PRACTICE AREA LEAD
It’s a time of real change in the world of agriculture. As the climate crisis takes centre stage, farmers are increasingly being asked about the environmental impact of their businesses, from GHG emissions to food waste, while at the same time navigating and adapting to increasing changes in growing conditions, the supply chain market, and the policy environment. These changes present both challenges and opportunities. Our resilient agriculture practice area helps clients – from farmer groups and producer organisations to food manufacturers and retailers – to navigate the increasingly complex world of sustainable food production. The practice area is led by Catherine McCosker, a former farmer with years of practical experience in primary production.
Regenerative agriculture is rapidly gaining coverage and popularity in the agri-food sector. Its emphasis on outcomes over tickbox practices and its inclusion of key environmental issues (e.g. soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services) as well as social issues makes it a desirable means through which to achieve sustainability goals within agri-food systems. 3Keel provides support in helping farmer groups, industry organisations, NGOs, and food sector organisations to identify opportunities and delivery strategies for implementing regenerative agriculture in supply chains. 3Keel also works with farmers and land managers to identify opportunities for taking advantage of the increasing demand, both private and public, for ecosystem services such as water quality, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. A portion of these projects dovetail with the work we do in our Landscape Innovation practice area.
Production efficiency and food loss and waste
Food waste throughout the supply chain is of increasing concern to the public and to industry. Reducing food waste in primary production is a key way to increase production efficiency, improve business’ bottom lines, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture – stopping food waste could reduce the food system’s GHG emissions by 11%. 3Keel advises and provides support to farmers, producer organisations, and food sector organisations in developing and delivering projects to measure and understand on-farm food waste levels and drivers, as well as how to use this information to identify production efficiency opportunities.
Climate mitigation and adaptation in agriculture
Natural climate solutions will be critical to delivering Net Zero goals made by industry and government. 3Keel works with clients in primary production to identify business and production climate risk, and corresponding opportunities for mitigation. Soil health has an important role to play in adaptation and carbon sequestration, and 3Keel helps to identify the right measures to improve it within the context of the farm business and supply chain. 3Keel also has extensive experience working with the Cool Farm Tool – and supporting the Cool Farm Alliance more broadly – for measuring on-farm GHG emissions, water footprints, and biodiversity.
The Resilient Agriculture team also supports 3Keel’s Climate change practice area in helping supply chain clients to understand the effect of climate change on primary production in their global sourcing regions, and what they can do about it. We have geospatial specialists, technical expertise on climate, and a deep understanding of production systems and the food supply chain which we use to assist manufacturing and retail clients in areas such as:
- Integrating climate risk data with supply chain maps
- Developing concise, risk-based indicators around climate vulnerability and exposure
- Climate models affecting production viability, identifying patterns of flood risk, water scarcity, and pest and disease risk
“Working with 3Keel on this project has been excellent. From design to execution, their approach has been robust but flexible enough to deal with change and challenge. Catherine has a rare talent for encouraging farmers to engage and collaborate, and that can make all the difference.”
Will McManus, Food Sector Specialist, WRAP
“Engaging farmers to deliver catchment solutions is an increasing favoured strategy in the water sector. Through a carefully constructed online survey and direct engagement with farmers, 3Keel gathered and summarised valuable data to inform how we will set up and run a successful Catchment Nutrient Balancing initiative. 3Keel’s expertise and personal touch makes them a perfect partner to work with, especially when dealing with such an important group of stakeholders.”
Chris Gerrard, Catchment and Biodiversity Manager, Anglian Water
“It’s been fantastic working with industry leading expertise to help us understand our carbon footprint and drive an action plan to reduce it. We’ve also worked closely with 3Keel to inform our brand messaging and how we communicate our low carbon strategy to our final consumer. 3Keel’s insight has been invaluable and I’m sure part of the foundations of a long term partnership.”
Huw Thomas, Managing Director, Puffin Produce
Want to know more about our resilient agriculture practice area?
Contact Catherine McCosker for more information. Or phone our office +44 (0)1865 236500 and speak to one of our colleagues.