Crop burning is the traditional way that farmers use to get rid of the crop residue (“stubble”) after harvest, which is necessary in order to prepare the land for the next plantation.
However, the crop burning practice is one of the main contributors to the alarming rates of air pollution in the Delhi metropolis. The life expectancy of inhabitants in Delhi is reduced by approximately 10 years due to the hazardous air quality and it causes up to 30,000 premature deaths per year.
We want to provide these farmers with an alternative way to dispose of their stubble and terminate the practice of crop burning.
Our solution is to buy the stubble from the farmers and use it to generate value: either as input for biogas production, building material and innovative fashion. By avoiding the burning, we generate Air Quality Credits which we will sell to voluntary emissions trading platforms (such as Gold Standard). Thus, corporates that want to offset their emissions and improve their sustainability can buy our credits. This will help finance our business.
The issue of crop burning is a world-wide phenomenon. However, due to the geographical aspects of Delhi and its surrounding states, the issue is particularly critical in this region. Especially after rice harvest, during winter time Delhi turns into a gas chamber, much because of the wide-spread burning practice of the rice crops in the surrounding states of Haryana, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh.
Our solution is an incentive for farmers to stop burning their crop residues.
We will buy the stubble from the farmers and use it to generate value: initially either as input for biogas production, building material and innovative fashion. Primary contact with the farmers, logistics and collection of the stubble will be organised through a local network of agricultural cooperatives and field agents.
In parallel, we will create Air Quality Credits, a type of emission credits which can be traded on a voluntary emission trading platform (e.g. Gold Standard). The credits represent the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are avoided by the omission of burning.
Thus, corporates or private investors wanting to offset their carbon footprint can buy our Air Quality Credits. In addition to the income generated from the energy and production potential of the collected stubble, the Air Quality Credit trading will finance our business.
As it is now, the farmers do not have any financially viable alternatives to the burning (which is cheap and fast). There currently exists no monetary incentive for them to dispose of the residues in a sustainable and clean way.
Our solution incentivises the farmers to quit burning as they will be remunerated for the stubble that we collect from them.
The second innovation is our financing model which allows us to generate income from the carbon offset trading. Our Air Quality Credits are linked to the amount of greenhouse gases that will not be released by avoiding the huge scale of burning of biomass (stubble).
Our solution impacts several SDGs.
SDG3 – Health and Wellbeing (reducing air pollution in Delhi and other nearby cities)
SDG7 – Clean and Affordable Energy (the currently wasted stubble resources will be used to produce renewable energy)
SDG11 – Sustainable Cities (better air quality in Delhi makes it a better, more sustainable place to live)
SDG12 – Sustainable Production (the currently wasted stubble resources can be used to produce a wide range of building materials and innovative fashion)
SDG13 – Climate Action (avoiding greenhouses gas emissions by not burning the crops)
These impacts are measured in terms of total saved emissions as well as aggregate increase in the share of renewable energy. Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) will be carried out by us as well as independent third parties, in accordance with the requirements of the voluntary trading platforms.
Our plan of action and implementation strategy will include the following:
– We will reach out to the farmers through agricultural cooperatives in each of the affected states locally.
– We will develop a network of buyers for our stubble resources.
– We will set up our emission trading project on the existing Gold Standard Platform.
– Further research, marketing and adjustment of our business idea.
To further our idea we need: – Precise information and data on the exact number and location of farmers – Establish logistics systems for the collection of stubble from farmers, utilising existing transportation networks – Support from third party MRV partners to ensure accountability and transparency of trading our Air Quality Credits – PR and marketing input.