Carbon insetting for coffee and cocoa companies

What is carbon insetting? And how can you work with us to benefit your company, smallholder farmers and the environment?

Our Climate Heroes carbon insetting programme works with companies to cut carbon emissions in coffee and cocoa supply chains that originate with smallholder farmers in Colombia, Nicaragua, Kenya and Uganda.  

Run by Solidaridad, ACORN, Cool Farm Alliance, Fairfood, and &ranj, the Climate Heroes project aims to link 100,000 smallholder farmers to Rabobank’s ACORN carbon platform. This will reduce and sequester carbon emissions to limit climate change, while tackling poverty by enabling farmers to earn from their on-farm carbon interventions. The project is supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

What is carbon insetting, and how is it different from carbon offsetting?

Carbon insetting means reducing or removing carbon that’s directly related to your company’s own supply chain. In the context of our specific programme, insetting activity must be verified or certified in accordance with an independent standard, and create positive impacts for communities, landscapes and ecosystems.

Carbon offsetting, on the other hand, is a way for companies to purchase carbon credits that represent a reduction or removal of greenhouse gas emissions outside of their value chain.

Investing in insetting projects generates many additional benefits to those that carbon offsetting programmes offer.

How can carbon insetting benefit your company, and those in your supply chain? 

  • Investing in the reduction and removal of carbon emissions when and where they occur. This means your company can take direct responsibility for your products’  emissions along the supply chain.
  • It contributes to transparency and traceability, which is important for compliance with legislation. 
  • It allows your company to create stronger relations with your suppliers, supporting a more resilient supply chain.
  • It supports the farms and farmers you work to become more resilient thanks to the additional income they receive from carbon sales. In turn, they’ll be able to produce better quality and higher quantities of products, as well as improving supply stability.
  • Both legislation and society on a broader level (including your customers and shareholders) have growing expectations for you to ramp up your climate strategies and to set and achieve climate targets. Insetting enables your company to fulfill climate objectives (removals and reductions) and the expectations of those who matter to you.
© Solidaridad/Inti Ocón/Raices Colectivo

To purchase carbon removal units from ACORN, a company needs to have:

  • an approved science-based target aligned to limiting a global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees and/or 
  • a written strategy in place to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and/or 
  • proven greenhouse gas reduction (publicly available or available to Rabobank) and therefore wishes to purchase certified carbon removal units from Rabobank to compensate for inevitable greenhouse gas emission.

What is the ACORN platform and how does it work?

ACORN is an innovative marketplace developed by Rabobank that lets smallholder farmers sell carbon removal units, to companies who want to offset their carbon footprint (in the future this will also include options for insetting).


To find out more and get involved, email Annelot van Leeuwen at

Programme partners

Rabobank recently developed its ACORN platform to allow smallholder farmers to sell carbon credits to companies to offset their carbon footprint (read more above). Rabobank is responsible for recruiting companies to buy carbon removal units and for maintaining the platform.

Fairfood uses its Trace platform to carry out carbon insetting work, allowing businesses and consumers to track products and link them to information regarding carbon and other information, like income.

Cool Farm Alliance created the Cool Farm Tool to measure on-farm carbon reduction and sequestration. Within this project, Cool Farm Alliance is building a method and model that enables their tool to calculate and monetize soil carbon.

Progreso Foundation supports coffee and cocoa producer organizations to access finance, capacity building and facilitate access to markets. They operate the Beyco trading platform on which buyers, sellers and financiers can connect. We use this platform to connect trades and marketplayers to carbon removal units and other information generated on ACORN.

&ranj are experts in the field of behavioral change. They research people’s behavior using knowledge of gamification. Game-based systems improve our intrinsic motivation, address biases, remove obstacles and give clear feedback on our actions. We use this expertise to give farmers the knowledge and skills they need to switch to carbon farming and to keep them motivated from when they start the programme to receiving their first financial reward.

Four Solidaridad offices are involved in the programme; Solidaridad Nicaragua, Solidaridad East and Central Africa (Kenya and Uganda), Solidaridad Colombia and Solidaridad Europe. Read more about us.

Further reading