Resource Innovation Institute and CEA Footprint Project Partners Issue Environmental Accounting and Reporting Guide

Resource Innovation Institute (RII),  a not-for-profit, public-private partnership advancing climate resilience, announced today the availability of its “Guide to Environmental Accounting and Reporting for Controlled Environment Agriculture Operations.”  Resulting from the work of the CEA Footprint Project over the past year, the how to guide proposes standardized environmental accounting and reporting systems and methodologies, and encourages their market adoption across CEA operations.

“Comparing resource outputs and inputs at a facility level and across agricultural segments is increasingly critical for CEA investors and operators, as well as governments and utilities,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director of Resource Innovation Institute. “Agreement on how resources are measured is particularly important, as is the establishment of boundaries determined within the measurement systems. The sooner data can be standardized, collected and analyzed, the quicker and better decision makers can guide efficiency and decarbonization strategies and incentives.”

“The indoor farming industry has the opportunity to drive consensus on data standardization at this early stage of the industry’s growth through collaborative, well-governed efforts like the CEA Footprint Project,” said Julie Kurnik, Senior Director of Innovation Start Ups at World Wildlife Fund. “RII’s Guide establishes comprehensive CEA-specific guidance on measurement methodologies, importantly including how to establish boundaries on Scope 3 carbon emissions. This type of reporting will result in consistent communication on the environmental value and direction that will drive long-term viability for technology integration into agriculture.”

A collaborative initiative by RII, producers and stakeholders, the CEA Footprint Project was formed to advance market understanding of CEA environmental impacts and resilience potential through the establishment of consistent and verifiable accounting and reporting standards. In order to develop the Guide to Environmental & Accounting Reporting, CEA Footprint Project members from the United States and Europe came together in early 2023 to discuss the most important Key Performance Indicators they use and value in their facilities, as well as to agree on which KPIs are relevant to internal and external audiences, in addition to where in the production process CEA operators should measure data. The group also aggregated detailed guidance on how producers should consider representing CEA-related Scope 3 carbon emissions boundaries and methodologies.  

Participating producers that contributed to the guide included:

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  • Hannah Bouline, Director of Impact and Sustainability, Vertical Harvest Farms
  • Gillon Dobie, Impact Director, Grow Up Farms
  • Michele Grossman, Sustainability Director, Equilibrium Capital on behalf of Revol Greens
  • Laura Hann, Director of Sustainability, Local Bounti
  • Erik Lundgren, Chief Research & Development Officer, Ljusgarda.
  • Doug Meikle, Financial Planning & Sustainability Manager, Grow Up Farms
  • Matthew Meisel, Chief Development Officer, Little Leaf Farms
  • Colin O’Neil, Director of Public Policy & Social Impact, Bowery Farming
  • Annie Wissemeier, Sustainability Senior Manager, 80 Acres Farm

“We are pleased to be part of a team of thoughtful peers to help set consistent standards for our industry,” said Matthew Meisel, Chief Development Officer of Little Leaf Farms. “RII led a great process that resulted in a tangible benefit for the industry. The Guide is a key resource for producers seeking to improve how they track their sustainability and resource efficiency performance.”

The Steering Committee for the guide’s development included:

“The CEA Alliance and RII are aligned on the need for standardization as indoor growing becomes a mature sector,” said Tom Stenzel, Executive Director, The CEA Alliance. “Collaborative efforts like the CEA Footprint Project are essential in moving the industry forward, and the resulting Guide is a valuable how-to resource for CEA operators.” 

Advisors for the guide included:

The new Guide to Environmental & Accounting Reporting for Controlled Environment Agriculture Operations is available for free download here. To learn more about this topic, join the “Cultivating Change: The Role of Environmental Accounting in CEA’s Future” webinar on May 16th. To learn more and register, visit this link. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Elyse Greenberg at [email protected] and visit the RII website.

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