Investing in healthy soils – Curse and blessing of private sector financing and carbon offsetting

WWF Germany

Time: Wednesday, 26. January 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Languages: English, German

Healthy soils are the assets of our farmers. Investments in healthy soils are consequently investments in the future. The (financial) market “C-sink soil” is booming. However, there is often a lack of specifically tailored financing options for a shift to sustainable agricultural practices that also preserve our soils and restore and improve their fertility.

And this despite the fact that this can support climate change mitigation and adaptation and forms the basis of healthy food.

We want to discuss what is possible, what approaches and initiatives are already in place, and provide real answers as to what needs to be done by the relevant stakeholders (politics, trade, agriculture, financial sector) to establish and implement new funding opportunities.

One much debated approach is partial financing from carbon permits to capitalise on the added value of soils as carbon sinks. Therefore, we will also take a critical look at the subject of Net-Zero and CO2 offsetting and present alternatives.

We believe that funding climate-friendly measures entirely by means of private-sector financing instruments can only be a temporary solution. Such private-sector instruments are always made available on a voluntary basis and, in most cases, only a comparatively small group of holdings that follow a proactive approach makes use of them. As described in the Farm to Fork Strategy, incentives must be offered both by the CAP and private initiatives to achieve the European climate goals. In order to reach as many farms as possible, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) also holds potential for making the subsidies granted contingent on the delivery of climate-friendly environmental and system services.

The aim of this panel is to increase awareness among the political actors involved for the topic in general and the potential, but also the challenges associated with it, to put them in contact with important stakeholders, and to provide them with adequate information so that they will take an interest in further advancing the subject by initiating possible research or on-site implementation projects.


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Jonas Aechtner is Advisor for Agricultural and Landscape Financing at WWF Germany, where he is responsible for their work with banks on deforestation-free and sustainability criteria, as well as developing sustainable business cases and bankable projects in the land-use sector, with a focus on smallholder agriculture. His regional focus is southeast Asia. Previously he has been working on responsible investment policy, sustainable land management and rural development in Asia, central, and south America. He holds a Master’s degree in International Development from Lund University Sweden.

Panel Guests

Rolf Sommer is director of the department of Agriculture and Land Use Change at WWF in Germany. Before joining WWF he was Principal Scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Nairobi, Kenya.


Developing and finding sustainable management solutions addressing the complexity of achieving food and nutritional security, sustainable agricultural development, the conservation of nature, biodiversity and agro-ecosystem functioning has been at the core of Rolf’s work ever since. This includes protecting or rehabilitating soil fertility and health at field level, improving the livelihoods of smallholders through improved, competitive and eco-efficient productions systems at farm level, biodiversity, nature and landscape protection and rehabilitation at the watershed /regional level, and carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation at global scale.
Rolf holds a PhD in Agronomy and a MSc in Biology, and in the last 18 years have published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and numerous conference proceedings and online publications (see

Sigrid Griese studied organic agricultural sciences. She has been working in the Bioland research department since 2014 at the interface of accounting and agricultural practice with a focus on the topics of sustainability analysis and climate protection and adaptation. In this role, she leads and works on projects that deal with the assessment of environmental performance in agriculture. The project results are incorporated into advisory services, new policy instruments or concepts for trade. She also works as an advisor for climate and sustainability in the Bioland Association.

Malin Ahlberg is Deputy Head of the Division “European Climate and Energy Policy, European Climate Initiative, Carbon Markets”, at BMUV, transitioning to the new Ministry of economic affaires and climate action.

She has been working in the field of carbon market and carbon pricing for fifteen years. In the division she is responsible for the subject areas of carbon pricing and international market mechanisms. Malin is a director of the German Foundation “Future of the Carbon Market” which was established by the BMU in 2010. In addition, Malin is the German focal point for the Partnership for Market Implementation (PMI) of the World Bank and helped found the Carbon Market Platform in 2015. Before she started her carrier at the ministry, she worked as a scientific expert at the German Emissions Trading Authority commissioned research projects in the field of global carbon market issues. Malin is a degreed engineer of the technical university of Berlin.

Jan Köpper is heading the department on impact transparency & sustainability at GLS Bank Germany. In his role Jan is responsible for the conceptualization, coordination and implementation of societal impact measurement and management, the analysis and translation of sustainability risks, the sustainability assessments in corporate loan transactions as well as the integration of sustainability related processes in internal sustainability and bank management in the GLS Group. Following posts at the business network CSR Europe in Brussels and the sustainability rating agency imug/VE in Hanover he joined GLS Bank in April 2018 to start is current position.

Jan Köpper is founding director of the Peer School for Sustainable Development e.V. and chairman of Cluster e.V.. He has published numerous articles and media contributions. He also looks after the memberships of the GLS Forum for Sustainable Investments (FNG), B.A.U.M. e.V. and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking (UNPRB).

She is a senior technical specialist in IFAD leading knowledge work and project design and implementation support in key areas relate to natural resources management such as: strengthening local institutions for natural resources governance and management; vulnerability analysis and building and monitoring resilience capacities of rural households; and support for small-scale producers in transition to agroecology and sustainable food systems. Prior to joining IFAD she has worked for the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) supporting rural communities, CSOs and governments in the design and implementation of rural development and environmental projects.


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