December 22, 20227 Minutes

COP27: Agriculture in focus

This year’s COP27, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, came with its usual post-Paris Agreement agenda: to work together defining a path to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. At its heart, the COP continues to seek the acceleration of global climate action through emissions reductions, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance. What was unusual, however, was that food and agriculture took centre stage with the first official Food and Agriculture Pavilion – a significant addition to the agenda. The primary aim of the pavilion was to emphasise the transformation of agrifood systems and the need to speed up the green transition. Indeed, with a growing population dependent on resources intensely exploited to diminished returns – depleted and endangered by the likes of climate change, war and land-use change – addressing food security and the future sustainability of agriculture is critical for the health of both people and planet. 

Agreena was extremely honoured to join the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine at COP27 and take part in discussions from the Ukraine Pavilion, specifically on Ukraine’s success and challenges regarding digitalisation in the agricultural sector and how it’s being used to promote climate-smart agriculture.

Our team on the ground at COP27 consisted of our Chief Science Officer, Nate Torbick and Carbon Accounting Specialist, Tomasz Kowalczewski, together with Head of Corporate Business Development, Jennifer Hanser. Here is what Nate and Tomasz had to say about the conference: 

What were your key takeaways from attending COP27?

Nate: In general, a key takeaway from the negotiations at COP27 is that water and agriculture gained more attention this year and clearly needs to be part of the solution. No one technology or pathway will “fix” climate change, so we need to scale up many actions to create real impact.

From my experience with the Ukrainian delegation, the Ukraine pavilion stood out as powerful. The delegation had over 100 different soil types on display ranging from bright sand to black chernozem to scorched earth. Interspersed were physical and digital illustrations of the Russian aggression and impacts on agriculture and everyday life in Ukraine. Very powerful and meaningful overall. 


Tomasz: For me the first takeaway is that joining the party delegation to the UN negotiations is a privilege, and from that I think we received some credit of trust. Our being invited by the Head of Ukraine Delegation reflects all the work we’ve done in the country.

Another thing that struck me personally at COP27 was the Ukrainian pavilion itself. It was clear that the form of the pavilion was referring to the current war going on in Ukraine. It was presented as a statement, mentioning how Ukraine has been striving to become a green hub for energy in Europe, although these efforts are now blocked by war. It was moving.

This COP turned its attention to the vital issue of agriculture in the context of climate change.

What were some of the shared insights that stuck with you?

Nate: Agriculture is a cross-cutting theme. It touches climate, water, health, livelihoods, biodiversity, security … for billions of people every day. The global community is now beginning to see agriculture as a potential partner to fight climate change and support a more sustainable society. 

This COP had representation across verticals and supply chains, so now we need to keep momentum, embed green technology and inform policy for win-win outcomes. The SME and commercial industry need to bridge the last mile and bring innovations to market. Public institutions can be partners and facilitators, but it will require private markets operating to really make an impact.  


Tomasz: Agriculture as a sector is becoming very important during global negotiations, but all countries are cautious to put some mitigation objectives on this sector, as it can lead to food scarcity. Therefore, it seems that promotion of regenerative agriculture principles can bring some emission reduction benefits and still maintain a level of productivity. 

A couple of years ago, the climate change fight was dominated by the governments. The latest IPCC report shows that current mitigation efforts are far from sufficient to meet the 1.5-degree target. It requires more global involvement, including all actors from all sectors, to create momentum for wide-scale climate action. 

Agreena fits into the COP-related big picture by offering an innovative solution to establish a carbon programme that focuses on agricultural soils. There are few similar and serious programmes in the world that are doing it, so Agreena is bringing forth our solution in dialogues as a real example that it’s not only possible, but doable.  

Some have said that regenerative agriculture has flown somewhat under the radar in the face of all the energy concerns at COP27.

What are your closing thoughts?

Nate: There’s been a lot of buzzwords being used in this space – clean energy, efficient buildings, EVs – that high-profile politicians typically get in the headlines. However, if you take a holistic view across emissions, sinks, finances and cross-cutting impacts, regenerative agriculture is gaining mainstream traction. We have to be vigilant that, in these next few years, we don’t get lost in debate and instead focus on eliminating any potential greenwashing using best-in-class science. It’s really all about impacts and that’s where regenerative agriculture just works.


Tomasz: When it comes to most, if not all, climate change conferences, the topic of energy has always taken the lead. But now, agriculture has shown that it can be a major player and is in fact right behind energy when it comes to the hierarchy of climate influences.