Simon Haldrup, Co-founder and CEO : Working To Enable Environmental and Financial Sustainability in Agriculture

Agreena is an AgTech company that works with farmers across the Pan-European ecosystem in their transition to regenerative agriculture practices. AgreenaCarbon’s product allows farmers to quantify their carbon emission reductions – and through best practices, remove carbon from the atmosphere. Their carbon program verifies and certifies farmers’ results, to generate carbon credits that can be sold on the voluntary market to organisations committed to offsetting emissions from their practices. AgreenaCarbon supports a new income stream to incentivise farmers in supporting the changes that are necessary to transform the agricultural industry.

AgreenaCarbon’s mission is really to help farmers by providing tools, services and incentives to undergo radical transitions towards sustainable practices.

Tell us about yourself?

We first started as a commodity trading place for farmers and have evolved to the carbon space. We have two other co-founders, Julie and Ida, who had a vision to transform how the farming industry connects and trades across borders. Ida’s know-how of the industry from being brought up on a swine farm in Denmark and since then specialising all her professional career within food and agriculture matched with Julie’s experience in IT and tech startups from around Europe set the stage for our company. My background is in banking and finance, and so the three of us together really compliment each other as a united front across the different aspects of our business.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Food production is responsible for one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions – and we must deeply transform the way in which agriculture is done in order to address the looming climate crisis. While we have globally been heavily focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, now it is time for us to actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere, carbon removals. While there are several ways to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, negative emissions from nature-based solutions – and in particular, regenerative agriculture, is the most cost-effective mitigation. So now, farmers have the opportunity to become the climate heroes of the future. And we are here to partner and support them on the journey. While margins in agriculture are extremely thin, our program is now supporting a new source of income for carbon farming.

What is your magic sauce?

(Laughs). Well, if I told you, then would it remain our magic sauce? No, in all seriousness – we were founded within the industry by agricultural visionaries, so our entire program was developed with the farmer at heart and in mind. While developing carbon credits through soil and agriculture is a relatively new space – we bring in expertise from within – and our entire team has the common goal to support farmers; to make this beneficial to the people that are making the adjustments and taking action. Some of the other startups in this space are “owning” the carbon credit that is generated, whereas we provide the ownership rights if you will, of the certificate with the farmer. They get to decide on its sale – so the power remains with them, not us.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

We are currently operating and working with farmers across the Pan-European marketplace, from the U.K. to Russia; we will continue to support this geographic area first, and then expand globally. There may be new product offerings on the horizon.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

Lacking education across the board. There are numerous co-benefits of switching to regenerative agriculture – it’s incredibly inspiring to see the results, and how happy farmers are as making these adjustments from industrial to natural. But transforming the way that families have operated their farms for decades is not something that comes easy. As more knowledge spreads, we are seeing more and more farmers eager to participate in our program. But the lack of knowledge stems across different sectors – such as markets. We are operating in the voluntary sector, and there is a lot of education that has to be done for others to also understand. It’s a complex business.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

Operating in Voluntary Carbon Markets, without regulation nor established consistency in methodological processes, or even an established framework of language that is easy to understand presents a challenge for the industry. The last few months, we have seen movement in this space – but we really need to be working together right now in order for this to happen.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

What we are doing is very exciting, and you can really feel that within the organization. We are a well-funded company and have built a diverse team; now comprised of 40 mission-driven professionals from 16 countries. We are seeing a lot of people jump on board as more information and resources become available in the public sphere, and with promising outlooks from political leaders on the horizon. We are looking for partners not only across the agricultural industry to move forward in solidarity with, but also corporations with ambitious targets to address the challenges we face – moving beyond carbon reduction offsets and toward carbon removal offsets. Working together to benefit all; this is what will bring us to neutrality.

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