Solution Space: CANZA (Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food)

Accelerating action for climate-smart agriculture

There is a strong appetite in business right now to build resilience into our agrifood systems. We can harness that ambition to incentivize, recognize, and reward farmers for the meaningful impact they contribute to a sustainable future. It’s time for unapologetic action.

Nick Betts

Managing Director

(Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food)

CANZA (Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food) brings together action-driven problem-solvers from across the agri-food system to accelerate a net-zero future.

The challenge and opportunity

Climate change is a complex and extremely interconnected challenge. From droughts to floods to ice storms–climate impacts threaten the food, fibre and fuel production that Canadians count on. Agriculture is one of the only sectors where we can tackle climate change from two directions. Not only can we reduce agricultural emissions that contribute to climate change. We can also leverage the potential of agricultural lands to remove harmful emissions from the atmosphere, as part of a broader solution.

Seizing this opportunity means advancing innovative practices and technologies that help lower agricultural emissions while embracing climate-positive activities, like sustainable soil management. Critical to all this is supporting and rewarding the role that farmers play by properly valuing the environmental benefits of climate-smart farming in our economy.

This will take collaboration and innovation across the entire agri-food system; CANZA enables this.

Our approach

Providing a platform for pre-competitive, collaborative action and industry leadership, CANZA harnesses the ingenuity, innovation, and existing resources of our agri-food systems to catalyze meaningful progress towards our net-zero goal. That involves aggressively developing, testing, and scaling innovative technologies, championing transformative policies, and helping advance favourable market conditions that incentivize sustainable farming practices.

CANZA currently focuses on two game-changing initiatives: climate-smart farming (embracing technologies, policies and practices with the potential to improve and de-risk agricultural productivity, resilience and returns in ways that can benefit farmers) and scaling the use and uptake of biodigesters (significantly reducing emissions by creating renewable energy, either for selling to the grid or for on-farm use, and nutrient-rich digestate that can enhance crop yields).

CANZA’s work is informed and bolstered by the Smart Prosperity Institute’s land-use, nature, and agriculture research stream. The team collaborates on critical questions like how to credibly quantify and report on the climate-positive impacts of climate-smart farming practices, which is essential to properly valuing environmental benefits.

Contact Nick Betts, Managing Director, for more information:

Visit CANZA’s Website

There is a strong appetite in business right now to build resilience into our agrifood systems. We can harness that ambition to incentivize, recognize, and reward farmers for the meaningful impact they contribute to a sustainable future. It’s time for unapologetic action.

Nick Betts

Managing Director

Meet sustainable agriculture experts from our Generate Canada – Smart Prosperity Institute Partnership

I get up every day to passionately do everything I can to catalyze impact that will ensure our world and food systems are stewarded better today than yesterday.

Nick is the inaugural Managing Director for the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food. He is an action-driven, strategy-guided leader in building and deploying opportunities that drive positive climate impact across the agri-food industry. With a background spanning roles in farm associations, agricultural ministries, international industry associations, and global climate consulting, Nick’s unique perspective and experiences catalyze innovative and implementable solutions from boots to boardroom.

Through his 15+ years working in agricultural sustainability, Nick brings a robust international industry and academic network, experience in leading global initiatives in regenerative agriculture and a deeply seeded understanding and awareness of Canadian agriculture and farming communities.

Nick earned an B.Sc. in ecology from the University of Guelph, and MBA in leadership and sustainability from Cumbria University (UK), and holds certificates in sustainability reporting, farm transition planning, change management and Lean business strategy.

Michael is a Research Associate with the Smart Prosperity Institute. Prior to joining SPI, Michael worked at Trans Canada Trail, a non-profit organization that supports the development of active transportation routes and recreational trails as fundamental to the well-being of Canadian communities. Michael has also worked at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNSCDB) in subnational and local implementation and with the Office for Disability Issues at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Michael holds a Master of Environmental Policy from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and his research interests are focused on the nexus between urban nature, human health, and climate change. When not at his desk, Michael can be found cycling, rock climbing or exploring the great outdoors with his growing family.

The power of partnership

CANZA engages and draws on the expertise of problem-solvers across the agri-food value chain—from farmers to food producers, retailers to investors–to accelerate and operationalize innovation across our agri-food system.

How a pilot project with a Saskatchewan farmer could help unlock the carbon market.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Credible data is integral to effectively valuing the benefits of climate-smart farming. Farmers need available, affordable, accurate, and efficient tools to monitor, measure, and validate that data. Through CANZA, pilot projects–like this one with Hebert Grain Ventures–help deploy scalable solutions.

In order to have real conversations about tackling climate change, we need farmers in the room. There are huge opportunities for the agri-food sector to be part of the solution to this global challenge. That’s why I’m proud of the work we’re doing with CANZA and Generate Canada. Collaboration is key.

Kristjan Hebert

Managing Partner, Hebert Grain Ventures

Sustainability is not just a commitment for Maple Leaf Foods, it’s our compass, vision, and legacy. We recognize the challenges Canada’s agri-food system faces to achieve the bold net-zero food system goal and believe that with the support of an alliance like CANZA, great things are possible together.

Michael H. McCain

Executive Chair, Maple Leaf Foods

Growers need innovative and collaborative approaches and policies to support them in continuing to advance sustainable and productive agriculture. Nutrien is proud to partner with CANZA to bolster climate-smart initiatives that help growers increase food production in a sustainable manner.

Ken Seitz

President and CEO, Nutrien

The Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-Food has captured the Canadian imagination as a model for teamwork in tackling the climate crisis. With a goal to achieve net zero in Canada’s agri-food sector by 2050, it’s imperative we find ways to reward farmers for what they preserve, not just what they produce. That’s why RBC is proud to be part of this coalition of farmers, fertilizer producers, food processors and retailers, working together to deliver change that none of us could achieve on our own.

John Stackhouse

Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, Royal Bank of Canada

    Dive deeper

    How Canada can help lead a global solution for climate change: The CANZA Story.

    We have seven years—seven growing seasons—to reduce Canada’s emissions by 40%. We can do a lot in that time, including on our farms. But it will take the whole Agri-food system working together. This is why CANZA exists.

    Watch the video

    Taking action on methane emissions

    Canada has over 25 million cows and hogs, and over 155 million chickens. Together, they produce a lot of manure—and that manure produces a massive amount of methane, an especially powerful greenhouse gas. Biodigesters are a proven technology to contain emissions while unleashing economic growth–aiding farmers, their local communities and the country as a whole. So, how do we scale them in Canada? Learn more.

    Read the E-book