DUBLIN, Feb 23 — Irish brewer Guinness announced the launch of an agricultural pilot programme today to reduce carbon emissions by its barley suppliers and offer a more environmentally friendly pint.

Under the scheme, which begins this year, the drinks manufacturer will work with 40 farms in Ireland to reduce carbon output in their production of barley, one of the key raw ingredients used to make the famous stout.

The collaboration with a range of Irish farmers and suppliers is expected to expand over the course of the next three years and hopes to lead to better soil health, less use of synthetic fertilisers and enhanced biodiversity.

Walter Furlong Junior, whose farms in southeast Ireland are involved in the scheme, said his family was “delighted to be partnering with Guinness on this programme”.

“The great thing about regenerative agriculture is the simplicity of the approach. It’s not a complicated process — it works in harmony with nature whilst providing a commercial benefit for farmers,” he added.

The pilot — part of an initiative by Guinness’ multinational parent company Diageo — has the backing of the Irish government.

“It is welcome that one of Ireland’s most iconic brands is taking a strong leadership position on farming and the environment, as we all work towards reducing carbon emissions and meeting our ambitious but necessary climate change targets,” agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue said.

Diageo’s Europe president John Kennedy said the pilot scheme would inform how the company would source its raw materials around the world.

“We will openly share the results from the pilot programme so that other farms can learn and adopt practices that have demonstrated the highest potential impact,” he said. — AFP