine their environmental impact, has been developed with contributions from more than 20 organizations around the globe, and Yara was a founding member of the Cool Farm Institute. Yara contributed all of the methodological and data inputs for the CFT's calculation of the Carbon Footprint related to fertilizer manufacturing and use. The CFT is now a standard methodology adopted by many leading agri-food companies.
"Other leading sector supporters of the CFT included Unilever, PepsiCo, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Heineken, the Sustainable Food Lab, Fertilizers Europe and the University of Aberdeen. These partners created the Cool Farm Institute in 2013 to further develop and promote the CFT," says Jean Paul Beens, Head of Yara Public Affairs.
Cool Farm Tool crossing borders
The CFT has been named the highest ranking greenhouse gas accounting tool available in the public domain, according to a UK survey by the Universities of Bath and Aberdeen. "Its user-friendliness, and the incorporation of some best agricultural practices, make the CFT a practical and important tool for farmers to enhance and manage greenhouse gas emissions at farm level," Jean Paul adds.
“At the start of the tool's development Frank Brentrup and Katherina Plassman from Yara’s research facility Hanninghof in Germany provided crucial information on the GHG-emissions from mineral fertilizers according to the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) principle, as fertilizers constitute an important part of these emissions," Jean Paul continues.
"This information is continuously being further refined and detailed, now also in cooperation with Fertilizers Europe. Their involvement in the Cool Farm Institute gives the tool a pan-European reputation. But the ambitions do not stop at the EU-frontier, the CFT eventually will go beyond!" he adds.
"With governments now also interested in the CFT, even providing substantial funding, the ambitions of the Cool Farm Institute's founding partners are to enlarge the tool's functionality with new metrics such as water, biodiversity, soil etc.," Jean Paul concludes.