Swiss Re part of European Carbon+ Farming coalition with bold plan to decarbonise Europe’s Food System

Planning with insurance and innovative risk transfer solutions will help the agricultural sector change to more sustainable and de-carbonised practices.

Climate change is having a substantial impact across the world, with rising temperatures, disrupted water supplies and flooding. The World Economic Forum's Nature and Net Zero Consultation Report estimates that today there are tens of millions of environmental migrants and by 2050 approximately one billion people will live in countries that do not have the resilience to deal with expected climate-related ecological changes.

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use contribute to about a quarter of global emissions. Whilst agricultural practices have been around for hundreds of years, population growth, cost efficiency and increased competition have resulted in multiple unsustainable practices within the food system that need to be curbed to reduce the negative impacts on our planet.

Agriculture in Europe is today responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is a significant contribution to Europe's ability to remain within the Paris Agreement target. Catalysed by the World Economic Forum’s CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, organisations representing every step of the food value chain have come together to form the European Carbon+ Farming Coalition.

The world’s soils are the second largest carbon sink and there is strong scientific evidence that on-farm technology and improved choice, coupled with the widespread adoption of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices – such as no-till, cover crop and nutrient and manure management - can reduce GHG emissions through avoidance and sequestration, while improving agriculture’s significant impact on nature.

The ‘Carbon+ Farming Journey’ project will take a farmer-centric approach with partners focused on increasing the uptake of regenerative and climate-smart agriculture practices, identifying the roadblocks to adoption, designing solutions with economic, practical and ecological benefits to farmers. It also will work to develop financial tools to empower farmers in managing transition risk and recommend the right set of farmer incentives.

The intention of this group is to work together to decarbonise the European food system, and is an example of how planning with insurance and innovative risk transfer solutions will help a sector change to more sustainable and de-carbonised practices.

Insurance is traditionally seen as a mechanism to compensate, and absorb the shocks and costs of the unexpected, but it also helps to remove risk, which can make investment more attractive and accelerate change. Hence, insurers can play an important role in enabling positive change by de-risking the investment required and providing cover for residual risk.

“As a global re/insurer, Swiss Re has contributed to the agricultural sector resilience for many years with innovative risk transfer solutions. Today we want to help the sector transition towards a decarbonised future; we understand there are risks associated with this critical phase and the insurance industry can be a catalyst and a partner in this transformation. We believe the Coalition allows an effective mobilisation of technical competencies, risk insights and co-ordinated market forces to help transform Europe into a leading example of an adaptive, equitable and climate-resilient society, and we will play our part.”  Veronica Scotti, Chair, Public Sector Solutions, Swiss Re