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Behind the Scenes of Developing Project CarbonView

In November, Bushel participated in a virtual panel at the Sustainable Ag Summit on November 18, with representatives from The Andersons, Amazon Web Services, and Bayer. This panel gave a behind the scenes look at the collaboration and development behind Project CarbonView, available in the U.S. It covered how the approach to sustainability continues to evolve, that digital technology is a critical enabler to solving climate challenges and a look at future opportunities to help support sustainable efforts within the grain supply chain.

Mark Hobrock of The Andersons talked about the efforts they and the rest of the grain industry have gone through to leverage technology and adapt to the digital tools their growers are adopting. “How can we use that data and help our farmers become more sustainable and to find pathway to a better environment? We want to reduce our carbon footprint and track all the way from the farmgate to end use customers, and make the world a better place,” he said. 

Up until this point, what is happening at the farm gate and the impact of grain transporting through the supply chain has been anecdotal. But by collaborating with partners from farm all the way to the end customer, there are data points to remove the guessing game on carbon emissions impact. This will unlock opportunities for not just ethanol production but for food & feed production as well.

“What we have noticed is that grain facilities are looking to bring new revenue opportunities to their growers. One challenge in the industry is what should that look like?” - Allison Nepveux, Bushel Director of Sustainability

Through the collaboration, Bayer provides a lens into grower practices, Bushel helps verify delivery and transportation data at the merchandising facility and AWS creates a holistic view that provides customers such as The Andersons a way to benchmark and make data-driven decisions to drive down their Carbon Intensity (CI) score. Ethanol plants today are being required to reduce their CI score even more following regulations from California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standards. The CI score is the greenhouse gas emissions from all points of the value chain per unit of transportation energy delivered. Today, these Carbon Intensity scores use default coefficients for anything up to the delivery at the facility. This project proves that through quantification and traceability in the supply chain, lower emissions calculations can and should be applied.

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At Bushel, we believe that both voluntary and regulatory carbon programs can’t exist in a silo from the supply chain – the physical system that is growing and transporting grain for fuel, food and feed. Being in the middle of the supply chain and with the reach of nearly 50% of the grain origination in the U.S., we’re able to provide a way to permission data so growers and merchandisers can share their climate-smart practices and create better accessibility to carbon programs.

“Growers will leave money on the table if these things are separate from each other,” Nepveux said.  “This particular project is about knowing what’s happening on the field and how it’s flowing into the supply chain to help us understand transportation emissions. But as we move forward, we’re able to provide more insights to customers such as The Andersons. There is a level of this that’s about minimizing risk. The more we can understand what’s happening at the farmgate, the more we can understand what’s being exported to other countries [or downstream customers].”

“This started as creating a pathway to the LCFS marketing,” Hobrock said. “But as The Andersons think of these partnerships, it’s much larger. We started with fuel but as we look further, it’s about fuel, food and feed. It’s about collaboration and bringing in others that are involved to reduce our carbon footprint and make the industry more sustainable moving forward.”