Corporate Social Responsibility

The private sector wants and needs ways to offset the environmental damage that economic activity brings. Many companies have made public, standards-based goals and commitments to reduce their environmental footprint and are working hard to meet these commitments in a science-based, standards-based approach. Farmers and ranchers can provide more of those offsets if they can also prove their actions are effective.

ESMC has convened technical experts from across its membership and outside organizations to run the world’s most exhaustive pilot projects to increase soil carbon sequestration, reduce greenhouse gases, improve soil health, and improve water quality and water quantify. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that agriculture accounted for about 22 percent of world greenhouse gas production in 2017. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says roughly 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions currently come from agriculture.

ESMC is a public-private partnership with over 60 members who include farmers and ranchers and agriculture commodity organizations, as well as food and beverage companies, agribusinesses, and non-profit environmental and conservation organizations across the agricultural supply chain and value chain.

Our members, particularly the food, agriculture, and beverage companies, are the primary buyers of our assets. Our market program provides corporate partners and buyers with certified outcomes to meet their own commitments toward carbon neutrality or net-zero carbon goals, commitments to reduce their environmental footprints and supply chain footprints and efforts to contribute to global Sustainable Development Goals 2030 impacts.

ESMC’s national scale program creates a centralized, technologically advanced platform to support our members’ ambitions to continue investing in sustainable, equitable, just, and environmentally sustainable food systems. Our program infrastructure serves all buyers and sellers in the agricultural supply chain and value chain and negates the need for every company and every producer to make the investments in market infrastructure or tools and technologies themselves. ESMC provides assurance to these buyers that they can cost-effectively meet their goals and obligations through a transparent, science-based, and certified program to ensure credibility of these outcomes to their consumers, stakeholders, and shareholder expectations.

For more information on our approach, please see:

Scope 1 and Scope 3

ESMC generates multiple, stacked credits and assets for use in one of two existing ecosystem service markets—what we refer to as the Scope 1 or voluntary carbon offset markets (and analogous water quality markets), and the Scope 3 or corporate supply chain reporting market (for greenhouse gases, and increasingly, for water). This concept of different “scopes” is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute.

Buyers generally have stated commitments to reduce both Scope 1 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions and can buy offsets to account for Scope 1 emissions reductions. ESMC’s program can generate Scope 1 offsets for purchase and can also support corporate interventions in their supply chain to help generate credible claims (which we call assets) about reduced greenhouse gases or increased soil carbon achieved. One example of a Scope 1 offset: a food company might pay for carbon stored in the soil by farmers, however, Scope 1 offsets can come from anywhere, including from areas totally unrelated to a company’s activities.

Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions reductions or increased soil carbon sequestration, on the other hand, come from sources not owned or directly controlled by a company, but related to their activities. Scope 3 must reduce a company’s footprint associated with the products (e.g., corn) purchased by the company, and must come from the supply shed that the product was purchased from. Claims cannot exceed the volume of product purchased from that supply shed.

When ESMC’s market program launches in 2022, producers will enroll in Scope 1 or Scope 3 projects. Payments will depend on the specific asset being sold to either the Scope 1 or 3 market, and the market will dictate the value for each of the producer’s ecosystem services.

ESMC connects buyers and sellers in our linked market program to help meet demand in both markets in a credible, transparent, certified program.

You can find a full list of ESMC members here.

© 2022 Ecosystem Services Market Consortium

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