[Press Release] Transitions : Promoting low-carbon regenerative farming, supporting soils and biodiversity
VIVESCIA and its partners announce the launch of TRANSITIONS, an all-new programme for France on an unprecedented scale, with some 1,000 farmers involved by 2026!
From left to right: Savine Oustrain, VIVESCIA agronomic and research director, Julien Roy, VIVESCIA strategic projects and innovation director, Armand Gandon, project manager
low carbon and coordinator of the VIVESCIA upstream agricultural program, Véronique Fontaine-Heim, Executive Director of the VIVESCIA Cooperative, Bastien Sachet, CEO Earthworm, Philippe Mauguin, President of INRAE, Christoph Büren, President of VIVESCIA, Sébastien Bernier, Director of Agricultural Sourcing Groupe Roquette, Emmanuel Manichon, Chief Executive Officer Avril-Saipol, Olivier Miaux, Managing Director of VIVESCIA Industries, Olivier Hautin, Managing Director of Malteurop, Valérie Frapier, VIVESCIA Group CSR Director, Robert O'Boyle, CEO of Délifrance, Pierre Garcia, CEO of Grands Moulins de Paris
TRANSITIONS is a ground-breaking practical programme to support farmers in North-East France. It represents a unique cooperation between upstream and downstream sectors. By sweeping away the financial and technical barriers, it will promote the development of regenerative farming, with its benefits for the planet, the climate and biodiversity and involve 1,000 VIVESCIA farmers by 2026.
A high-impact programme: we have to adapt the way we farm to make the soil more resilient and enable it to store more carbon, to minimise greenhouse gas emissions from fields and to make farms more profitable and secure their long-term future. TRANSITIONS is all about limiting the risks for farmers who choose to adapt their methods without cutting their production, doing things on a bigger scale and getting all the different parties in the value chain speaking the same language. As regards cutting carbon, TRANSITIONS has set itself on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030.
Christoph Büren, President of VIVESCIA Group, said “TRANSITIONS is motivating manufacturers of plant-based products and grain industry players to work together. It conveys the optimistic and positive vision of an entire collective that believes farming can be pro-active and sustainable while achieving great results. Alongside Avril and its subsidiary Saipol, Tereos, Roquette, our VIVESCIA Industries businesses, and our customers and partners, whose ranks continue to grow, we are today launching a movement with and for farmers. It’s a movement with a natural vocation to be replicated in and adapted to other locations, in France and beyond.”
A programme to bring together the plant and grain sectors, upstream and downstream: to make the agri-food transitions a success on a large scale, it is vital that we all work together jointly and pool the costs. Avril and its subsidiary Saipol, Roquette and Tereos [see their statements below] have chosen to become part of TRANSITIONS from its inception alongside VIVESCIA Industries’ businesses – Grands Moulins de Paris and its Francine and Campaillette brands, Malteurop, Délifrance and Kalizea – to achieve the 2030 carbon commitment pathways (SBTi, SNBC1) and secure supply chains in the face of climate risks and the threats to biodiversity.
1 SBTi : SBTi: The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) was created following the Paris Agreement by a number of global institutions including the UN. Today, it is the benchmark for corporate target-setting https://sciencebasedtargets.org/
SNBC: France’s national low-carbon strategy, currently being revised.
Innovative by its agronomy-based approach, the support it offers and its business model, TRANSITIONS will begin in time for the 2024 harvest..
Franck Leroy, President of the Grand Est Regional Council, welcomed the programme, saying as part of his speech at the TRANSITIONS launch, “The ambitious and innovative TRANSITIONS project that VIVESCIA and its partners are initiating will be funded in various ways, in particular through supply chain bonuses granted within VIVESCIA’s value chain and farming ecosystem and public-sector support in recognition of environmental services and their co-benefits. This excellent initiative will serve as a role model for other locations in the Grand Est region, which will benefit from the lessons learned and solutions identified by VIVESCIA. By developing farming systems that minimise the use of fossil fuels and synthetic fertilisers, this project will contribute to France’s resilience and food sovereignty, improve water quality, promote biodiversity, cut carbon emissions and make farming a more attractive career. Consequently, the Grand Est region is delighted to support the TRANSITIONS project, whose aims match our own agricultural and environmental policies.”
“VIVESCIA’s initiative provides a solution for numerous priorities that farmers cannot tackle alone. It combines the need for substantial support to ensure the success of the agro-ecological transition with the important collective and regional dimension, alongside individual action. Consequently, VIVESCIA’s status as a cooperative is a considerable advantage, topped off by its commitment to involving both farmers and food processing businesses,” said Philippe Mauguin, CEO of INRAE.
The four principles underpinning TRANSITIONS:
- 1. A robust foundation of agronomic knowledge on every farm, making each one an “individual, connected system”.
Savine Oustrain, Director of Research and Innovation, VIVESCIA Cooperative, said, “The systemic approach that has guided our thinking as we have built up the foundation of agronomic knowledge for TRANSITIONS is undoubtedly an essential step in enabling farmers to improve their technical and financial results and their environmental performance. Our agronomic expertise, built up over the years for all the different soil and climate conditions encountered in our region, has equipped us to offer a foundation of knowledge which is accessible to numerous motivated farmers. At the same time, the specific support it offers makes it ambitious.”.
