Green Commodities Programme

Why the Green Commodities Programme?


Agricultural commodities are the bedrock of most rural developing economies, contributing to livelihoods, food security and poverty reduction. Yet agricultural production - the vast majority of which is carried out by smallholders - is threatened by climate change, water scarcity, competition for arable land and ecosystem degradation.


In fact, the largest driver of deforestation is the production of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, beef, soy, cocoa and coffee. In addition, poor farming practices and a lack of investment in the sector mean that sustainable and equitable development for farmers remains elusive.


What is the Green Commodities Programme?

In response, UNDP established the Green Commodities Programme (GCP) in 2009 to improve the national economic, social and environmental performance of agricultural commodity sectors. GCP works to improve rural livelihoods, mitigate climate change, and maintain the ecosystem services and resilience of landscapes and seascapes.

By targeting agricultural commodities that have high economic and political national relevance and are part of aggregated supply chains, GCP optimizes the potential of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to support long-term sustainable change.


What does the Green Commodities Programme aim to achieve?

GCP partners with the UN, government, private sector and civil society to strengthen the national enabling environments of these key agricultural commodity sectors by promoting:

  • Improved national and sub-national extension systems
  • Policy/legislation reform and enforcement in agricultural land use
  • Improved economic incentives for sustainable production
  • Intra- and inter-sector coordination

In recognition of the importance of global agricultural commodities and their cross-cutting impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, GCP aims by 2020 to contribute to enabling eight million farmers, managing 20 million hectares, to improve the sustainability of their practices and their livelihoods.


How will the Green Commodities Programme achieve its goals?

UNDP is seen as a neutral broker and a leader in delivering multi-stakeholder collaboration. As such, key GCP strategies include:  

  • National Commodity Platforms (NCPs) – to institutionalize the long-term sustainability performance of agricultural commodities at a national level;
  • National PPPs – to address the root causes of the negative environmental, social and economic impacts of commodities;
  • Technical services – to provide global technical advice related to policy reform, national extensions systems, agricultural commodity supply chains and REDD+;
  • Learning from action – to broker knowledge sharing opportunities between UNDP practitioners aiming to improve agricultural commodity supply chains worldwide;
  • Global engagement and dialogue – to develop key relationships with partners, especially the private sector and governments.


12 May 2016: UNDP in partnership with CocoaLife supports tree registration for farmers

UNDP in partnership with Solidaridad West Africa has organized a consultative workshop for stakeholders in the Forestry and Cocoa sectors in Ghana. The workshop implemented under the Environmental Sustainability and Policy for Cocoa Production in Ghana (ESP) Project aimed at improving modalities for the registration of economic trees in Ghana. ESP is leading the environmental sustainability component within Mondelez CocoaLife programme. More

23 May 2016: The Dominican Republic Develops a Plan to Improve the Well-Being of Cocoa Producing communities, while Boosting Production by 200 Percent

As the world cocoa community gets set to meet in the Dominican Republic this week, the Government is developing a National Action Plan, supported by UNDP, that could see 30,000 small-scale cocoa farmers boost their livelihoods over the next decade. More

21 March 2016: Exposure photo story: empowering women in agriculture

As part of its work through the Green Commodities Programme, UNDP is bringing together government, big business, small-scale farmers and other stakeholders to address deep-rooted sustainability issues in key commodity sectors in ten countries, including Indonesia and Ghana. And success involves closing the gender gap. More

21 March 2016: Move Beyond Supply Chains to Achieve Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia

It’s time collate our lessons learned through monitoring individual supply chains and put them into scalable action, says GCP's Kate Bottriell in our latest opinion piece. More

Press release
UNDP supports Costa Rica’s pineapple sector to take critical steps towards sustainability


3 March 2016: One of the world’s biggest pineapple producing countries – Costa Rica – has officially adopted a widely endorsed action plan to tackle serious social and environmental concerns in this critical sector, worth US$ 800 million to the national economy. 

ISPO-RSPO Joint-Study Marks a Milestone For Sustainable Palm Oil Cooperation in Indonesia


17 Feb 2016: Facilitated by UNDP, the study on “Similarities and Differences of the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Standard (ISPO) and the Roundatable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Certification Systems” represents an important move toward streamlining the certification process within the Indonesian palm oil sector.

Mondelez Cocoa Life Interview with Andrew Bovarnick, Global Head of UNDP's Green Commodities Programme

[Source: Mondelez Cocoa Life] Mondelez' Cocoa Life External Advisory Council is formed by leading experts from outside the business. They advise on developing Cocoa Life and oversee implementation of the cocoa origin programs. In November 2015, Andrew Bovarnick visited Cocoa Life communities in Ghana along with other external advisors. 

Mitigating the environmental damage caused by palm oil in Indonesia

[Source: Bloomberg] Andrew Bovarnick discusses UNDP's palm oil initiative in Asia. He speaks with Bloomberg's Rishaad Salamat on "Trending Business".

INPOP in the Field: Improving Land Legality for Smallholders

[Source: The Indonesian Palm Oil Platform, INPOP] Interview of Kate Bottriell, Global Partnership Advisor of UNDP Green Commodities Programme, on the INPOP multi-stakholder Riau mission