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The Science

Exchange has been developed by a team of industry experts, scientists and farmers resulting in a full methodology across 6 key indicators to measure a whole farms impact on the environment.

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How we approach our science

Measuring environmental outcomes is complicated. To ensure the credibility and constant improvement of how we measure sustainability in Exchange, we always:

Make sure our measurement methodology is open to critique

Commission a leading scientist to review our methodology each year

Work with farmers, scientists and industry to ensure the metrics work for everyone

Peer review the methodology by an independent scientific advisory panel

The methodology

After working with over 500 farmers in 2022/2023, we've taken everything we've learnt and significantly upgraded the methodology for 2024. The result is an approach that not only improves our accuracy, but is data that we believe will make farmers more resilient and unlock new funding opportunities for the industry. 

Methodology front cover

Download the current 2024-25 methodology

Unlike other providers who might just use remote sensing to assess your farm, Exchange validates this with on farm surveys and field sampling. Combining the best of both worlds.

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The metrics

You can see here the full list of metrics that we cover on every farm that goes through the service.  If accessing Exchange for free via 'Exchange Explore' then some metrics may not be included.

Soil Health
Biodiversity
Water
Animal Welfare
Social
Carbon
Soil Cover %
Hedgerow assessment
Flood risk prevention
Welfare outcomes
Land access
Sequestration in soils
Soil Texture
UKHAB 2.0 habitat mapping
Nutrient runoff
Antibiotic usage
Community engagement
Sequestration in woodlands
C:N Ration
Non-farmed habitat ratio
Nutrient balance
Food production
Sequestration in hedgerows
pH
Biodiversity connectivity
Water usage
Sequestration in trees outside of woodlands
Earthworm count
Grassland/arable flora species abundance
Emissions
Bulk density
Bird species abundance
VESS
Biodiversity practice score
Soil organic matter
Soil Health
Biodiversity
Water
Animal Welfare
Social
Carbon
Soil Cover %
Hedgerow assessment
Flood risk prevention
Welfare outcomes
Land access
Sequestration in soils
Soil Texture
UKHAB 2.0 habitat mapping
Nutrient runoff
Antibiotic usage
Community engagement
Sequestration in woodlands
C:N Ration
Non-farmed habitat ratio
Nutrient balance
Food production
Sequestration in hedgerows
pH
Biodiversity connectivity
Water usage
Sequestration in trees outside of woodlands
Earthworm count
Grassland/arable flora species abundance
Emissions
Bulk density
Bird species abundance
VESS
Biodiversity practice score
Soil organic matter
Green Fields

Independent science advisory group members

The science advisory group reviews the methodology each year before it is published. It is an independent group working towards ensuring Exchange is backed by rigorous and up to date science and chaired by Dr Abigail Barker.  

Name
Job
Dr. Siobhan Mullan
School of Veterinary Medicine - University College Dublin
Prof. Sir Charles Godfray
Director, Oxford Martin School
Prof. Andy Neal
Microbiologist, Soil Systems Research Scientist. Net Zero and Resilient Farming - Rothamsted Research
Helen Avery
Director, Nature Programmes and GFI Hive - Green Finance Institute
Prof. Rich Mitchell
Professor - MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit
Prof. Jeremy Webb
Director - National Biofilms Innovation Centre

Ensuring cross-industry collaboration

We have partnered with the Sustainable Food Trust's Global Farm Metric as official delivery partner in the UK.  

The Global Farm Metric is a common framework to understand, measure and monitor the state of farming systems globally. The GFM enables organisations working towards a just transition to support farmers to align around a shared view of farm-level sustainability. The partnership enables further close alignment together with on-farm trials and an alignment on two core principles of: 

  1. Always being farmer first

  2. Whole farm, holistic measurement is fundamental

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