Food & Agriculture Working Group

The Food and Agriculture sector is directly responsible for around one quarter of the total global CO2eq emissions. Despite increasing action in many areas, the intrinsic complexity of the sector requires further cooperation to catalyse and scale effective solutions. Kicking off in 2023, the Value Change Initiative is hosting a Food & Agriculture Working Group to remove barriers to account, report and claim Scope 3 decarbonisation interventions, and with this accelerate the transition to a Net Zero sector.

The Challenge

The Food and Agriculture sector faces increasing pressure to decarbonise. While it needs to transform to grow and feed nearly 10 billion people, it must lower GHG emissions and serve emerging competitive uses. Despite this, the Food and Agriculture sector continues to be one of the top emitting sectors. The biggest seven global food companies have shown a 7% increase in GHG emissions in their CDP reporting from 2020 to 2022[1], illustrating the magnitude of the challenge.

Some of the most pressing issues that companies in the Food and Agriculture sector face in terms of Scope 3 action are:

  • Lack of clarity on what to expect from upcoming standards and regulations, and inconsistent interpretation.
  • Ambiguity on how to support transparent co-claiming and how to avoid double counting in Scope 3 interventions.
  • Lack of consistent guidance for relevant Scope 3 categories for the sector, for example Category 11: Use of sold goods.
  • Lack of agreed upon methodologies to account for Food and Agriculture specific interventions such as land use change and crop rotation.

Objective & Outcome

The Value Change Initiative has been working to develop sector-specific solutions in collaboration with its members since 2017. This year, the VCI launches its fourth iteration of the Food & Agriculture Working Group, continuing to address sector-specific needs and challenges and co-create solutions to catalyse Scope 3 action. The Working Group aims to extend the existing Value Chain Guidance[2] to ensure it supports the realities and complexities of Scope 3 accounting in the Food & Agriculture sector. It builds on the latest technical guidance gaps and previous Working Groups to answer remaining open questions.

The topics explored in the Working Group are collectively defined and developed by the participants and cover concepts ranging from accounting for specific topics such as crop rotation and land use change, understanding the implications of other categories such as Category 11: Use of sold goods, enabling co-claiming and avoiding double counting for Scope 3 interventions.  As a final output, the Working Group will produce documents that can serve as a sector-specific extension to the Value Chain Guidance[2]. After capacity-building and paving the way for Scope 3 accounting and reporting in our previous Food & Agriculture Working Group, this year we aim to catalyse the transition towards Net Zero value chains by removing specific barriers identified for Scope 3 interventions.

Approach & Timeline

The Food & Agriculture Working Group is structured in five thematic sessions (online and in-person) designed to lead participants from concept introduction and capacity building all the way to application, reporting and verification. Verification pathways and pilots are optional and determined on a case-by-case basis with an additional fee.

The sessions combine expert presentations, break-out discussions and interactive demonstrations, allowing participants to share and collaborate with each other to further their understanding of the Value Chain Guidance and its application to Food & Agriculture interventions. By presenting their own strategy, interventions and the challenges or issues they may face during implementation, Working Group participants identify common themes and develop shared solutions or conclusions. The final session structure and topics explored throughout the Working Group will be developed through a co-design process with participants.