CASH Coalition Newsletter #2, October 2023

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We are excited to update you regarding the progress we are making to advance inclusive nature-based solutions to the climate crisis that benefit smallholder, indigenous, and other local communities in the Global South. Our actions and progress are only possible with investments of time and expertise by our members and partners. A remarkable culture of mutual respect and action is already paying dividends.

Organizational Updates

Since our July newsletter, we have welcomed Digital Green to the Coalition. Digital Green brings a wealth of experience applying digital solutions to boost the productivity of smallholder farmers and extension workers and a strong record of developing and scaling innovation to serve farmers in the Global South. Digital Green works with 54,000 extension workers and 2.3m smallholding households on three continents. 

We also welcomed Encourage Capital, an investment firm that leverages investment capital to solve critical environmental and social problems, as our active collaborator. Representatives of Encourage attended our London meetings in June as invited experts and have since become formal partners to the Coalition. Encourage is proving extremely valuable to our carbon markets-facing activities, adding expertise, experience, insights, and deep relationships. We are jointly and intensively engaged in the design of CASH’s Carbon Portfolio (more detail below).

[As is evident from this blog post] Our website is up and running! Please let us know any suggestions (or oversights). Also connect with us on LinkedIn! We intend to use LinkedIn as our primary channel for updates and announcements. 


The Vitol Foundation recently committed $400k to the CASH Coalition over two years to support our general operating expenses. This generous new commitment brings our total funding to approximately 75% of what we need to support our core operations through April 2025. Going forward, our fundraising focus will shift to sourcing philanthropic and capital investments to catalyze the CASH Carbon Portfolio and other actions to accelerate regenerative agricultural transformation and our ambitions to reform the carbon financing market.

Action Updates


To better understand how smallholder farmers perceive their agency to mitigate climate change, we surveyed over 1600 farmers in 10 countries working with our member organizations. The results were illuminating: nearly all farmers expressed willingness to adapt or improve their farming practices to address climate change. We also found that a significant majority were concerned about observed impacts of climate change. These insights reshape the conversation, underscoring the active role vulnerable communities in the Global South are willing and able to play to advance climate solutions. We presented the headline findings of our research at a CASH-convened event at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, and on our blog. A full analysis will be published as a Farmer Voice Report.


Our June meetings in London paved the way for the Coalition to pursue a new, catalytic smallholder-focused portfolio of carbon projects to boost prices and income for smallholding, indigenous, and local communities while addressing structural concerns that currently undermine the effective functioning of carbon markets and their ability to meet the financing needs of regenerative agriculture and smallholder solutions. We’ve made substantial progress in finalizing abbreviated and detailed Concept Notes on CASH’s ambitions and proposed activities in this sub-sector. This work has been enriched by the valuable input of Encourage Capital and expert knowledge from Eric Wilburn, who is a specialist in building and financing nature-based carbon projects and portfolios from the ground up.


On 4 September, on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS), CASH curated a private “Cocktails and Conversation” bringing together individuals and organizations committed to including smallholders and championing land- and nature-based solutions to the climate crisis. We were thrilled to connect with potential members, partners, and collaborators and host like-minded organizations, including USAID, ACORN Rabobank, Skoll Foundation, Dovetail, Syngenta Foundation, Sekem, Regen Organics, Tomorrow Now, Varaha, PxD, and many more who joined us to explore avenues for collective action. During the event, we shared findings from the CASH Farmer Voice Survey. The report’s insights were well-received as important for amplifying the voices of farmers eager to contribute to climate solutions. 

On 7 September, CASH members (CASH secretariat, Acceso, CAP-A, Digital Green, Landesa, One Acre Fund, Root Capital), partners (Encourage Capital) and potential partners (Rabobank Acorn, Regen Organics) convened in a hybrid space (in-person in Nairobi, and online) for an all-day working meeting to advance the Coalition’s ambitions to create a portfolio of smallholder prototype carbon projects capable of catalyzing a market for smallholder-based credits. The team also met with Rabobank Acorn to learn more about their integrated model for smallholder-focused agroforestry carbon projects and discuss recent developments in carbon financing and their implications. We look forward to continuing our conversation with Rabobank Acorn as we build out our carbon portfolio.


Members and partners gathered at Climate Week in New York, with discussions at Encourage Capital’s offices focusing on our Carbon Portfolio and strategic outreach. The meeting involved representatives from Encourage Capital, Acceso, Conexsus, Digital Green, Forest Trends, Proximity Design, Root Capital, and the CASH team.


We continue to focus on developing policy solutions, creating inclusive financing mechanisms, and building capacity among farmer-facing organizations and local communities.


The CASH Coalition is assessing the impact of the new European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), passed in June. While its objective of responsible, sustainable, and transparent forest commodity markets is commendable, we are concerned that it may have unintended consequences, including limiting smallholder farmers’ access to European markets. This could have a significant negative impact on their livelihoods.


The CASH Coalition is also exploring alternative, non-carbon-based financing mechanisms capable of supporting regenerative agriculture and climate mitigation actions in smallholder communities.


The CASH Coalition continues to invest in capacity building and knowledge sharing among members, including hosting sessions on carbon markets, insetting, and peer-to-peer learning. 

Peer-to-peer sessions to date: 

  • May 2023: Ecosystem Marketplace, led by Forest Trends
  • June 2023: Land Rights, led by Landesa 
  • July 2023: The Role of Biological Inputs in Regenerative Agriculture, led by Proximity Designs
  • October 2023 Net Zero and Insetting, led by Root Capital

Forthcoming peer-to-peer sessions:

  • November 2023: Latest Research on Regenerative Agriculture, led by One Acre Fund

We expect a strong turnout from members at an upcoming gathering of social innovators in Tarrytown, New York, and at COP28 in Dubai, and the opportunities for learning these gatherings will present. 


We are assessing how best to engage with formal programming at COP28. We want to ensure that CASH is well-positioned to contribute and benefit from the event before committing to a program of action in Dubai, as well as balancing concerns about the COP Presidency with potential opportunities for collaborative action.

We thank our supporters, partners, and friends who believe in our mission and share our sense of urgency to act. We are satisfied with our progress and excited about possibilities for the future.