According to a statement published on IrishDistillers.ie, the two drinks companies are partnering for a three year collaboration that will support malting barley farmers in the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.
The overarching aim of the initiative is to support each farm's transition towards regenerative agriculture and to share this knowledge with other farmers, with an ultimate view to improve the economic and climatic resilience of malting barley farming in Ireland.
The project will seek to improve soil health and carbon retention, increase biodiversity, improve water quality, and improve the livelihoods of farmers through the adoption of a series of regenerative agricultural practices including minimising soil disturbance, increasing crop diversity, increasing soil cover by maintaining living roots all year round, and reducing chemical inputs.
The project involves key supply chain players, including a selection of 15 participating farmers from across counties Carlow, Kildare, Laois and Wexford, as well as partners Earthworm Foundation and Boortmalt.
The statement published on IrishDistillers.ie quoted Irish Distillers communications and corporate affairs director Kathryn D'Arcy as saying, "At Irish Distillers, we have a proud history of buying quality grain from Irish farmers to produce our whiskeys. In line with the Pernod Ricard 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap 'Good Times from a Good Place', we are committed to working in partnership with our suppliers to develop regenerative agricultural practices that enhance natural ecosystems and respond to the challenges of climate change.
"Through the regenerative agriculture pilot programme for malting barley, we will support Ireland's barley farmers as they strive to reduce carbon emissions while ensuring a sustainable supply for the future production of Irish whiskey. This is a global programme which is being piloted in Ireland and will run for three years. Along with our partners, we are keen to demonstrate the potential impact of the programme and assess its potential for roll out in other countries."
The statement published on IrishDistillers.ie quoted Heineken Ireland corporate affairs director Avril Collins as saying, "Heineken are one of the first global brewers to have made a pledge for net zero carbon emissions across the value chain by 2040 and working with the source of our main ingredients is key to understanding how we can reach this goal, as agriculture accounts for 33% of our global footprint. Over the past two years, Heineken have developed a global low carbon farming programme that focuses on carbon reduction. Pilots in this programme in 2021 show an average 25% CO2 reduction and 40% increase in CO2 sequestration during the farming process. We are delighted that here in Ireland we are taking this initiative deeper to look at a number of parameters across soil health, water and biodiversity to fully understand the impact and where change can be made. We greatly appreciate that this journey requires many players to work together so we are delighted to be partnering with our peers in Irish Distillers."
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