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Private sector can help promote agricultural climate change mitigation

Private sector engagement can promote food security and affect the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Photo: Bill Zimmerman/Flickr
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Mar 15, 2012

by

Cecilia

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and supply agreements in the agricultural sector have a significant role to play to promote agricultural climate change mitigation and decrease pressure on the earth’s land and climate. Private sector engagement can also promote food security and positively affect the livelihoods of smallholder agricultural producers in developing countries. This states the latest of our working papers “Corporate social responsibility and supply agreements in the agricultural sector: Decreasing land and climate pressures” (PDF) by Gabrielle Kissinger, Lexeme Consulting.   

Emissions along the supply chain often represent an agribusiness brand manufacturer’s biggest greenhouse gas impacts—in some cases representing as much as 90% of the emissions profile. While companies that identify high-risk agricultural raw materials in their supply chain, set aggressive time-bound targets and goals for their sourcing and supply arrangements are at the forefront of corporate leadership in this area, the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry may be great.

Based on a comprehensive literature survey and 15 interviews with key organizations, companies and financiers or lenders, the working paper investigates the following areas:

  • Current private sector climate change mitigation activities in agriculture and food production, highlighting current innovations affecting production and supply chains of key commodities;
  • Explores how CSR and supply chain commitments can improve their contribution to reductions in agricultural GHG emissions; and,
  • Surveys the role of governments, finance and investment in promoting sustainability in the agricultural sector.

Key findings identify a strong need for:

  1. Harmonization among product standards, certification and by commodity roundtables,
  2. Mainstreaming sustainability criteria in agricultural finance and lending activities.
  3. Supply chain interventions that hold potential to shift entire supply chains and value chains.
  4. Tangible outcomes by industry-led initiatives that directly link retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, such as the Consumer Goods Forum, for wider sectoral engagement around key commitments (such as zero net deforestation and fulfilling purchasing commitments of certified high-risk agricultural raw materials).
  5. Promotion of traceability for certified products, support systems throughout the supply chain, and further strategies for engaging traders and processors and importantly, growers.

To learn more about this topic, download CCAFS Working Paper Corporate social responsibility and supply agreements in the agricultural sector: Decreasing land and climate pressures (PDF) here.