Leading companies commit to action in climate smart agriculture – essential to achieving Paris Agreement goals

Unilever, Olam, Barry Callebaut, Syngenta, Rabobank and the We Mean Business coalition spearhead CSA 100, which aims to close the emissions reduction gap and limit temperature rise to well below 2-degrees C 

Singapore, 24 October 2018: Today, CEOs from a number of member companies belonging to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)  launched CSA 100, a new global initiative designed to accelerate climate smart agriculture across the food and agriculture sector, in order to bring the sector into closer alignment with the ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement.  

CSA 100 is being launched at the WBCSD Council Meeting in Singapore, as global leaders call on corporations around the world to accelerate and increase their climate efforts across food systems.

CSA 100 aims to bring together 100 leading companies to make science-based and measurable climate smart agriculture commitments to 2030, across three pillars:

1. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes;

2. Adapting and building resilience to climate change; and

3. Reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions.

The founding companies of CSA 100 include Unilever, Olam, Syngenta, Rabobank, Barry Callebaut and a range of supporting organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the We Mean Business coalition and the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.

The effort builds on existing sustainable agriculture and climate commitments, including a growing number of science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. These complement existing national commitments which currently fall well short of the 2-degree Celsius warming target.

Making progress on mitigation in the food and agriculture sector is particularly crucial, as it represents 25% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is also the sector most vulnerable to climate change, and yet it must grow substantially in order to meet the daily nutritional needs of 10 billion people by 2050. 

Companies joining CSA 100 will develop science-based and measurable targets across the three pillars of climate smart agriculture. This will help CSA 100 to contribute to the achievement of:  

  • Food productivity: increase global food security by making 50% more nutritious food available via increased production on existing land, protecting ecosystem services and biodiversity, bringing degraded land back into productive use and reducing food loss from field to shelf. 
  • Climate change resilience and adaptation: strengthen the resilience of agricultural landscapes and farming communities so that they can more successfully adapt to climate change and enhance the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.    
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation: commit to a net GHG reduction and carbon sequestration target aligned with the science-based targets for agriculture that aim to limit global warming to 1.5 – 2 degrees Celsius. 

Quotes

“CSA 100 is another initiative from business that is generating the momentum that is needed to address key issues around climate and food. In addition to accelerating climate mitigation work, CSA efforts speak to the full intent of the Paris Agreement- building resilience, reducing food loss and waste, supporting gender equity, and improving food security and adaptation. Many WBCSD member companies are already leading in this area, and we look forward to seeing many others join this important movement.” Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD.

“Climate smart agriculture will improve our global food security in the face of an unpredictable climate, and help us to achieve the broad ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Through CSA 100 we will define a path for producing the food we need for a growing population, while improving the livelihoods of farmers, regenerating agricultural landscapes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Sunny Verghese, WBCSD Chair and Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam

“Food systems, which shape the journeys of foods from farms, forests and oceans, will not respond to silver bullets. They need to be viewed and shaped from multiple perspectives. They require people and organisations from all walks of society to come together in food systems alliances to identify ways to move forward on multiple fronts at several levels.  I applaud the leadership shown by the business community through CSA 100 to drive such an alliance and ensure food security nutrition is supported through climate change initiatives.” Dr David Nabarro, winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

“One of the key goals for the agricultural sector must be to sequester carbon in soils and to restore original, highly biodiverse topsoil levels. We need agriculture to become more resource efficient so that more land can be used to restore forests and sequester even more carbon. Climate Smart Agriculture, through sustainable soil management practices, optimized water use, and improved crop technologies is an effective way to achieve this goal. With the CSA 100, we intend to work with a range of different organizations to help farmers adopt CSA. Helping farmers to be climate smart will contribute to ensuring we can provide enough safe and nutritious food for a growing population while also taking care of the planet.” Alexandra Brand, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta.

"As part of our Forever chocolate plan, Barry Callebaut has committed to becoming carbon positive and forest positive by 2025. Signing the CSA 100 commitment is a further expression of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to limiting global warming to below 2 degrees. If we would not commit to this level of ambition, not having chocolate anymore is going to be only one of the smallest concerns." Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut.