Agriculture Climate Markets Collaborative

The Issue

Agricultural soils are a large land-based sink for atmospheric carbon with additional potential to contribute to the sequestration of atmospheric carbon, though questions still remain as to the magnitude and rate of this mitigation opportunity. This potential has spurred a desire to connect growers with carbon markets to realize the environmental and economic value of agricultural practices. Concurrently, the markets are facing increasing scrutiny as well, given the evolving science, the necessity of mitigating our climate impact, and increasing public interest. For market providers to effectively and efficiently advocate for their shared interests, it has become imperative to identify and communicate about what, among the current and potential approaches, merits pre-competitive standardization and what public policies and programs should be in place to appropriately support the viability and competitiveness of these marketplaces.  

About the Collaborative

The Agricultural Climate Markets Collaborative is a voluntary group facilitated by the Keystone Policy Center to identify collective, precompetitive actions that could create more transparency and build trust in the marketplace; provide more coordinated and consistent feedback to protocol bodies, USDA, and others; and ultimately contribute to a clearer marketplace that can scale towards meaningful impact.

Principles for Transparency

The first step that the Collaborative has taken is to create a set of voluntary precompetitive principles for transparency for carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and ecosystem service credit program developers, and corporations with supply chain sustainability programs. The Collaborative hopes the principles unveiled today helps scale market-based climate solutions for agriculture by keeping both growers and buyers informed on each of the following:

  1. Farm and entity eligibility for programs
  2. Contract obligations for program participants
  3. Asset types generated by a program
  4. Standards used by the program developer
  5. Data required from program participants
  6. Models used to generate credits
  7. Ownership and transferability of the credits generated
  8. Program participant financial obligations and payments
  9. Data ownership and privacy
  10. Contractual implications of noncompliance and acts of God
  11. Required relationship between program developer and participant

Click here to read the detailed principles and issue explanations. The Collaborative will continue to address issues and challenges specific to applying market-based approaches to climate change mitigation in the agricultural context – with the intention to engage with stakeholders such as growers, carbon registries, supply chain companies, and the USDA.


The following organizations endorse the principles as best practice for the program developers of agricultural climate markets.

  • American Farmland Trust
  • Bayer
  • Corteva
  • Ecosystem Services Market Consortium
  • Indigo Ag
  • Nori
  • Nutrien
  • Regrow Ag
  • Soil and Water Outcomes Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Truterra

The following organizations contributed to the development of these principles.

  • EDF
  • Farmers Business Network
  • Field to Market
  • Strategic Conservation Solutions