The agricultural sector, as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, plays a crucial role in mitigation and adaptation efforts in the face of climate change challenges. Our work in climate supports companies in defining and meeting their Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG) targets and commodity scope, feeds into their carbon accounting and ensures that their implementation strategy is aligned with our Agricultural Commodity Responsible Sourcing (ACRES) approach, which engaging beyond supply chains is an integral part of.

Now more than ever, our clients are working to meet their net-zero and deforestation and conversion free (DCF) commitments, engaging in landscape and jurisdictional initiatives, and implementing regenerative agricultural practices that foster soil health, nutrient retention, and overall ecosystem resilience. We have become a member of the International Platform for Insetting (IPI) and are looking forward to contrbuting to the future of insetting.

Proforest and SBTi's Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG)

The DCF status of a volume can result in fewer Land Use Change (LUC) emissions embedded than conventional volumes. We support the estimation of emission reductions from certified volumes and volumes covered by supplier programmes, and are investigating the viability of attributing lower emission factors to negligible risk volumes without carrying out a full LUC analysis. Important variables we consider are the available traceability information and the cut-off date.

Regenerative agricultural practices can result in lower emission factors by using fewer resources and more sustainable land management approaches. Examples include reducing the use of fertilisers that release nitrous oxide to reduce emissions and implementing no-tillage practices to increase soil organic carbon storage. We support the setting of emission baselines for agricultural production, to monitor emission reductions and removals resulting from regenerative agricultural practices.

Landscape and jurisdictional initiatives, including conservation activities, regenerative agriculture and restoration of native vegetation can result in emission removals through carbon sequestration into the soil and biomass. We are investigating the carbon business case for landscape initiatives, by exploring how these carbon benefits can be linked to SBTi FLAG targets and identifying the main bottlenecks for landscape-level carbon accounting.

Lastly, by improving traceability in countries, jurisdictions, and sourcing regions with high emissions, a company will be able to capture the ongoing emission reductions from their supply chain interventions in their emission calculations.

Aligning DCF and corporate climate targets

Our thinking has gone into the development of practical pathways towards Deforestation and Conversion-Free (DCF) commodity production. For over a decade, we have supported global best practices in this space, and provided operational support to  companies at all stages of the supply chain, ranging from small producers to many of the largest retailers and manufacturers. Based on existing guidance, we developed a briefing that features our latest insights and recommendations to ensure companies develop strategies that deliver both climate outcomes and DCF supply chains: Aligning efforts to report and act on land use change emissions and commodity-driven deforestation and conversion.

Due to limited traceability and lack of individual company leverage in many commodity supply chains, we prioritise supply-shed, landscape and jurisdictional approaches as a way to overcome not just the lack of data but also other specific challenges to scale up emission reductions or removals through collective action. We apply our extensive on-the-ground experience to sourcing region interventions and traceability requirements towards meeting FLAG targets.

Landscape action beyond supply chains

Based on our experience working globally on ecosystem conversion and deforestation, transformation in the FLAG sector can only happen if companies take responsibility for supporting and driving change where they are currently sourcing from. Only as a last recourse, should the relocation of supply chains away from challenging production areas happen.

We work with companies to develop and implement interventions in the production landscapes where they source, on the ‘deforestation border’ of their primary commodities, or in their potential future supply chains. We are an implementing partner in several supply-shed and landscape initiatives, and have a catalytic role in the CGF Forest Positive Coalition, which requires companies to set KPIs for landscape investment and engagement. While conservation of forest and ecosystems is often the primary goal of these landscape investments, the question of GHG credits, claims and reporting remains an important challenge. Therefore, we have collaborated with our thinking on a joint position paper on Beyond Value Chain Mitigation (BVCM) in the FLAG sector, Incentivising Corporate Action at Landscape and Jurisdictional Scale, where we argue that BVCM should incentivise and accelerate corporate action and finance for climate change mitigation at scale in the places where it is needed the most.

Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS)

From our foundation, we have been closely involved in the development and implementation of credible voluntary sustainability standards and certification systems in several commodity sectors. We currently provide a range of support functions for certification systems and their users, including benchmarking against reporting and regulatory frameworks. We have actively contributed our thinking in conversations on traceability requirements in agricultural commodity supply chains, within the context of EUDR compliance, as well as GHG accounting, more specifically the rules being set out for accounting for certified commodity volumes. We are highly committed to contribute to discussions on this topic based on our longstanding relationships with major actors in this space including ISEAL, Bonsucro, RTRS, and RSPO.