This webinar and Hackathon was an opportunity to scale up finance for soil carbon by bringing together communities that usually don’t communicate (finance, soil carbon, and measurement). It was more than another technical or financial webinar on soil carbon; it's the frontier of system transformation.

Watch the recordings and view presentations below or check out the event resource site

Enhancing soil health can contribute to improving agricultural productivity as well as soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration. UNFCCC’s Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, Sustainable Development Goal 15 and the Land Degradation Neutrality framework demonstrates the increasing attention of policymakers to the importance of SOC for land productivity and food security. In addition, the 4 per 1000 Initiative has been promoting a global partnership intending to facilitate efforts across multiple stakeholders to promote action at all levels to increase SOC stocks globally.

Despite the broad international attention, a large gap remains between the potential of SOC sequestration and implementation of practices on the ground. As the investment community seeks to improve its climate impacts, many organizations are asking how to best support the implementation of those practices. Diverse opportunities for public and private finance exist and are emerging. For example, the UNCCD set up the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund as an “impact investment fund blending resources from the public, private and philanthropic sectors in support of achieving LDN through sustainable land management and land restoration projects undertaken by the private sector worldwide.”

Major constraints are the need for transparent, accurate, consistent and comparable methods for accounting changes in SOC stocks and net GHG emissions, notably through the use of new technologies, as well as the need to enable a standardized approach at low transaction costs. Promising approaches combine pragmatic and user-friendly tools with site-specific modeling and make use of geospatial data sources and blockchain technology.



The webinar's aim was to support investment-oriented actions promoting soil health and carbon storage by improving the accounting of soil carbon sequestration. We sought to answer the question: How can soil carbon accounting improve to support investment-oriented actions promoting soil health and carbon storage? The event brought together multilateral development banks, private banks, and other investors, donors, and implementing organizations with developers and providers of tools and project standards, to share experiences and develop solution pathways for enhanced investment and SOC accounting.

Over 1,000 individuals registered for the webinar and over 500 participated in the webinar.


The purpose of the Hackathon was to develop recommendations for soil carbon accounting approaches that match the needs of the finance community. This activity built on the webinar.

The Hackathon took place over two days. On Day 1, key resource people from the webinar event were invited to discuss novel accounting approaches with experts from the finance community. On Day 2, participants “hacked” or tackled four real-life soil carbon projects to develop methods.

Four active soil carbon projects that sought guidance on soil carbon accounting were "hacked" – from TNC, World Bank, and 4per1000 – demonstrating different aspects of soil carbon activities. Background information on the projects was available to the participants prior to Day 1. See here for project background information. Around 35 individuals participated in each day of the Hackathon

The webinar was open to the public and the Hackathon was by invitation only. Presentations for both events can be found below.


Webinar session 10 September

Session 1 - The need for soil carbon accounting

Objective: Identify needs of the finance community and issues in linking finance and soil carbon accounting

Welcome and introduction – Ciniro Costa Jr., CCAFS

Overview of agenda – Tim Mealey, Meridian Institute

Keynote presentation: Investing in soil carbon sequestration: Overview of opportunities and challenges – Deborah Bossio, The Nature Conservancy

Setting the scene:

  • Linking public support to agricultural producers to soil health – Martien van Nieuwkoop, World Bank Group
  • Technical accounting: Essential aspects of carbon accounting systems and challenges – Keith Paustian, Colorado State University

Session 2 - Soil carbon accounting frontiers

Objective: Learn from emerging experiences linking investment and soil carbon accounting

Verra – development and management of standards for sustainable development and climate action goals. Stefan Jirka, Manager LandScale.

Indigo – unlocking carbon markets through research and entrepreneurial community efforts. Dan Harburg, Director

Dagan, Inc – estimating soil carbon sequestration using remote sensing. William Salas, President of Dagan, Inc

Nori – blockchain-based two-sided marketplace to measure, verify and trade soil carbon sequestration. Aldyen Donnelly, Director of Carbon Economics

Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) - leading US and international NGO's, companies, and experts. ESMC quantifies and generates assets and credits for improved soil carbon, net GHG emissions and water quantity. Debbie Reed, Executive Director

Carbon Farming Initiative - Emissions Reduction Fund – the Australian government scheme, including methods for crediting soil carbon eligible under a national target in line with the Paris Agreement, Beverley Henry, Institute for Future Environments-QUT

Bayer: Climate Field View - Precision farming tool combined with remote sensing and sensors, Pamela M. Bachman, Digital Agriculture & Sustainability Lead, The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer

RECSOIL: Recarbonization of global soils, Ronald Vargas, Global Soil Carbon Partnership - FAO

Closing remarks – Paul Luu, 4per1000

Hackathon 17 & 24 September

Day 1: Deep Dives on Emerging Accounting Options


  • Identify the state of the art for different soil carbon accounting approaches and issues that need to be addressed for these approaches to be used by the finance community.
  • Develop a collective understanding among participants of available approaches to prepare for the hacking session.
Welcome and introduction – Nkulumo Zinyengere, World Bank

Summary of webinar results – Ciniro Costa Jr, CCAFS

Facilitator plan for “virtual table” deep dive discussions – Tim Mealey, Meridian Institute

Finance community needs – Chandra Shekhar Sinha, World Bank

Deep dives into soil carbon accounting for investment needs

Tables discuss and present emerging best accounting practices for each topic area and what is needed to make these useable by finance for carbon accounting: low cost, low uncertainty and reliable SOC accounting.


  1. Summary of state-of-the-art of practice;
  2. Applicability of methods to finance sector or adjustments needed;
  3. Recommendations to address issues.

Table 1 – Measurement (previously Remote-sensing, model-based, and activity-based groups)

Table 2 – Accounting design group (previously accounting innovations and cross-cutting innovations groups)

Tables present their outputs
Closing remarks – Lini Wollenberg, CCAFS

Day 2: The Hack - Developing an innovative soil carbon accounting approach

Using case projects provided by TNC, 4per1000, and World Bank, participants with different expertise (agricultural practices, soil carbon accounting, private and public sector, and investments) were grouped into tables to develop a soil carbon accounting approach for reducing accounting costs and uncertainties to achieve investor needs. The output will inform TNC, 4per1000, and World Bank projects. A synthesis was produced.

Introduction – Facilitator, Tim Mealey
Synthesis from Day 1 (Finance Needs and Way Forward for MRV) - Ciniro Costa Jr.

Participants apply soil C accounting methods on projects


  1. What is the approach for soil C accounting for this project?
  2. How can soil C accounting be improved to attract finance?
  3. What are the priority practical next steps for this project?
Groups present their solution

Participants discuss pros and cons of the “alternative” SOC accounting approach, including:

  • Issues arising
  • Further information needed
  • Ideas for next steps
Closing remarks – Lini Wollenberg, CCAFS

Sponsoring organizations

This event is co-organized by CCAFS, The Nature Conservancy, 4 per 1000 Executive Secretariat, World Bank and the Meridian Institute.

Recordings and Presentations


Hackathon Day One: Deep Dives

Hackathon Day Two: The Hack