Carbon Delta evaluates the climate resilience of companies and their assets, and is supported by EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Booster Flagship Programme.

The problem

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that global warming is likely to provoke extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. This will affect food supply chains and prices, as well as the livelihoods of food producers.

While climate change is acknowledged as a major global risk, many businesses and organisations are unprepared for its effects. Quantifying the risks to food production would allow businesses to protect themselves and their suppliers.

The solution

Carbon Delta is a financial technology firm based in Zürich that evaluates the climate resilience of organisations and their assets. It has developed a quantitative model to help organisations understand the risks they face over the next 15 years.

 “If you can predict these events it gives a whole new perspective on crop-planning and engagement with farmers,” says Carbon Delta’s head of development and co-founder David Lunsford. “Understanding the long-term trend of a country or region means you can manage your supply chain risk, rather than simply respond to problems.”

In research funded by EIT Climate-KIC, Carbon Delta and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are using detailed crop yield data and weather modelling to quantify the risks to parts of the supply chain of a major cocoa producer.

The data is being integrated into the Potsdam Institute’s agricultural climate models, after which Carbon Delta will both identify risks and propose ways to mitigate them, from sustainable farming methods to more efficient processing equipment.

The impact

Identifying risks and implementing measures to reduce them is likely to benefit businesses, supply chains and farming practices.

“If you educate farmers about how to enhance nutrients in their soil, for example, then a small decrease in the water supply may not have such an impact,” says Lunsford. There is a social benefit here, too. Small-scale farmers can be vulnerable to even small hits to the quantities they are able to sell. Improved land stewardship and better farming practices help maintain their livelihoods, as well as strengthening food security when disaster strikes.

EIT Climate-KIC’s role

Carbon Delta and the Potsdam Institute formulated the project and submitted it to EIT Climate-KIC’s CSA Booster Flagship programme in response to a call for proposals in August 2016. Carbon Delta’s participation in the programme has brought more benefits than just funding, according to Lunsford.

“One of the really nice things Climate-KIC does, at least for the CSA Booster, is they have meetings every three or six months and you get to sit with other participants and hear about each other’s projects,” he says. “They do a good job in keeping everyone focused and creating an atmosphere where people can learn from each other.”