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Downforce joins work on pioneering natural capital accounting system


18 October 2023

DOWNFORCE Technologies is partnering with La Trobe University to provide “the final piece” of a pioneering research project that is creating an individual farm-scale accounting system to capture the value of natural capital.

The announcement coincides with a United States patent being awarded for Downforce’s world- leading methodology in natural capital measurement.

It bolsters a La Trobe University project that was launched in 2020 and supported by the Odonata Foundation and the Australian Government’s Landcare Program, with the objective of developing an accounting system that could measure the value of nature at a farm scale.

Lead researcher and Associate Professor, Dr Jim Radford, said 50 farms from Northern New South Wales to Tasmania, covering about 100,000 hectares, have been involved.

“At the moment there are very few tools by which farmers can measure and demonstrate their environmental credentials,” Dr Radford said.
“They’re generally very high level and pitched at a national or regional scale where the estimates are of the extent of an ecosystem in the landscape or the amount of native vegetation that’s retained at very large areas.
“What we’re trying to do is come down a few scales and provide a tool to individual farmers.”

The Farm-scale Natural Capital Accounts (FSNCA) are designed to be used alongside traditional financial accounts to determine the interplay between farm enterprise and ecosystem.

The research team has so far identified the stocks of natural assets, assessed their condition and assigned metrics that would allow a monetary value to be calculated for the economic or societal benefits that flow from them. Greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration in vegetation have also been calculated.

Downforce Technologies will now join the project to supply measurements of soil organic carbon (SOC).

“This is the final piece,” Dr Radford said.
“I’m really excited about being able to include this and I think it will really resonate with farmers because they’re working with soil all the time. It’s their currency. If there’s a group of people in society that appreciates soil, it’s farmers.”

Downforce Technologies co-founder and Chief Scientist, Prof Jacquie McGlade, said Downforce would provide SOC readings at the paddock and sub-paddock level, with the ability to see changes over time for the three years of the project.

“Outside the farming sector, many people are not aware just how important soils are to the climate and their potential to help the world transition to net zero,” Prof McGlade said.
“We are thrilled to be involved in this project to develop Farm-scale Natural Capital Accounts because verification is a critical part of the equation.”

The contribution to the project is underpinned by a methodology that this week was awarded a US patent (Patent No: 11790410).

“The US patent awarded to Downforce Technologies confirms its invention of a consistent system and methodology to measure natural capital at every scale from farm to continent,” Prof McGlade said.
“This is crucial as nations begin the transformational process of embedding the value of their natural capital assets into the system of national accounts.”

The receipt of a US Patent follows the distinction of becoming the first company in the world which assesses SOC and land management practices remotely to gain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification for ISO 14064 Part 2.

ISO is a non-governmental organisation with a membership of 169 national standards bodies and oversees the internationally recognised 14060 family of standards relating to the measurement, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

Downforce’s ISO-certified methodology enables companies in the food and land sector to understand their soil carbon baseline across their portfolio, report their net zero position in a compliant way and establish carbon projects with their suppliers to generate carbon credits for retirement. These credits for verified carbon removals can be used to inset against their supply chain emissions (Scope 3).

Downforce Technologies Head of Asia-Pacific, Ben Wark, said the company would continue to innovate and the data gained from the partnership with La Trobe University would assist in developing further models.

“The work done by Dr Radford and the team has involved important ecological and environmental studies across thousands of hectares,” Mr Wark said.
“It gives us the ability to incorporate that data into existing models to ground them further and allow inferences to be made across even larger areas of land.”

To learn more about how Downforce Technologies is driving the net zero transition and helping people unlock the potential of their land visit our website.

For more information on the Farm-scale National Capital Accounts project visit the La Trobe website.


Media enquiries:

Matt Wordsworth

0404 029 241

About Downforce Technologies

Downforce Technologies is a pioneering leader in science-led, data-driven land management solutions focused on optimising soil health, soil organic carbon levels, and biodiversity. With over 30% of the world's soil already degraded, urgent action is needed to address this pressing global challenge.

Soil erosion not only threatens global food security but also exacerbates climate change by releasing carbon into the atmosphere. At Downforce Technologies, our mission is to combat soil degradation head-on, ensuring a resilient and thriving planet for future generations. We revolutionise land management with our science-led, data-driven platform, empowering farmers, landowners, and supply chains to make informed decisions that preserve and restore soil health on a global scale.

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"Downforce Technologies provides a novel and highly-effective platform for rapid, remote and high-resolution calculation of quantities and values of natural capital and ecosystem services produced by farmers and land stewards."
Professor Jules Pretty, University of Essex