Climate-Smart Agriculture

About Climate-Smart Agriculture

Promoting climate change resilience is a fundamental part of long-term sustainability for smallholder farmers. Food and beverage companies often grapple with how to understand the risk that climate change presents to their farmer partners, suppliers and raw material supply security, and where to access reliable, relevant information. Sustainable Food Lab has compiled leading climate change solutions and resources developed by our collaborators to help these companies in their climate change mitigation.

What is Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA)?

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach for adapting agriculture under the new realities of climate change. The most commonly used definition is “agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs (mitigation) where possible, and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals” (FAO 2013).

You can learn more about climate-smart agriculture from the CSA 101 website, developed by the global Climate Change, Agricultural and Food Security consortium of the CGIAR. The CSA 101 website acts a step-by-step guide for implementing climate-smart agriculture, complete with a compilation of tools and resources. See specific Coffee and Cocoa climate-smart agriculture guides that are tailored to companies in those sectors.

Our Engagement in Climate-Smart Agriculture

Sustainable Food Lab is working with a number of research partners on decision support tools to answer the questions we hear companies asking about climate adaptation in smallholder supply chains. Sustainable Food Lab has also been piloting on-the-ground programs that support farmers to strengthen climate resilience and improve livelihoods.


Feed the Future Supply Chain Resilience

Sustainable Food Lab, in partnership with USAID, climate scientists at CCAFS (CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security) and the innovative agricultural lender Root Capital, built on the momentum of the Paris COP 21 to launch a learning community on private sector engagement in CSA. This activity had two overarching goals:

  1. Support private sector – global and local agribusiness – engagement in CSA;
  2. Strengthen USAID and others’ capacity to stimulate investment and partner effectively with the private sector in the CSA arena.

Early mover companies were interviewed at the onset of the program to gain insight into how to best develop and implement tailored climate-smart strategies. These initial discussions resulted in a diagnostics toolkit for understanding climate exposure risk, evaluating costs and benefits of climate-smart practices, and assessing the capacity of small- and medium-scale enterprises to facilitate farmer adoption of climate-smart strategies. Private and public sector actors collaboratively addressed key questions about CSA engagement and how best to scale climate-smart value chains worldwide in the learning community.

This community supported the creation of a CSA 101 website, Case Studies and two USAID programs in Cocoa and Coffee.

More information about these initiatives can be found on the Feed the Future Private Sector Engagement in CSA agrilinks webpage.

Organizations shown above are partners in the Feed the Future Supply Chain Resilience program.

Case Studies

The following resources were created as part of the Supply Chain Resilience initiative, a collaboration between CCAFS (CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security), Root Capital, the Food Lab and our many NGO and private sector partners.


Coffee Farming

Alliance for Resilient Coffee

The Alliance for Resilient Coffee (ARC) is a collaboration between 7 NGOs and research institutions. ARC members, including the Food Lab, are aligning the latest climate research and practical tools to unlock investments from the coffee sector in climate-smart agriculture. Learn more about the RC here.

The Climate Smart Coffee website was created with the ARC by CIAT and the Food Lab to increase private sector engagement and funding in smallholder farmer resilience against climate change.  Designed to guide medium-sized and large companies who buy from and support smallholder coffee value chains, the website identifies relevant areas of engagement and investment. The website highlights information from leading knowledge platforms like coffee&climate, Global Coffee Platform, Specialty Coffee Association and Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge. It also includes research by the USAID Feed the Future Alliance for Resilient Coffee, CCAFS Mainstreaming Climate Smart Value Chains initiative and other key partners.


Cocoa Farming

Climate Smart Cocoa Website

The Climate Smart Cocoa website is designed to guide anyone working with smallholder cocoa production to identify relevant areas of engagement and investment in climate change adaptation. It houses resources to help users understand climate-related risks of cocoa production and to guide climate-smart action. Created by CIAT and Rainforest Alliance/Utz, the website includes a risk assessment tool that gives specific guidance on climate change in cocoa areas.

Contact Us

Other Projects

Sustainable Food Lab

Partner With Us

As a partner with Sustainable Food Lab, you will be part of a network of global thought leaders from diverse organizations committed to making impactful changes in the food system.
Learn more

Sustainable Food Lab Newsletter

Get the latest news and updates when you subscribe to the Sustainable Food Lab Newsletter.

Newsletter Form

We promise not to spam, ever.