Italian Carbon Credit Supplier Receives International Accreditation

Through the Alberami project, Italian olive farmers can generate and sell carbon credits on international markets.
Olive groves following regenerative farming practices are already generating carbon credits in Puglia. (Photo: Alberami)
By Paolo DeAndreis
Jun. 6, 2024 17:17 UTC

Italian olive grow­ers and other farm­ers can more eas­ily enter the car­bon credit mar­ket and ben­e­fit from a com­pre­hen­sive regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture approach.

The Alberami project has been offi­cially val­i­dated by the Indian entity Carbon Check under the International Carbon Registry (ICR), allow­ing it to sell car­bon cred­its inter­na­tion­ally.

These cred­its come from the first group of Italian farm­ers adher­ing to the Alberami pro­to­col, which aims to max­i­mize car­bon credit pro­duc­tion in the field.

See Also:Trees Less Effective at Sequestering Carbon in a Hotter, Drier World

Along with olive grow­ers, whose coop­er­a­tion was cru­cial for the ini­tia­tive’s launch, farm­ers who cul­ti­vate chest­nuts, almonds, wal­nuts, carobs, cit­rus fruits, cher­ries, figs, prickly pears, pis­ta­chios, pas­tures and arable land will be able to gen­er­ate and trade car­bon cred­its under the scheme.

When an olive grower or another farmer is inter­ested in gen­er­at­ing car­bon cred­its with us, we guide them in the ini­tial phase of choos­ing which agro­nomic prac­tices to adopt,” said Francesco Musardo, the chief exec­u­tive and founder of the Alberami project.

The broth­ers who run LiMatunni, a 19th-cen­tury olive farm in the south­ern Italian region of Puglia, were among the first to sell car­bon cred­its through the Alberami project.

Our entire approach to olive farm­ing is organic and aims to let nature thrive,” Ascanio Sammarco, co-owner of the farm, told Olive Oil Times. When we learned about the pos­si­bil­ity of putting our car­bon cred­its on the mar­ket, we did­n’t hes­i­tate.”

We loved the idea as it con­nects a mod­ern approach to agri­cul­ture, respect­ful of the envi­ron­ment, to tan­gi­ble sup­port for farm­ers,” he added.

The com­pany man­ages olive groves in Erchie and Maruggio, in south­ern Puglia. It adopts organic farm­ing prac­tices in both areas, one of which has been severely affected by Xylella fas­tidiosa.

To adhere to the lim­its and con­di­tions of the Alberami pro­to­col, we did­n’t have to change much in our work,” Sammarco explained. While every­one can join, those prac­tic­ing organic farm­ing will find it eas­ier. Still, you must upgrade and add to your cur­rent prac­tices to gen­er­ate car­bon cred­its.”

The Alberami pro­to­col includes 13 prac­tices inspired by sus­tain­able and regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture.

Farmers must adopt at least three new agro­nomic prac­tices from those listed in the pro­to­col,” Musardo said.

Soil sam­pling is con­ducted to estab­lish a base­line, and sub­se­quent sam­ples are taken annu­ally,” he added. These, along with other fac­tors, allow us to mea­sure the issuance of car­bon cred­its, which are then sold on the vol­un­tary com­pen­sa­tion mar­ket.”

Carbon cred­its are rou­tinely bought by com­pa­nies world­wide to off­set the car­bon foot­print they pro­duce. Carbon mar­kets like the ICR pro­vide the plat­form for such trades.

The pro­ceeds from these sales are shared with the farm­ers, who receive up to 75 per­cent of the prof­its,” Musardo said.

While it depends on the farm and the prac­tices, I would say that we are receiv­ing an aver­age of €250 per hectare,” Sammarco added.


According to Alberami, the more approved prac­tices farm­ers imple­ment, the higher the car­bon cred­its their activ­ity gen­er­ates.

Those who sign up for the Alberami pro­to­cols are also com­mit­ting to a period of at least 15 years,” Musardo said.

The list of such prac­tices includes tran­si­tion­ing to organic agri­cul­ture, zero or min­i­mal tillage, green­ing the farm­land, plant­ing cover crops, inte­grat­ing more than one crop in the same area, cre­at­ing buffer strips, wind­breaks and hedges along the edges of tree or cereal crops, reusing prun­ing remains and reduc­ing syn­thetic fer­til­iz­ers.

Regenerative agri­cul­ture means restor­ing some of the organic mat­ter con­tent to the soil, nur­tur­ing it, and enhanc­ing its fer­til­ity,” said Thomas Vatrano, agron­o­mist, olive oil taster, and Alberami’s tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant.

Whether it’s mono­cul­ture or the exces­sive use and abuse of min­eral fer­til­iz­ers, soil has been under siege for a long time,” he added. While regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­ture is a broad con­cept, we can sum­ma­rize it as restor­ing the soil’s fer­til­ity.”

The Alberami project cur­rently cov­ers more than 1,500 hectares and involves 67 farm­ers. Thanks to the val­i­da­tion, we are now enter­ing a truly oper­a­tional phase, so the more than 10,000 hectares on the wait­ing list can be unlocked,” Musardo said.

Within ICR, the Alberami project is now listed as Agroecology Italy.” Musardo men­tioned that they are already explor­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to expand abroad.

Once the method­ol­ogy is estab­lished, it will be straight­for­ward to scale it to other regions, in coun­tries such as Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia or Turkey,” he said.

According to Alberami, the car­bon cred­its being gen­er­ated are now in demand by sev­eral enti­ties.

We are col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­pa­nies in the United Kingdom, includ­ing an asso­ci­a­tion foot­ball player, and with trans­port com­pa­nies, finan­cial insti­tu­tions and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal enti­ties,” he said, hint­ing at agree­ments being final­ized with other credit exchange plat­forms in France, Spain and Switzerland.

While the car­bon credit mar­ket has been affected by sig­nif­i­cant abuses, the mar­ket-based solu­tion to curb­ing green­house gases con­tin­ues to be seen as an effec­tive way to com­bat the causes of cli­mate change.

The White House has announced new guide­lines to strengthen the car­bon off­sets mar­ket in the United States. The European Union also con­sid­ers car­bon mar­kets key to devel­op­ing greener agri­cul­ture.

According to Musardo, com­pa­nies are now much more atten­tive and dis­cern­ing about the qual­ity of the cred­its they buy.

They seek high-qual­ity projects that guar­an­tee trans­parency and account­abil­ity,” he said. Having one such project in Italy is par­tic­u­larly appeal­ing for our agri­cul­ture, as all invest­ments and prof­its stay in the coun­try.”


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