Securing a Successful Green Future for NSA Scotsheep Host Farm

3rd May 2022

Collaborative venture to conduct a carbon audit and make recommendations to maximise both carbon and cost savings on NSA Scotsheep’s host farm

Many farmers have already taken steps to evaluate their carbon output and put measures in place to reduce this, however others are still unsure about what they can do to change. To  support Scottish sheep famers in making the necessary changes, the NSA Scotsheep mainline sponsor Virgin Money, have collaboratively initiated a total carbon audit of the event’s host farm.

To be conducted by industry experts, Carbon Metrics, the outcomes of this carbon audit will be presented on 1st June in a dedicated seminar “Carbon - Understanding the Journey to Net Zero - The journey for farmers to a Net Zero future and turning the challenge to opportunity”.

As the main speakers Simon Haley and Helen Dent, Directors of Carbon Metrics, will discuss the results of their carbon audit of the host farm, Over Finlarg, by Dundee, as well as deliberating the farm’s route towards Net Zero. During the seminar, host farmer, Robert McNee, will give his view on how helpful this carbon audit is to his overall business planning, and how it will allow him to optimise the opportunities presented.

Virgin Money’s most recent survey completed by 300 of their agri-customers revealed that in the last six months, over 46% of Scottish businesses had completed a carbon audit to help them plan for the future and 25% of Scottish farmers had been asked by their own customers to provide evidence of their actions to reduce carbon emissions. 

Giving further background, Brian Richardson, UK Head of Agriculture for Virgin Money, who will be chairing the seminar, said: “Carbon and the journey to Net Zero is a hot topic in the agri-industry, and this seminar aims to offer clarity for farmers and outline how they can turn any challenges into opportunities.

“As part of the event we will talk through the results of the carbon audit, so those attending can better understand what is involved and perhaps more importantly than the raw numbers, what can be done to mitigate and reduce carbon on the farm.  This will hopefully give some understanding of the type of changes farmers can make on their own farms, something that is going to be vital for their ongoing progression.”

The process for a proper carbon audit is not simply an online box ticking exercise. The practice always includes a face-to-face farm visit to understand the history of the enterprise, as well as data gathering of costings, fertiliser records, and nutrient management plans. This provides the numbers for further discussion on how carbon can be reduced as part of the farm’s future management plan.

Simon Haley, Director and Founder of Carbon Metrics, explains in more detail: “As an industry, agriculture has to become more carbon neutral, and embarking on this journey now can be hugely beneficial to both your farm and to the environment.  Our auditing process is extremely thorough and looks at all the avenues of your business. We look at what is important to you, what you want from your business, and put a tailored, individual plan together.

“Discussing the results of the carbon audit carried out on behalf of the McNees at Over Finlarg Farm, will hopefully inspire others at NSA Scotsheep to look at their own businesses, and consider how it could help them future-proof their own enterprises.”

With Agriculture being one of Virgin Money’s biggest sectors, these carbon audits help support the bank’s strategy to at least halve the carbon emissions across everything the bank finances by 2030.

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About Virgin Money

Virgin Money is a full-service digital bank, serving 6.5m customers across the UK. It offers market-leading products and services to meet the full range of customers’ retail and business banking needs. Virgin Money aims to provide a consistently world-class experience for customers through its leading technology platform, telephone banking and a national network of innovative stores and business banking centres. By making banking better, Virgin Money seeks to deliver on its purpose of ‘Making you happier about money’. 

Brian Richardson UK Head of Agriculture for Virgin Money
Brian Richardson UK Head of Agriculture for Virgin Money