The existing waste and residue streams cannot alone satisfy the demand for alternatives to fossil raw materials. The question is how to increase the sustainable feedstock base beyond waste streams in our attempts to fight climate change? And the answer? Find new ways to utilise the land areas that are already in use – making them climate positive.
Regenerative land use binds carbon
Regenerative agriculture means improving the condition of the soil and increasing its ability to sequestrate carbon. Carbon farming and the restoration and utilisation of exhausted land are examples of regenerative land use.
UPM has actively participated in international projects to research the concepts of low land use change risk and the unreleased potential of regenerative land use. Additional feedstock production and increased yields together with healthy soils are in the core of the regenerative land use concept.
Towards climate positivity with regenerative land use and carbon farming
A climate-positive effect is achieved when more carbon is stored than released into the atmosphere throughout the whole life cycle of a solution. When aiming for climate positivity, in addition to carbon sequestration it is equally important to reduce and prevent emissions during the life cycle.
BIKE promotes low-ILUC risk biofuels production
Oona Koski, Manager of Sustainability and Market Development, represents UPM Biofuels in BIKE-project that aims for sustainable land use when producing raw materials for biofuels.
“The more I have learned about the concept of regenerative carbon farming the clearer I see the meaning and possibilities of it in mitigating climate change in the future. One of the most exciting and challenging projects we have been working on is an EU funded project called BIKE,” Koski says.
Carbon farming – a new sustainable alternative for raw material production
UPM has for several years been developing new concepts of sustainable land use and carbon farming in South America. Carbon farming is based on the cultivation of Brassica oilseed crops outside the main growing season. Brassica oilseed crops suit local crop rotation and replace unproductive cover crops during the winter season. Feedstock production is considered regenerative land use when it is produced on an already existing arable area and the production does not disturb or reduce other cultivation already taking place.
Adding brassica oilseed plants to the secondary farming season improves the quality and carbon sequestration capacity of the soil as well as prevents plant diseases. At the same time, valuable oil and proteins are produced as raw materials and, for example, animal feed. Winter farming also offers local farmers the opportunity to get an additional income sustainably.