Field Notes: ICVCM launches its global benchmark; Rabobank optimistic on poultry markets; Fort Lauderdale has $35m for farmland; and GIIN’s ag impact benchmark

ICVCM launches its global benchmark; Rabobank is optimistic on poultry markets; Fort Lauderdale has $35m for farmland; and GIIN’s ag impact benchmark. Welcome to Field Notes, the start-of-the-week briefing for our valued subscribers only. Tips and feedback to:  

First look

The ICVCM has positioned itself as the voluntary carbon market’s independent governance body (Image: Getty)

Carbon market governance   
The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) has launched its global benchmark for the certification of high-integrity carbon credits.

The Core Carbon Principles are an attempt by the ICVCM to “provide a credible and rigorous means of identifying high-integrity carbon credits that create real, verifiable climate impact, based on the latest science and best practice.”

Ten-point verification: The CCP is made up of 10 core principles that are broken down into the three broad groups of governance (which is made up of 1. effective governance, 2. tracking, 3. transparency and 4. third-party verification); emissions impact (which comprises 5. additionality, 6. permanence, 7. robust quantification of emission reductions and removals, 8. no double counting); and sustainable development (which includes 9. sustainable development benefits and safeguards and 10. contribution toward net zero transition).

What this means for the carbon market: The ICVCM is a private sector-led initiative and is the product of the Mark Carney-founded Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets.

As such, the benchmark will have to compete for a place in the voluntary market.

Independent governance body: The ICVCM has tried to position itself as the voluntary market’s independent governance body (which it sorely needs) from the get-go. It has been structured in such a way that established verifiers such as Verra and Climate Action Reserve can apply for verification, as well as individual projects managers who want ‘high-integrity’ certification on an ad-hoc basis.

They said it

“At a time of ongoing economic downturn and pressure on consumer spending power, poultry meat will remain the preferred protein among consumers”

Rabobank has projected a positive outlook for the global poultry market due to strong consumer demand and falling feed costs


Avian flu threat to poultry’s resilient outlook
Rabobank’s second quarter poultry outlook has projected “relatively strong” conditions ahead at a time when economic downturn has highlighted the protein’s status as the cheapest category of meat.

Plant-based demand erosion: Lead author Nan-Dirk Mulder wrote that although strong demand will continue and competing proteins are expected to remain more expensive, higher prices amid challenged economic conditions are forcing some low-income consumers in Asia and Africa back to cheaper forms of plant proteins.

The other ‘AI’ threat: The outlook highlights the continued spread of avian influenza as a key wild card for global poultry markets. It notes the disease has in recent months spread rapidly across Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and poses a threat to the Southern states of Brazil, which house 60 percent of that country’s production.

“If AI hits some of these states, the potential impact on global trade could be big,” said the report. “Major importing countries may choose to change their sourcing, benefiting alternative exporters like the US, the EU, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Thailand and China. This would result in higher prices and for some submarkets, like breast and whole birds, there would be insufficient supply, which would have additional bullish impact in prices.”


Fort Lauderdale has $35 million for farmland
The City of Fort Lauderdale General Employees’ Retirement System has issued a request for proposals for firms capable of managing a $35 million farmland allocation.

The $709.7 million Florida pension’s RFP is being administered through a questionnaire managed by New York-headquartered investment consultant Dahab Associates.

May 12 deadline: The 16-page questionnaire includes requests for information about firm personnel, performance and strategy along with ag-specific investment philosophy questions relating to soil type preferences and historical discrepancies between land appraisals and sales, among others. Submissions are due by May 12.


GIIN launches agriculture benchmark pilot
The Global Impact Investing Network has launched a pilot impact performance benchmark focused on agriculture through its IRIS+ Core Metrics Sets, which is an impact measurement tool that GIIN has developed over the past decade.

Comparing apples with apples: The non-profit is soliciting submissions from investors through the data collection portion of IRIS+ through June 9. GIIN says the benchmark will allow managers to compare impact performance of their ag investments with their peers and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Co-founder Amit Bouri told Agri Investor in 2020 of a survey conducted in support of its Understanding Impact Performance: Agriculture Investments report, in which 84 percent of respondents highlighted an inability to compare their own impact performance with peers as a key market roadblock.

One language for ag impact: “While there are a lot of ways to express intentions around impact, IRIS+ is designed to translate those intentions and aspirations into real impact results,” Bouri said. “By getting the world to speak the same language through IRIS+, that allows us to do the types of analysis and comparisons that answer the fundamental questions on the minds of investors, including allocators.”

Agtech fundraising

  • Vytelle, a precision livestock start-up, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Forage Capital Partners led the round and was joined by Mountain Group Partners, Grosvenor Food & Ag Tech, Open Prairie, Fulcrum Global Capital, Serra Ventures and KC Rise.
  • Locus Fermentation Solutions, a start-up that produces biological alternatives to chemicals, raised $117 million in funding. The IP-insurance backed debt financing Markel, Liberty Specialty Markets, CNA, Aspen and Fidelis all participated.
  • Babylon Micro-Farms, a start-up that provides technology for vertical farming systems, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Venture South led the round and was joined by Virginia Venture Partners, Hull Street Capital and New Theory Ventures.
  • Brizo Data, a provider of insights to foodservice suppliers and vendors, raised $12 million in Series A funding in combined venture capital and debt.
  • Zero Cow Factory, a biotechnology company producing animal-free protein and dairy products, raised $4 million in seed funding. The round was led by Green Frontier Capital, GVFL and pi Ventures, with participation from Pascual Innoventures.

Also in the news…

  • Platinum Equity acquires majority share of Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment
    The Tarter family remains a minority shareholder. Financial terms were not disclosed (Cision).
  • Mill Point acquires horticulture packaging firm NSI
    The private equity firm targets the industrials, business services and IT services sectors (PE Hub).
  • Australia Wants to Turn Wilderness Restoration Into an Investable Market  
    Some are questioning whether there be demand for a so-called biodiversity credit (WSJ).
  • Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners’ Mark Zenuk nominated to be non-executive chairman at Bunge
    Zenuk joined the finance and audit committees at the agricultural giant in 2018 (Bunge).

Today’s letter was prepared by Binyamin Ali, Chris Janiec and Daniel Kemp.