Economic and Policy Analysis of Climate Change
©FAO/J. Micaud

The EX-Ante Carbon-balance Tool for value chains (EX-ACT VC)

The EX-Ante Carbon-balance Tool for value chains (EX-ACT VC) is a quantitative multi-appraisal tool that aims to support policymakers in identifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along an agri-food value chain. It analyses GHG fluxes from farm-gate-to-shelf, as well as potential entry points for socio-economic improvements at each stage of the value chain, allowing the projects and policies for low carbon value chains.

It calculates GHG emissions throughout the value chain analyzed, covering all production phases from processing, storage, packaging, to transportation at the retailer-door. It also allows for the accounting of emissions at production level, whenever they can be derived from other tools / software, such as EX-ACT (in tCO2-eq per tonne of product).

EX-ACT VC proposes a flexible approach where the user maps the assessed value chain, identifies the actors involved and the different activities they perform. The analysis of project benefits is conducted by comparing two scenarios: a “current” situation at the present, and a “planned” scenario that project seeks to achieve. The tool calculated GHG emissions at each stage of the VC downstream the value chain; the analysis can include the farm-level emissions coming from the FAO’s EX-ACT, which quantifies the land-based emissions associated with production. The socio-economic component of the EX-ACT VC includes on- and off-farm performance assessment of creating value added, income levels and basic employment statistics, among other indicators.

Furthermore, the tool contains a set of economic indicators to evaluate the profits (wealth accumulation) of the actors operating in the value chain, and estimates the number and nature of direct and indirect jobs created along the value chain. It also includes an estimation of food loss, an assessment of gender and youth participation in the value chain and an SDG tracker.

By analyzing agri-food value chains, policy makers and researchers are able to better understand how economic, social and environmental dimensions are intertwined. This is an important step, which allows for identification of areas for potential improvement along an agri-food value chain.

The EX-ACT VC tool, derived from the EX-ACT tool, is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology, augmented with methodologies from peer reviewed literature to cover the sectors and actors in the value chain.

  • A set of linked Microsoft Excel sheets.
  • Structured in four logical modules (start, commodity tracker, off-farm GHG assessment, and socio-economic assessment), with result sheets.
  • Comparing two scenarios, a “current” and “planned”.
  • It uses a Tier 1 approach with IPCC default values and other peer-reviewed literature, and Tier 2 for more refined data, if available.
  • Micro- and meso- project level analysis.