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Rabobank Calls for Continued Efforts in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Despite Regulatory Leniency

World 03.07.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Rabobank has released new research urging the agricultural sector not to ease up on efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, despite a current leniency in government regulations. The report, titled "Maintaining our Emissions Edge," was introduced by Rabobank's CEO Todd Charteris during the Primary Industries Summit held in Wellington on Tuesday.
Rabobank Calls for Continued Efforts in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Despite Regulatory Leniency
Charteris highlighted the temporary regulatory reprieve provided by the coalition government, describing it as a prime opportunity for Kiwi food producers to adapt their business models for better environmental performance. However, he warned against complacency, citing increasing influence from major global food processors and marketers who are facing stringent regulatory demands to minimize emissions. According to a recent review cited by Charteris, over 80% of New Zealand's exports go to countries that are implementing or planning mandatory climate-related disclosures.

The research also points out that free trade agreements are progressively including enforceable obligations concerning emissions and environmental targets. Many in the rural sector have expressed concerns about the pace of these transitions, which they perceive as rushed and often imposed through unsympathetic government policies.

"The new coalition government has taken steps to provide a regulatory breather for under-pressure farmers, including removing agriculture from the Emissions Trading Scheme," said Charteris. He emphasized that this breather should be used wisely, not as an excuse to 'coast' but as a chance to recalibrate and enhance the sector's emissions efficiency.

The Rabobank paper, the third in a series aimed at assisting New Zealand’s 50,000 farmers and the broader agricultural sector, advocates for a reset to align with economic and market signals. It stresses the importance of establishing robust frameworks for measuring the impact of farming practices on land, water, and emissions.

Charteris called for clear incentives for farmers to enhance efficiency and for the establishment of a trusted approach to gathering farm-level data on greenhouse gas emissions. He also highlighted the necessity of creating an environment conducive to innovation, emphasizing the role of technology and innovation in meeting food demand while mitigating environmental impacts.

"Paired with 'carrots', or clear strong incentives to farmers, more meaningful change is likely to happen," Charteris added, noting the importance of balancing regulatory 'sticks' with incentives to encourage compliance and innovation.

The Rabobank CEO concluded by underlining the need for investment in technology and a regulatory framework that supports the approval and implementation of innovative solutions, crucial for driving future progress in sustainable agriculture.
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