Low Carbon Coffee and Cocoa Assessment (short-term consultancy multicountry)

  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Part-time
  • Contract type: Consultancy contract

Company Description

SNV is a not-for-profit international development organisation that applies practical know-how to make a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty. We use our extensive and long-term in-country presence to apply and adapt our top-notch expertise in agriculture, energy and WASH to local contexts. SNV has over 1250 staff in more than 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We are proud to be a not-for-profit organisation that uses project financing to implement our mission. This requires us to work efficiently and to invest in operational excellence.

In its new Strategic Plan period (2019 – 2022), SNV will more explicitly aim for systems change during project preparation and implementation - by strengthening institutions and kick-starting markets that help many more to escape poverty beyond our projects. We will continue to position ourselves as a premium organisation and invest in making knowledge flow to and from the frontline.

For more information on SNV, visit our website: www.snv.org

Background information

SNV and WWF (Origination Partners) are part of the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD www.thedfcd.com ) a consortium that provides support (Finance (debt/equity) and Technical Assistance) to private investment propositions with a focus on climate change adaptation and whom have the ability to mobilize external private sector funding at scale.

The DFCD allows for investments in projects aimed at climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The Origination Partners, as part of the Origination Facility, provides support in the identification and the development of business investment ideas, together with local companies and stakeholders, into bankable business projects with a landscape focus which can subsequently be picked up by the Finance Facilities (Water and Land-use) for further development, matchmaking and investment. The DFCD presents an important additional instrument for the Dutch government’s efforts in contributing to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Currently the DFCD Origination Facility and OLAM International have the intention to develop concrete business investment cases in Laos, Nigeria, Zambia, and/or Uganda. As a preparatory action there is a need to do a quick assessment of the enabling environment and challenges/opportunities for private businesses to engage in enhancing low carbon and inclusive coffee/cocoa value chains. Olam has operations in smallholder coffee and cocoa origins across the tropics. These smallholders are exposed to climate change but also contribute to carbon emissions through crop production and processing, as well as emissions originating from the degradation and conversion of forests and wetlands. Whereas Olam agronomists are already seeking to advice farmers on how to reduce their carbon footprints at the field and farm level, the company believes that it could also support climate change mitigation and adaptation at the landscape level through conservation and the restoration of natural ecosystems. This could potentially be financed through the generation of carbon credits.

Job Description

SNV seeks an experienced short-term consultant to do a rapid assessment of opportunities for creating carbon credits (e.g. tree planting and/or avoided emissions) in the production landscapes of smallholder commodities, such as coffee and cocoa. Numerous multinational coffee and chocolate companies have in 2020 announced their ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the roadmap to achieve these ambitious targets is unclear and requires innovation, investment, and above all a change of practices by farmers in the landscapes where these commodities are produced. Farming communities supplying these commodities are already exposed to climate change shocks and require adaptation. We seek to identify opportunities to help farming communities to adapt to climate change while simultaneously reduce their product footprint. Potential carbon credits generated will help the coffee and cocoa industries to reduce their SCOPE-3 carbon footprint, which will require carbon sequestration in their sourcing operations.

Opportunities to reduce the carbon footprints of coffee and cocoa can be achieved through:

A.    Pre-harvest practices: the adoption of improved agronomy to improve yield and planting of (shade) trees at field- and farm-level can help reducing the product footprint while increasing resilience through climate change adaptation.

B.    Post-harvest: the emissions of methane and nitrous oxides from anaerobic processes in wet residues at central processing facilities can be reduced through a shortening of the anoxic conditions and a re-use and upcycling of waste materials.

C.   Landscape and community-level efforts for carbon insetting by (i) supporting tree planting, (ii) avoiding degradation of natural forests/wetlands, and (iii) use of low-carbon technologies (e.g. energy-saving cookstoves). Such efforts can be the basis for carbon credits while reducing smallholders’ reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

The Origination Partners would like to deepen their understanding and ability to influence pathway C in particular. We seek an expert that can help with a multi-country assessment for coffee and cocoa landscapes in Laos, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria. Challenges and opportunities for carbon in-setting at landscape and community-level need to be identified. This requires (i) mapping of emission hotspots at landscape level, (ii) identification of the relevant stakeholders managing or owning these landscape units, (iii) understanding the needs and behavioral drivers of these stakeholders, and (iv) the identification of the institutional (i.e. legal and traditional) barriers and opportunities that allow the (potential) development of carbon credits at landscape level, (v) an early assessment of the viability of the business case of the development of a carbon credit product.

Whereas the four countries and two commodities mentioned above represent a diversity of local contexts, we believe that the roadmap to the development of successful climate change mitigation (i.e. carbon credit) and adaptation interventions has a common set of principles, challenges and opportunities that need to be identified prior to the detailed project design and implementation plan. Our aim is to develop a set of guidelines / framework that helps scope the potential for viable carbon projects that serve both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Key areas to be addressed 

Low carbon commodity assessment (includes but not limited to):

  • ADAPTATION NEED: Map farmer exposure to (i) climate change and climate shocks, (ii) their current adaptation practices, and (iii) opportunities to improve climate resilience, and (iv) reduce dependency on natural ecosystems (e.g. wetlands, forests). In particular, assess the vulnerability of climate change and shocks on vulnerable populations (women, migrants, minorities) in the landscape.
  • MITIGATION POTENTIAL: Assessment of potential carbon credits in the production landscapes, based on (i) identification of emission hotspots/risks, (ii) identification of related actors, (iii) understanding of farmers needs, (iii) formal and informal governance structures that underpin stakeholder behavior opportunity to develop carbon credit at the level of the production landscape – mitigation/abatement options and interventions, scale (volume) of abatement potentials in identified landscapes, actions and time scale required, stakeholders and actors involved, and potential co-benefits and negative impacts.   

Key deliverables:

  • Final report providing analysis and guidelines for the design of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects at landscape- and community level in the four target countries, including the development of landscape-level carbon credits. (max 10-15 pages)
  • On-line presentation (PPT) to SNV-WWF and OLAM.

Main activities:

  • Review of existing open source information to for landscape and carbon assessments and data collection;
  • On-line Interviews with local stakeholders, including growers and local communities’ representatives
  • Coordination with SNV DFCD Business Investment Officer and other SNV DFCD team members and including WWF and Olam.


  • Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline
  • At least 5 years or more of experience in smallholder landscapes and carbon credit assessment.
  • Proven experience with private sector agric business investments
  • Good networker with established relevant network that can provide key inputs for this consultancy (as travelling is not foreseen due to short term assignment and international travel restrictions due to COVID pandemic.
  • Proven relevant experience in at least 2 of the 4 countries (preferable)
  • Proven experience with the successful design and implementation of carbon credit projects in developing countries.

Additional Information

Contract duration

  • Short-term consultancy 
  • Effective consultancy days: 30 days, during the period of October 15 -November 30, 2021


Multi-country: Laos, Nigeria, Zambia, and Uganda


If you believe that your credentials meet the outlined profile, we invite you to apply by uploading your CV (in EuropeAid format) before 1st October 2021 by clicking on the link: I'm interested'. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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