NFU Energy launches environmental scheme for sugar beet growers

25 June 2024

Sugar beet growing in a field

Though this scheme is now closed, NFU Energy is encouraging beet growers to register their interest in future similar schemes they may run that benefit the ecosystem. Find out more.

The N-placement scheme, delivered in partnership with the LENs (Landscape Enterprise Network), offered sugar beet growers the opportunity to sell environmental services to downstream supply chain partners, allowing manufacturers of goods containing homegrown sugar to invest directly in the environmental sustainability of their raw materials.

The scheme closed due to an overwhelming demand from sugar beet growers.

Future opportunities

NFU Energy is encouraging growers interested in future similar schemes to register.

NFU Energy’s ambition is to expand the opportunity to incorporate a greater number of actions with funding available from a range of supply chain partners.

Registering your interest will demonstrate the demand for programmes, encouraging organisations to consider the benefits of reinvesting back into the supply chain.

Future incentives might include improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions and enhancing biodiversity.

To register, visit NFU Energy’s registration page: NFU Energy Closes Environmental Incentive Payment Scheme for Beet Growers Due to Overwhelming Demand.

NFU Sugar’s work

Speaking at the launch, NFU Sugar Board chair Michael Sly said: “We have been working with NFU Energy and Nestlé on the project for the last two years, and it’s really exciting to see the scheme now launched and available for growers to apply.

“The scheme shows the ambitious work of NFU Sugar and UK beet growers to deliver a climate-friendly sector while also giving growers the opportunity to be incentivised and fairly rewarded for producing sugar beet in a lower carbon manner. I hope this pilot, which will be small scale in the first year, paves the way for further opportunities to work with supply chain partners in incentivising growers to adopt lower carbon production methods.”

NFU Sugar has been working with Nestlé since 2021 towards unlocking incentive payments for growers who are able to demonstrate environmentally friendly or reduced carbon agricultural practices on farm.

The collaboration with Nestlé and NFU Energy was borne out of NFU Sugar’s ambition to ensure an equitable journey towards net zero, with farmers and growers rewarded fairly for the environmental services they deliver.

Importantly, it aligns with NFU Sugar’s Enabling Principles for delivering net zero in the sugar sector.

Projects should:

  • help the industry meet its sustainability targets and move towards net zero
  • only reference activities that relate to the growing and supply of sugar beet
  • ensure any value-added as a result of a practice or investment should accrue to those that carried it out
  • allow a grower to choose whether to carry out any additional activities in return for any value generated
  • recognise that a grower’s data remains their own intellectual property.

Working directly with supply-chain partners offers the opportunity to inset homegrown sugar emissions, unlocking value that already exists within the beet supply chain to reduce the carbon footprint of not only farmers, but processors, manufacturers, and retailers further down the chain.

Direct grower-customer projects ensure that funding targeted towards the delivery of environmental services on-farm is ringfenced for growers, whilst empowering them to broker the terms of delivery.