Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans (SCALA) 

Private sector engagement in climate plans
©FAO/Heba Khamis
Why should agrifood companies engage with national climate plans?

Adapting to climate change impacts and mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions produced is a joint responsibility of both the public and private sectors. Country climate plans like nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) frame the pathway forward for scaling up climate solutions.

The NDC and NAPs outline commitments and actions needed in priority sectors, such as the agriculture and land use sectors. Given the right opportunities, agrifood companies and investors can play a critical role in meeting these climate action priorities by greening their supply chains, investing in climate-resilient goods and services, and crucially, by financing climate action.

The importance of the private sector is reiterated with around 41 percent of NDCs (submitted as of 31 July 2021), that identified private sector entry points for climate action. Yet, actual private sector engagement (PSE) in the NDC processes remains limited. Only 13 percent of 85 updated NDCs mention active engagement (FAO NDC Analysis).

There is a major financing gap for the agriculture, forestry, and land use (AFOLU) sectors, with less than 1 percent of private climate financing going to the AFOLU sub-sectors. While 85 percent goes to renewable energy. This signals emerging investment opportunities in this space for the private sector to play a more substantial role.

In addition to bridging the financial gap, the private sector is an important source of technical knowledge, human capital, and innovation. By working with the private sector, the public sector’s climate change interventions can target changes at multiple entry points in the agrifood system.  

With the right conditions, the private sector can play a vital role in implementing NDC/NAP priorities, while building a strong business case for doing so. For example, by aligning with the national adaptation and mitigation goals in a country’s NDC, agrifood companies can develop products and services – such as climate-resilient inputs, seeds, and irrigation technologies.

How and why can agrifood companies engage with national climate plans?

SCALA’s role

Private sector engagement is a core component of SCALA’s overall approach, featuring as a cross-cutting theme in each of the three programme outcomes, and with the third outcome focused on engaging the private sector.

The term ‘private sector’ encompasses a range of actors of many sizes and scopes. Within SCALA, different actors have distinct roles and are targeted based on their relevance to the various activities and interventions. SCALA’s PSE-related activities focus on:


These areas build upon UNDP’s Private sector strategy, which focuses on supporting governments to establish enabling policy and regulatory environments, while facilitating multistakeholder partnerships. They are also aligned with the guiding pillars of  FAO’s private sector engagement strategy, which aims to strengthen strategic partnerships with businesses, as well as scale up  efforts to support innovation, investments, and scientific expertise to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more about the SCALA programme’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy here.

Private sector engagement resources

Agrifood companies and relevant private sector actors are key partners in fulfilling the global agenda for addressing climate change. The SCALA programme has developed a Guidance note to map, identify and engage with private sector actors that outlines a three-step methodological process. The guidance (forthcoming) highlights how to identify the right type of private sector actors, how to prioritize them, and strategically engage with them in collaborative processes in NDC implementation.

In the Climate Resilience and Net Zero Guidance Report (forthcoming), SCALA collaborated with the Word Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its network of private sector experts to jointly draft a step-by-step approach that is specifically designed for agrifood companies interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions across their supply chains.

The UNDP and FAO published a Toolkit for value chain analysis and market development integrating climate resilience and gender responsiveness (2019), that provides an approach to identifying opportunities and prioritizing investments in these areas.

Finally, to scale up good practices and identify opportunities, the SCALA Private Sector Engagement Facility draws upon tools, emerging lessons and partnerships developed under the programme and provides support to up to 12 additional non-SCALA partner countries.