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Growing a net-zero food system

An open-source framework for climate-smart agri-food products in Canada

We need urgent action to achieve a healthy, affordable, and sustainable food supply in Canada. Growing a net-zero food system is an open-source framework designed to support the transition. With the support of the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agriculture (CANZA) and contributions from participants across the full value chain—input providers, growers, producers, processors, and retailers, as well as actors from academia, government, and non-government organizations—we developed this framework with the aims to:

  • Enable the standardization of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting for climate-smart agricultural practices
  • Provide considerations for climate-smart product labelling and certifications
  • Explore pathways to drive the commercialization of climate-smart agri-food products in Canada

Picture a future where our agriculture and food systems reach net-zero, nourishing both people and the planet.

Why is this important?

The agriculture industry contributes 8% of Canada’s total GHG emissions. Without a standardized approach to measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV), these emissions could increase by more than a quarter by 2050. We need meaningful climate action throughout the Canadian agriculture and food value chain to reduce emissions, enhance productivity, and optimize food production.

A standardized MRV approach

Our open-source framework provides a standardized approach to enable value chain participants to credibly measure their emissions reductions, drive commercialization, and contribute meaningfully to Canada’s climate targets. It focuses on key commodities with the highest climate impact in Canada, notably beef, pork, poultry, and dairy, as well as input commodities like barley, soy, maize, canola, and wheat.

To supplement the open-source framework, we are also developing a standalone measurement methodology outlining technical GHG accounting practices for measuring emissions reductions and removals for key commodities. We encourage industry players, financial institutions, and industry associations to leverage the pilot version to support climate impact measurement in existing products and certification schemes, to estimate the impact of climate-smart interventions such as incentives and financial products on emissions reductions, and to measure the emissions impacts of their supply chains.

Climate-Smart Measurement Methodology
Understanding value chain emissions in the beef, poultry, dairy, and pork industries

Access the measurement methodology in pilot mode

By adopting a standardized, credible MRV approach, more value chain players can drive progress toward their climate targets, benefiting Canadians with healthy food and a sustainable future.

A vision for a net-zero food system

Agriculture and food are fundamental to our well-being; transforming Canada’s agri-food systems can help achieve food security and support the transition to net-zero. Governments and value chain participants need to take critical action to decarbonize and to better measure, report, and verify the climate impacts of their improved agricultural practices. With this framework as the foundation, we can ensure a brighter future for agriculture and create a food system that supports a sustainable future for Canadians.

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