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Innocent announces £1m funding for sustainable fruit and vegetable farming

Innocent Drinks is making up to £1 million available in grants through its Farmer Innovation Fund, aiming to support regenerative fruit and vegetable farming within its supply chain. The fund was first launched in March 2021 to improve funding options for commercial farmers, helping them to cover losses associated with trialling new innovative farming practices. Now, as the soft drinks company advances plans to decarbonise its supply chain, it has announced the latest £1m support package as part of the enhanced initiative. The fund provides support to Innocent’s ingredient suppliers for projects that help enable the transition to low-carbon farming, higher biodiversity and fairer farming practices. Nick Canney, CEO at Innocent Drinks said: “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”. The funding will be offered to all innocent ingredient suppliers with a special focus on those providing ‘priority’ fruits, such as apples and oranges. These fruits produce the highest levels of Innocent’s Scope 3 emissions. With over half of the company’s carbon footprint coming from its ingredients, investing in sustainable farming practices is expected to play a key role in achieving a 50% reduction of its Scope 3 emissions by 2030. Within the total £1m, grants will be made available between £20,000-£500,000, with those over £500,000 considered on a case-by-case basis. In the long term, the fund will also cover grants for advocacy, education and collaboration beyond Innocent’s supply chains. Innocent will share its learnings throughout the process to accelerate the transition to sustainable farming within the wider sector. To support the project, Innocent has brought together a group of industry experts as part of an external advisory board to ensure funding is allocated effectively. Previous winners of the fund include Döhler, which is using the fund to map out how to reduce the carbon footprint in its apple and mango supply chains, and Agrarias Manchegas, which is using the fund to optimise farm inputs via data management and precision agriculture technology. Dominik Klauser, regenerative agriculture director, SAI Platform and 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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