Farmers in the peatland area who experience land subsidence and the associated CO2 emissions from their land, will be able to sell the emissions they have saved. They can use the money they earn from this to help finance necessary investments as well as to increase the sustainability of their business. This has recently been made possible by the expansion of the Currency for Peat (Valuta voor Veen) method, which was approved on 11 February by the National Carbon Market Foundation (Stichting Nationale Koolstofmarkt). The first projects will be starting soon in South Holland.
Peatlands cause about 2.8% of the CO2 emissions in the Netherlands each year due to subsidence. This can be reduced by preventing the peat from drying out too much, and farmers in the South Holland peatlands will now be able to do this using pump-driven water infiltration. This method uses a pumping system to maintain an agreed groundwater level, ensuring that it does not fall below this level during dry periods.
Farmers then receive financial compensation for their saved emissions through the sale of CO2 certificates to companies. Currency for Peat was developed by the Nature and Environment Federations. It is already being used in a project in Friesland, by means of raising the drainage ditch water level. The new expansion of the method with pump-driven water infiltration was developed by the Nature and Environment Federation of South Holland in cooperation with partners in the Green Circle Chees and Soil Subsidence, and supported by the province of South Holland. It will soon be applicable throughout the Netherlands.
Farmers in the South Holland peatland area have been working for some time with governments, researchers and companies to develop solutions for reducing soil subsidence and restoring biodiversity. Delegate Adri Bom-Lemstra (Agriculture and Horticulture): ‘This is another great step towards vital agriculture. Together we’re demonstrating that it’s possible to reduce emissions and create a sustainable future for farmers and the unique peatland area. It's incredibly important for us to promote these kinds of innovations and link them to new revenue models.’ As a bonus, the method provides the solution for several issues at once. Raymond Noordermeer, director of dairy factory De Graafstroom: ‘The method benefits society as a whole, for example by combating soil subsidence and contributing to enhanced biodiversity. Farmers are therefore working towards a sustainable future for themselves.’
New revenue model
Farmers will be able to sell their reduced CO2 emissions after approval of their individual project plan. Carin van Huët, Director Food & Agri Netherlands Rabobank: ‘This innovation contributes to creating a good balance between nature and the economy. Companies that want to offset their emissions can do so by purchasing a CO2 certificate. Farmers can then use the money to further increase the sustainability of their farms. Rabobank wants to purchase part of the CO2 certificates to stimulate the market in this.’
Now that the method has been approved, two pilot projects will start in the Alblasserwaard, with the goal of scaling up rapidly to around 100ha. Alex Ouwehand, director of the Nature and Environment Federation of South Holland, is proud of the result. ‘Thanks to the collaboration between farmers, governments, science, banking and nature organisations, we are experiencing greater success in having sustainable farming go hand in hand with the enhancement of nature. Following the two pilot projects to be carried out within the Green Circle Cheese and Soil Subsidence, we want to expand Currency for Peat quickly across all of the peatland areas in South Holland.’