LHV and eAgronom launched a carbon footprint offsetting pilot project

13.09.2021

LHV, a bank on the path towards climate neutrality, and eAgronom, an innovative Estonian start-up company, have started a partnership whereby LHV will use eAgronom’s newly developed solution to buy carbon credits from Estonian farmers who sequester carbon dioxide from the air into the soil and thereby improve the soil quality of their fields.LHV, a bank on the path towards climate neutrality, and eAgronom, an innovative Estonian start-up company, have started a partnership whereby LHV will use eAgronom’s newly developed solution to buy carbon credits from Estonian farmers who sequester carbon dioxide from the air into the soil and thereby improve the soil quality of their fields.

Many farmers today do not use soil improvement and carbon sequestration practices because they see the additional costs in the necessary additional work required, which will only pay off in the long run. eAgronom’s new carbon programme provides farmers with a support mechanism that makes soil improvement practices, such as intercropping or leaving straw in the field, immediately worthwhile.

On the other hand, through the eAgronom carbon programme, companies, similarly to LHV, can offset their carbon footprint by supporting not only greenhouse gas reduction but also the sustainability of food production. When the soil holds more carbon, the soil’s humus layer develops, making fields more fertile and plants grow better. This, in turn, provides an opportunity to reduce the use of mineral fertilisers. The increased humus layer also increases the soil’s moisture-holding capacity, which is beneficial in both wet and dry periods.

According to Robin Saluoks, CEO of eAgronom, 15% of the world’s greenhouse gases come from crop production, but this can be reduced through restorative agricultural practices. ‘Soil is the largest “carbon bank” other than the ocean, and sequestering carbon in the soil is essential to avoid a climate catastrophe and the economic damage it will cause. eAgronom’s carbon programme provides a support mechanism for farmers to improve the quality of their soils. By joining our programme, LHV and other companies can purchase carbon credits to make their operations climate neutral or even climate positive,’ said Saluoks.

According to the Head of ESG at LHV Ragne Maasel, LHV is determined to offset the carbon emissions associated with its office operations that cannot be avoided or reduced, and the eAgronom solution offers a good opportunity to engage in environmentally beneficial activities right here in Estonia. ‘By offsetting a part of the carbon footprint of our office operations through the eAgronom pilot project, we have a good overview of how our operations meet all the criteria for offsetting and we can support the sustainability of local agriculture at the same time. With our support, farmers can carry out activities that are good for the environment which would otherwise remain undone,’ said Maasel.

Carbon offsetting is increasingly used worldwide, as companies striving for climate neutrality cannot, even with great efforts, reduce their environmental impact to completely zero under today’s conditions. Offsetting actions, for which a number of quality criteria have been set internationally, are instead used to erase the footprint that cannot be avoided or reduced.

LHV has set a climate goal to measure and reduce its carbon footprint and to make its office operations climate neutral by 2022. The carbon footprint of LHV’s office operations was 1210 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019 and 865 tonnes in 2020. In the future, LHV also plans to start measuring and consciously reducing the carbon footprint of its business operations.

LHV Group is the largest domestic financial group and capital provider in Estonia. LHV Group’s key subsidiaries are LHV Pank, LHV Varahaldus, and LHV Kindlustus. LHV employs over 620 people. LHV’s banking services are used by 290,000 clients, the pension funds managed by LHV have 174,000 active clients, and LHV Kindlustus protects a total of 132,000 clients. LHV’s UK branch offers banking infrastructure to 160 international financial services companies, via which LHV’s payment services reach clients around the world.

eAgronom is an Estonian company that was born out of a farmer’s need to digitise the paperwork he was creating. This, in turn, created an opportunity to start making recommendations for more efficient and sustainable agriculture based on these data. In turn, the availability and transparency of data, combined with the implementation of sustainable practices, has created the opportunity for carbon credit verification. Today, the eAgronom platform is used to manage almost 1,000,000 hectares of cereal fields in Europe and beyond.

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