This foundation of knowledge is built of three parts – soil health, low-carbon (cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon in soil) and biodiversity – based on scientific standards recognised by the French authorities (low-carbon label for field crops, EC level 2 and HEV) and work by VIVESCIA and Earthworm. It will of course evolve as knowledge develops. In addition, it is the results achieved, rather than the efforts made, that will be measured. Farmers must be able to choose their farming processes according to their own soil and climate conditions and business plan. TRANSITIONS will recognise both progress and results.
“This is not yet another set of specifications for a specific crop or plot, it’s a foundation of technical knowledge spanning the entire farm, and therefore the only real way to judge progress,” said low-carbon project manager Armand Gandon, who is responsible for coordinating the programme for upstream farming activities at VIVESCIA Cooperative.
Earthworm2 is one of the programme’s founding partners: the agronomic expertise that VIVESCIA has thanks to its two dozen agronomists and specialists, its research programmes and its AgroSol club, combined with Earthworm’s recognised soil expertise, have been the keys to success in designing the programme’s foundation of technical knowledge and support mechanisms. Earthworm will continue to back the project throughout its duration.
- 2. For farmers: significant financial support which goes beyond simply covering the cost of agronomic and technical measures and a more intensive programme of practical support, the essential key to success, in the form of a multi-year, individual and collective training programme.
Consequently, TRANSITIONS is financially attractive to farmers. They receive an initial bonus per tonne of grains which, unlike under standard supply chain contracts, applies to all the crops they grow on their farms, because the programme is committed to adding value to everything the farmer produces. Payments (ranging from €100 to €150 per hectare per year) vary according to the performance achieved and the crop grown.
The support and training programme offered to the farmers has also been designed to limit the risks to which they are exposed and make the transition as easy as possible for them. Some thirty staff from the VIVESCIA technical sales team have volunteered to support the farmers involved in the programme, and they are currently being trained using specific plans. They will be assisted by agronomy specialists, who will also receive training in this farm-wide approach.
AXA Climate3 is one of the programme’s technical partners: as a specialist insurer with experience in the effects of climate change on agricultural production, Axa Climate has the skills required to work with us, building a new model of insurance to cover the risks of the agricultural transition, enabling it to accelerate.
- 3. Digital tools and reliable data, the cornerstones of the TRANSITIONS programme
The progress made by the farmers and its environmental impact are measured by way of robust, proven and independent scientific methods, using an efficient, auditable ecosystem of digital tools.
The key challenge as regards data is to standardise formats, by using a common tool to collect raw data from farmers and guarantee its traceability. This standardisation makes data processing smooth and reliable. The ecosystem also includes a satellite imaging tool managed by a partner, KERMAP. It is used to measure the duration of soil coverage and also offers standardised tools for measuring carbon sequestration in soil and tools for measuring greenhouse gas emissions. Our food processing customers can use this data in their non-financial and CSR strategy reporting, choosing the format that best fits the standards to which they work.
“Involve, support, progress and reward: these are the important steps we need to achieve to set the virtuous circle of the TRANSITIONS Programme in motion! For this, VIVESCIA can look to its expert teams, and the new technologies that enhance their skills.
Together with our partner WIUZ, we have designed a platform that meets the needs of the entire value chain, from our farmers and the cooperative to our food processing customers,” said Julien Roy, strategic projects and innovation director, VIVESCIA Cooperative.
WIUZ4 and KERMAP are two of the programme’s technical partners: these agri-tech startups add value to data from farms, providing tools to assist in decision-making and guarantee strict traceability for the measures put in place under the programme.
- 4. A business model based on pooling costs, mainly financed through supply chain bonuses, led by upstream businesses and VIVESCIA Industries’ manufacturing subsidiaries.
2 To find out more about the partnership with Earthworm and the company’s role: see the statement by Bastien Sachet, CEO, below.
3 To find out more, watch the video from Axa Climate at vivescia.com
4 To find out more, watch the video from Wiuz on vivescia.com
The same three-year commitment across all levels of the value chain
This year, in time for the 2024 harvest, some 200 VIVESCIA member-farmers have joined TRANSITIONS, committing to be involved for three years, as have Avril / Saipol, Roquette and Tereos, together with VIVESCIA’s manufacturing businesses – Grands Moulins de Paris (milling) with its Francine and Campaillette brands, Malteurop (malting) and Délifrance (bread, viennoiseries, pastries and frozen products). By 2025, we’re expecting 500 farmers to be involved, and by 2026, 1,000 or even more.
Everything begins here!
Marine Magder | email@example.com | 06 62 09 97 04
Antoine Frenoy | firstname.lastname@example.org | 06 49 30 42 47
Les agriculteurs et la Coopérative VIVESCIA, avec le soutien de ses entreprises de VIVESCIA Industries,
remercient tous leurs partenaires économiques, institutionnels et techniques,
qui ont fait le choix de s’engager dans le programme TRANSITIONS.