Sustainable Practices vs Outcomes
Sarah Nolet, co-founder of Tenacious Ventures, an agriculture focused venture capital firm, says they use science and innovation to turn ideas into investible solutions. She says fertilizer is one area in need of more measurable and data-driven initiatives.
Nolet… “Because nature is so complex and agriculture is so complex, we can only talk about practices, like how much nitrogen did you put on. I think we’ll shift to a world where you can talk about outcomes; was there runoff? And when we can shift to outcomes, there’s a lot more flexibility to say, you monitor it in whatever ways are compliant with how we’re gonna measure it, you put on what you want. You can add a sound input, you can do this fertility work, you can have this microbe, you can reduce and there’s all these tools in your toolkit. We’re not saying how you’re going to farm; we’re just saying here’s the risk that we’re willing to fund or not fund and here’s how we’re going to measure that outcome.”
Changing our mindset from practices to outcomes won’t come without challenge, though Nolet is hopeful it will help farmers make climate-smart decisions.
Nolet… “We’re a long ways from that and that might sound like a world that we won’t get to, but I think that’s a world for me where we can strike this balance of, “I’m not telling you how to farm, and I absolutely don’t think I’m qualified to do so, but we do have these public goods to protect and overall. an existential risk for all of us in climate change that we need to be solving, not to mention regulations up and down the supply chain.”
Nolet added that this will take effort from both the public and private sectors.