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    innocent Drinks launches £1m regenerative agriculture fund

    innocent Drinks said it is making available up to £1 million in grants this year through its enhanced Farmer Innovation Fund. 

    The fund represents an increased investment to help safeguard the long-term supply of fruit and veg through regenerative agriculture, as innocent advances its plans to decarbonise its supply chain.

    The Farmer Innovation Fund provides funding to its ingredient suppliers for projects that support the transition to low-carbon farming, higher biodiversity and fairer farming practices. With over half of innocent’s carbon footprint coming from its ingredients, investing in sustainable farming practices will be key to achieving a 50 per cent reduction of its Scope 3 emissions by 2030.

    The fund, first launched in March 2021, aims to address the lack of funding options available to commercial farmers, by making funding available to cover losses associated with trialling new innovative farming practices. 

    Funding will be offered to all innocent ingredient suppliers with a special focus on those providing priority fruits, such as apples and oranges, which produce the highest levels of innocent’s Scope 3 emissions. Within the total fund of £1 million, grants will be made available between £20,000 and £500,000, with those over £500,000 being considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Longer term, the fund will also cover grants for advocacy, education and collaboration beyond innocent’s supply chains and innocent will share its learnings throughout the process to accelerate the transition to sustainable farming within the wider sector. 

    With a strong history of supporting innovative low-carbon farming projects, the fund’s previous winners include Döhler who are using the fund to map out how to reduce the carbon footprint in their apple and mango supply chains, and Agrarias Manchegas, who are using the fund to optimise farm inputs via data management and precision agriculture technology. 

    To support these aims, innocent has brought together leading industry experts to ensure funding is allocated effectively to the projects that will have the biggest impact on farming and agricultural practices.

    The members of the External Advisory Board for the Farmer Innovation Fund include:

    • Dominik Klauser, regenerative agriculture director at SAI Platform. Klauser also delivers lectures on sustainable agriculture at various Swiss universities and acts as an adviser to multilateral organisations to direct their investment towards creating more regenerative and resilient farming systems. 
    • Jyoti Fernandes, farmer and campaigner – Fernandes is a Dorset smallholder farmer on a regenerative agroecological holding producing fruits, preserves, cider, lamb and cheese sold locally. She is also head of policy at the Landworkers Alliance, a union representing agroecological farmers, foresters and landworkers in the UK.  
    • Martin Lines, farmer and chief executive of the Nature Friendly Farming Network – Lines has a keen interest in farm conservation management and is a third-generation farmer, growing mainly arable crops on his 400-acre farm. 
    • Oliver Williams, corporate philanthropy senior manager at Virgin Unite – Williams looks after various social impact projects, strategic initiatives, philanthropic investments and high-level relationships. He also collaborates with other high-profile funds, such as Audacious to fund game-changing ideas.

    Nick Canney, chief executive of innocent Drinks, said: “We’re on a mission to help people live well through the delicious goodness of fruit & veg, working to ensure everyone gets enough today and in the future. That’s why we are proud to play a part in helping our suppliers secure fruit & veg for the long term.

    “We see the Farmer Innovation Fund as a great opportunity to weave a strong connection from our drinkers to our farmers by working with our suppliers to safeguard the future supply of fruit and vegetables. So, they can continue to play their role in delivering sustainable and healthy diets.”

    Dominik Klauser, chair of the External Advisory Board for the Farmer Innovation Fund, said: “We need to see more investment in supporting farmers on their journey towards de-risking and embracing regenerative farming practices. It’s great to see businesses like innocent drinks committing to support the farmers within their supply chain to make this transition.”

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