MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada - Friday., March 8, 2024 - With increasingly bold global climate initiatives and mounting pressure from customers, consumers and investors, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have set aggressive net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. Many of these goals have looming 2030 deadlines, but food companies face a daunting challenge in reducing Scope 3 emissions - the value chain emissions outside of a company's direct control that impact their GHG scorecard. The solution could be found in new precision soil sensing technologies that help farmers accurately measure and carefully manage one of the biggest agricultural contributors - nitrogen.

"Scope 3 emissions often constitute the largest portion of a company's GHG emissions footprint, especially within the CPG sector," said Samuel Fournier, co-founder and CEO of ChrysaLabs, a Montreal-based company that is a global leader in technologies offering the agriculture industry real-time soil testing and analysis. "Scope 3 emissions are notoriously difficult to quantify and manage yet are pivotal in the collective pursuit of sustainability. If CPGs fail to reduce nitrogen in their value chains, achieving net zero goals will be very difficult."

While estimates on the amount of GHG emissions from agriculture vary, nitrogen fertilizer - vital to growing healthy, abundant crops - is a significant contributor, said Fournier, who will be leading a discussion on the importance of nitrogen management in Scope 3 emissions March 20 at the World Agri-Tech Summit in San Francisco and at Summit events in Sao Paulo and London later this year.

"The Summit is an important platform to advance the dialogue on nitrogen management with prominent CPGs and others looking for real solutions to Scope 3 challenges," he said. "These conversations serve as a crucial first step."

Increasingly aggressive restrictions on nitrogen around the globe and a call from the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) for farmers to better manage nitrogen point to the urgency of addressing its impact.

According to a peer-reviewed and published 2021 study, nitrogen is responsible for 1 out of every 44 tons of GHG emissions in the atmosphere, more than commercial aviation. Nitrogen accounts for just over 21% of the annual direct emissions from agriculture, making it one of the "top climate polluting industrial chemicals," the report said. The majority of emissions occur after nitrogen is applied to the soil, but, according to the research, almost 40% of GHGs from synthetic nitrogen occur in production and transport.

"Nitrogen management is one of the most critical on-farm decisions to grow healthy, abundant crops and reduce GHG emissions in the supply chain to help companies achieve their net zero goals, but it's a balancing act," said Fournier. "The key is applying just enough to meet crop demand while minimizing impact on the environment."

You can't manage what you can't measure, said Fournier, and thanks to innovations in soil testing and analysis, "there's no need to apply blindly anymore."

"Specifically, advanced real-time soil sensing technology can help farmers pinpoint the exact nutrients the crop needs at crucial stages, but also open up a whole new business vertical for them in carbon quantification," said Fournier, whose company provides real-time soil measurement technology for carbon. "It's these kinds of soil technology advances that have the potential to make significant environmental impacts."

These smart farming techniques also benefit farmers' bottom line. Fournier said applying just the right amount of nitrogen can actually increase ROI. According to a study from the International Plant Nutrition Institute, reducing nitrogen by 54 pounds an acre reduced yield by only one bushel. The minimal yield reduction compared to cost savings through nitrogen reduction resulted in a bottom line increase of $27 per acre.

"If farmers can optimize nitrogen use, everyone up the food supply chain benefits," said Fournier. "But it's only possible through precise and accurate sensing of what's underground. Soil sensing technology helps CPGs achieve their net zero goals and allows growers to be good stewards of the environment and stay compliant with new and pending regulations."

Fournier calls on CPGs to make on-farm nitrogen management a priority strategy in reducing Scope 3 emissions.

"By leveraging soil sensing innovations, we believe there is a significant three-pronged opportunity," he said, "to enhance agricultural efficiency, reduce nitrates in our environment and give companies a powerful and effective approach to making their net zero pledges a reality."

About Us
Better soil intelligence for better decisions. ChrysaLabs is a fast-growing ag tech company at the intersection of agriculture and innovation. ChrysaLabs solutions include three onboard sensor technologies, cloud computing and AI to extract real-time data from its patented spectroscopy technology providing soil insights within seconds allowing field managers to make the right calls on the spot. But it isn't just about technology; it's about a vision for the future of farming. Founded on the belief that understanding our soil is the key to sustainable agriculture, we're committed to building the world's most influential soil intelligence database. Our team is a blend of sustainability-driven professionals, scientists, tech specialists and businesspeople who share a common goal: to give agriculture more value by making soil data actually accessible and actionable.

Since day one we have stood by our vision that by democratizing soil intelligence we can empower every agriculture stakeholder with the technology and data to shape sustainability and have meaningful impact. With every soil analysis - nutrients, carbon, nitrogen - we're not just measuring soil components; we're helping enhance land value by increasing efficiency and improving sustainability to advance our partners' success, be it about yields or Net Zero goals.

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