This research area has three components: scaling up low emissions development (LED) policies, financing, and incentives; private-public partnerships for supply chain governance in agriculture-forest landscapes; and an exploratory scoping of mitigation through efficient food systems.

Key outputs for CCAFS LED work on policy, incentives and finance for scaling up low emissions practices are:

  • Evidence for policy, economic, finance, social and other feasibility measures that enable scaling up LED among different farmers, production systems and countries. Includes identification of commercially viable interventions in priority product value chains and analysis of the impacts of public policy and private sector initiatives.
  • Technical and policy guidance or standards for supply chain and landscape-scale performance that support scaling up low emissions agriculture.  Includes good practice guidelines, methods for assessing stakeholder compliance with commitments, information platforms for business opportunities for green investment and engagement with private and public sector.

1. Scaling up Low Emissions Development

Little experience and information is currently available about which private and public sector policies, financing, and incentives best support the long-term adoption of low emissions practices. Barriers such as lack of credit and extension services, weak local institutions, unclear benefits to the farmer, and local power distributions—particularly between men and women—limit farmers’ abilities to innovate. Crucially, these barriers also make it harder for farmers to adopt new practices that help them adapt to and mitigate climate change. 

CCAFS Low Emissions Development initiatives develop and test approaches for integrating mitigation into national agricultural development programs, sustainability initiatives and private sector investment to support large-scale implementation of low emissions agriculture. CCAFS fills gaps in information about the incentives, finance and business models, enabling conditions and accountability needed to implement low emissions development.

Key research questions are: What evidence is needed to inform policy, incentives and finance and overcome adoption barriers to lead to successful farm-level changes in practices at large scales, especially to inform good agricultural practices and integrated crop management? How can promising mechanisms such as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), public-private institutional arrangements, support for farmer innovation and sustainable intensification or sustainability standards be improved to facilitate farmer-led, large-scale change? What are their costs? What conditions enable new practices by women and men farmers, farm advisers, and supply chain actors? How can inclusiveness and the influence of women farmers in the design of mechanisms be improved?

2. Responsible finance and standards for supply chain governance

Research shows a large potential decrease in emissions from agriculture is through reducing deforestation and conversion of peat lands. CCAFS Low Emissions Development (LED) will advance knowledge of commodity supply chain governance to incentivize forest conservation and assess compliance in practical ways in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry (FTA). Responsible finance based on supply chain standards and private sector commitments for zero deforestation and reduced emissions can provide an incentive for alternative practices; yet the challenges to implementing private sector commitments remain high, and evidence for the impacts and improvement of supply chain governance poor.

The work improves generalizable models for finance and standards for commodities, and improve the coherence between national and local LED governance. CCAFS focuses on supply chain governance related to agriculture (e.g. soy, beef), and FTA is focusing on governance for timber and high-value trees crops (e.g. oil palm, rubber). CCAFS supply chain governance activities take place in the Brazilian Amazon, and pending funds, Indonesia, and the Congo Basin. Findings are shared with the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDSGP) Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (AFOLU) working group and UN-REDD, and business platforms.

Key research questions are: How do public regulations and incentives interact with corporate policies and pledges to create incentives for improved sustainability practices by producers? How can technical information and inputs be made available to all landholders (from large to small) to transition to LED? What are the most promising public and private arrangements at the national and sub-national level combining supply chain interventions and territorial-based ones for reducing deforestation and forest degradation? Is there scope for hybrid arrangements as a way for up- and out-scaling?

3. Reducing food loss and waste

Globally ~1/3 of food is lost or wasted, contributing to ~8% of annual GHG emissions, and food waste will increase further with diet shifts and increased incomes. Reducing food loss and waste therefore has a high potential for reducing emissions in certain subsectors, and may even contribute to alternative energy production.  This research explores the evidence for how much mitigation could be achieved by reducing food loss and waste, drivers for food loss and waste in supply chains important to mitigation, and strategies for reducing food loss and waste to achieve food- and nutrition- secure food systems while also reducing emissions.

Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) is leading this work in partnership with the Champions 12.3 Coalition and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.

Research questions include: Which supply chains have high emissions footprints due to food loss and waste in developing countries? What are the causes of food loss and waste in those supply chains? What are promising cost-effective interventions (e.g. infrastructure with lower emissions footprints, regulation and accountability mechanisms in the private sector) and their potential impacts on food, nutrition and emissions?