Software giant Microsoft has agreed to buy 40,000 agricultural soil-based carbon credits from Indigo Ag, a single-transaction purchase record for the sustainable ag company. 

The credit purchase will help Microsoft reach its 2030 carbon-neutral goal. In 2022, Scope 3, or indirect emissions in the company's value chain, accounted for 96% of Microsoft’s total emissions, which the purchase will enable the company to offset in the future. 

The announcement came days after BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group announced it would sell Microsoft 8 million nature-based carbon removal credits through 2043. The credits will be delivered from TIG’s $1 billion reforestation and restoration strategy in Latin America. The companies called "the largest known carbon dioxide removal credit transaction to date." 

One carbon credit is equivalent to a ton of sequestered carbon.  

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Indigo Ag has the only current project that can generate soil enrichment protocol credits by both increasing soil organic carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Approved in May, Indigo Ag's is the first model to achieve independent expert validation and approval of the DayCent-CR model to measure credits. 

"Soil organic carbon restoration is vital to the future of food systems, economies and climate change mitigation,” said Brian Marrs, senior director of energy and carbon removal at Microsoft, in a news release. 

Credits sold in the Microsoft transaction were generated from Indigo Ag’s third issuance of carbon credits and verified by the Climate Action Reserve Soil Enrichment Protocol

Hundreds of farmers from 28 U.S. states sold credits to Indigo Ag for the company’s third carbon credit issuance. Reducing tillage, rotating crops and planting cover crops are a few of the practices farmers can implement or intensify to produce credits that can be sold to Indigo to improve the soil while generating additional farm revenue. 

According to the company's website, payment programs facilitated by Indigo Ag deliver at least 75% of the average credit price directly to the farmer. A minimum of $20 per credit is paid to farmers. About 6.9 million acres are enrolled in the U.S., and Indigo has issued nearly 300,000 credits.

To date, Indigo Sustainability Solutions has reduced and removed over 340 thousand tons of GHG emissions and saved over 19 billion gallons of water used in agriculture. The company has 18+ global credit purchasers, according to the website, including The North Face, New Belgium Brewing and Blue Bottle Coffee. 

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