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China, Brazil should link up on green agriculture
Building on trade deals, both can foster innovation, efficiency, low-carbon transition
The Asset 20 Feb 2024

China and Brazil should push to harmonize their national criteria for green agriculture as part of both nations’ transition towards low-carbon agriculture, according to a recent report.

The partnership between the two countries in the agricultural sector is strengthening due to the China-Brazil agricultural trade partnership, which will last for 30 years, finds the Comparison Study of Chinese and Brazilian Agriculture Criteria: Harmonizing Green Standards in the Agricultural Sector report published by Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). Importantly, trade, via this partnership, enables the use of local currencies in bilateral trade and financing activities, such as investing in low-carbon and clean technologies. 

The report delves into the green agriculture policies, sustainable agriculture investments and low-carbon agricultural activities between these two agricultural powerhouses. Agriculture, it points out, represents 25% of Brazil’s GDP and 16% of China’s. China is the largest consumer of agricultural products and simultaneously the world’s largest producer of grains and fruits. Meanwhile, Brazil ranks among the top producers, leading in the export value of such products, with China as its primary market. 

The report, CBI says, aims to:

  • provide the groundwork for both nations to create a shared framework for green agriculture
  • foster consensus on investment and collaboration in green agriculture
  • bolster connectivity across international taxonomies for green agriculture and direct more international capital into sustainable agricultural sectors.

China, the report notes, emphasizes the adoption of low-carbon agricultural technologies, such as enhancing the efficiency of fertiliser use, reducing methane emissions, managing livestock manure, optimizing the use of straw and improving the energy efficiency of machinery.

On the other hand, Brazil places a premium on land rehabilitation, intensive livestock management, the establishment of a crop-livestock-forest farming system and tropical cultivation techniques to combat climate change. 

Recognizing common challenges of land degradation, pollution and climate change, the report finds, China and Brazil share policy priorities. Both nations are committed to enhancing the efficiency of resource use, agricultural productivity and climate change adaptation, and modernizing agriculture.

Establishing green agriculture criteria for Brazil would facilitate the interoperability between the two countries. Both focus on decarbonizing soil use and harnessing the potential for forest carbon sinks, agricultural carbon sequestration, traceability within the value chain and biodiversity conservation.

Also, climate-adaptive and -friendly infrastructure development must be incorporated into the criteria, the report argues, as a critical foundation for efficient and high-quality agricultural production. 

Offering a roadmap for the collaborative pursuit of a green transition and sustainable development, the report makes seven actionable recommendations:

  • creating a clear framework for green agriculture practices, investment and financing activities
  • identifying areas of symbiosis in the agricultural sector and intensifying focus on innovation and research and development in relevant agricultural science and technology
  • establishing agreements to support investment and financing for sustainable agriculture, outlining shared objectives and principles
  • directing capital flows by developing proposals for incentives, such as a China-Brazil special fund for green agriculture, and prioritizing green lending by financial institutions
  • reducing transaction costs via innovative approaches, including public-sector funds and green financial products, to create a conducive financial environment for investments in green agriculture
  • encouraging collaboration in matching projects, identifying climate-related risks, and exploring investment opportunities in low-carbon agriculture.
  • enhancing dialogue via long-term and stable communication channels between China and Brazil,  and fostering offline interaction opportunities and exchange programmes to share best practices and knowledge.

“Brazil’s commitment to sustainable agriculture is evident in the many initiatives aimed at increasing the efficiency of the agri-productive sectors,” states Sheila Alves, CBI’s agriculture programme manager for Latin American and the Caribbean. “By prioritizing efficiency and innovation, Brazil is shaping a future where agricultural practices harmonize with nature. Together with China, we are forging a path towards a greener and more sustainable agricultural landscape."

Shaoxin Li, CBI’s China agri-transition lead, adds: “China is at the forefront of climate finance and has leveraged it to support agriculture in addressing climate change and fostering biodiversity. China and Brazil, sharing a common goal of building a resilient and sustainable agricultural pathway, are poised to achieve significant milestones through joint efforts.”

Giuliana Auinger
Giuliana Auinger
partner, sustainability business division, HK and SE Asia
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