Minette Batters, head of the National Farmers’ Union, has set out an ambition for UK farming to be climate neutral by 2040.
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic land-management practice that sequesters carbon in the soil while improving soil health, crop yields, water resilience, and nutrient density. In terms of animals and livestock, it often involves animal integration and managed grazing. In many ways, it isn’t too far removed from what many farmers are already doing in terms of land management, their respect for nature and how to work with it, but with an added focus on how to improve practices that are more carbon intensive or to increase bio-diversity on their farms.
These farming methods, which use fewer pesticides and store more carbon in soil, are becoming a popular topic, especially when farmers are being wrongly demonised in the media. There is much misinformation about farming practices, especially lumping all farms as the same, wherever they are in the world. The reality is that there is a big difference between the majority of UK farm practices and those adopting by intensive cattle ranches for example. The focus on benefits of Regenerative agriculture is key for our farmers to reflect the benefits, the power and reach of the agricultural sector and the massive part farmers can play to turn the tide against climate change.
The Prince of Wales, who unveiled Woolcool’s Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation, has long been a supporter of sustainable farming, and earlier this year launched Terra Carta
, a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards a low-carbon and environmentally sustainable future.
As a business founded on ‘green’ principles, whose key material is derived from the UK farming community, we fully support these moves to make agriculture more sustainable
, and to supporting the farmers to do so. Farmers are the lifeblood of the UK.
Wool is at the heart of our business, and our sustainable ethos. The 100% sheep’s wool we use in out insulated boxes for food delivery is a Smart Fibre created by millions of years of evolution.
It’s also a great example of a natural material that outperforms manmade equivalents such as polystyrene. Wool is recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, reusable and abundant. It is lighter and takes up less space than manmade insulators, and so has a smaller carbon footprint and so cuts supply chain transport costs.
The processes we use to manufacture our felted liners are not heavily mechanised, using a fraction of the energy required to form poly plastics. Our wool is loosely felted, in a very simple process.
We also know that many who share our environmental outlook also care about animals and their treatment – which is why we are transparent about our relationship with the farming community and our sourcing routes.
Firstly, while the wool we source comes from farms where sheep are bred for meat, the animals that provide our wool are actually kept for rearing lambs and are, generally speaking, not slaughtered.
The wool we use is also too coarse to be used in textiles. In fact, much of it would go to waste if we didn’t use it and would be burnt by farmers.
Our experience is that sheep farmers genuinely look after their animals and care deeply about their welfare. Farmers will tell you that, as naturally grazing animals, sheep cannot be battery farmed.
The low-grade wool we use in our insulated boxes
for food delivery is a by-product that would otherwise go to waste. By turning that wool into sustainable insulated packaging, we are creating a market for this material and the hope is to drive value for the farmers.
This can also help to support with extra income to help the farming community as it makes the switch to regenerative, sustainable agriculture.
As a certified B-Corp, we work to ensure that we balance the need to make profit as a business with the impact of what we do on the community, wider society and the planet.
Just like the UK’s farmers, we are constantly looking at how we can reduce our carbon footprint, find better uses
for materials and protect the environment
Since that ‘eureka’ moment, the farming community has been key to our success. Woolcool® is committed to supporting UK agriculture as we share its journey to a more sustainable future.