The ginormous (80,000 visitors) Natural Products Expo West in March was a coming-out party of sorts for the burgeoning regenerative movement. Attendees crowded into seminars in fire-code-busting numbers to hear about an approach that goes beyond good-for-you organic and do-no-harm sustainability to embrace practices, products and standards that actually restore the environment (particularly healthy soil).
One star-turn session highlighted a new Regenerative Organic Certification crafted by Rodale Institute, Patagonia, Dr. Bronner’s (a ReGen18 sponsor), and other brands, specifying not only organic farming but carbon sequestration, animal welfare, fair labor practices, fair trade and more. You know a business trend has landed when Fast Company touts it, and this FC article on the new R.O. standard is an informative summary that also addresses some of the controversies over this would-be “one ethical standard to rule them all.”
Larry Kopald of The Carbon Underground (another ReGen18 presenter) told us, “It’s amazing to see how regenerative has gone from this tiny marginal thing to a monster movement.” His view, however, is that R.O. certification “expects too much of farmers, 99% of whom are not even organic. I’m not convinced they’ll be willing to squeeze through the eye of the needle to adopt another demanding layer of standards.” Kopald has announced a design team, backed by DanoneWave, Annie’s Naturals (General Mills), Ben and Jerry’s (Unilever) and others to devise a simpler standard for soil-building that will “rally the movement, the corporations, the scientists, and the financial resources, to scale regenerative agriculture big enough and fast enough to beat the ticking clock of climate change.”
With CO2 at 405 ppm, and by some measures only enough soil left in the world for 60 more harvests, the time can’t come too soon. ReGen18 will convene field-building discussions that aim to foster unity in diversity, enabling multiple players in this dynamic regenerative space to move forward together with synergy, complementarity, and efficacy. Our goal is to enable powerful collaborations and scalable, fundable enterprises to “draw-down” vast amounts of CO2 into healthy living soil and help to reverse climate change. Register now to join us May 1-4 for these engaging and important discussions.