Hemp’s role in climate change mitigation is gaining attention as researchers investigate its potential to sequester carbon and develop carbon offset markets. Hemp is a fast-growing plant, effective at sequestering and storing carbon. Its carbon-absorbing potential is in the same range as that of a young forest. What makes hemp stand out, is its rapid growing cycle: hemp matures in approximately 100 days, whereas forests take years to mature. Therefore, it could contribute to the globally shared goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus helping in climate change mitigation.

In the UK, a development project named the Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) is underway to investigate the ability of various plants to sequester and store carbon in the soil, as well as explore new possibilities to create sustainable products from plant materials. Hemp is part of this extensive research project, which also aims to establish markets for carbon dioxide offsetting. This would enable farmers to generate additional income from the carbon they sequester through their cultivation practices and help businesses achieve their climate targets. Read more here.

The role of oilseed hemp in mitigating climate change was also studied in a Finnish project, carried out by Food Farm’s parent company Trans Farm. The project, called Rich Nutrition from the Carbon Sink – Oilseed Hemp, was a part of the Catch the Carbon research and innovation program, and aimed to enhance carbon sinks and storage by expanding the cultivation area of oilseed hemp. The potential for farmers to earn additional revenue through carbon sequestration from hemp cultivation was also studied in the project. Farmers would earn extra income by selling carbon units – generated through hemp cultivation – on carbon offset markets to companies striving to achieve their own carbon neutrality goals. To support the compensation method’s standardization, further field-scale experiments measuring carbon sequestration from hemp cultivation are needed, along with the development of operational procedures for the emerging carbon offset markets.