Greening Agri-Finance in Brazil through low-carbon and inclusive interventions via Plano Safra







Delivered by:



Integrating socio-environmental considerations in loan decisions for agriculture and livestock sector projects, disbursed through the Plano Safra financial mechanism.

Brazil’s agriculture-livestock sector is one of Latin America’s greatest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adding approximately 932 MtCO2e/year (metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent per year) both directly and indirectly. However, socio-environmental impacts are not considered in financial decisions to support projects, particularly in Brazil’s largest agri-finance mechanism - Plano Safra.


This project aimed to support key players in Brazil’s finance sector to build a common understanding of the current gaps in Plano Safra’s approach and related negative climate impacts.


In particular, capacity building with Banco do Brasil and the Central Bank of Brazil to better incorporate socio-environmental metrics when appraising and monitoring Plano Safra’s loans, thus increasing low-carbon and gender-inclusive interventions, while helping Brazil achieve its climate targets.


This project was delivered by Carbon Trust in partnership with Imaflora.

“Brazil’s Central Bank understands that this project’s results can directly feed into subsidies for us to improve the System of rural credit and Proagro operations (SICOR) and has synergies with the Central Bank’s sustainability agenda”

Silvio Arduini

Senior Assessor for Rural Credit, Central Bank of Brazil

“We recently received the work being carried out with us to calculate emissions from our agricultural portfolio and were very satisfied with the delivery, of excellent quality and reliability.”

Henrique Leite

Sustainability Manager at
Banco do Brasil

Brasilia, Brasil v1


  • Brazil’s agriculture-livestock sector is one of Latin America’s largest sources of GHG emissions, while also contributing to 21% of Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing 8.1 million people (8% of the country’s workforce)
  • Plano Safra is Brazil’s largest financial mechanism, disbursing ca. GBP 31 billion/year of government-subsidised loans to key players across agriculture/livestock sub-sectors and states
  • Plano Safra-backed output represents ~70% of Brazil’s agricultural output, with 15% of Brazil’s GDP and 5.6 million jobs under its direct influence
  • Despite its impact on GHG emissions, GDP, and livelihoods, Plano Safra’s rules do not require loan-approving banks to consider socio-environmental metrics as part of their due diligence or monitoring
  • Banks have been essentially blind to the mechanism’s socio-environmental impact and have no incentives to foster low-carbon or gender-inclusive interventions through lending
Diagnostic report

Highlighting existing gaps in Plano Safra’s operations in terms of climate risk

Cost-benefit analysis tool

Estimating the benefits of incorporating socio-environmental metrics within Plano Safra’s disbursement procedures

Financed emissions and climate risk

Tools enabling Banco do Brasil to evaluate, monitor and report on its agricultural portfolio in line with TCFD recommendations

Monitoring, reporting, verification (MRV) platform

For Banco do Brasil to track its climate and social impact

Project achievements

Prior to this project, there was no common understanding of the key socio-environmental gaps in the Plano Safra mechanism. The project equipped its counterparts with the tools and knowledge to effectively evaluate and deliver meaningful changes to the ways agri-finance is allocated.

The project’s outputs provided counterparts with a stronger understanding and evidence of the socio-environmental impact of their lending decisions, initiating meaningful discussions among key players on greener financial flows, supporting greater gender, and wider social inclusion.

The project also helped build capacity in two major Brazilian banks to align their financial disclosure with the Task Force on Climate- related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations – moving towards improved measuring and reporting of risks and impact (in terms of GHG’s mitigated; hectares benefitted per crop/region and means of production; export value generated and gross value add generated). This approach has high potential to be replicated across other banks and financial institution in the country.

Finally, this project involved a wide network of relevant people throughout the development and dissemination of outputs, ensuring the findings and recommendations were well received and endorsed by key representatives across government, regulators, banks, and ultimately, loan recipients.

Barriers to credit access

Discussed through consultations to validate the environmental, social and economic barriers encountered by indigenous groups, women and family farmers in the Amazon region

Plano Safra’s diagnostic report

Highlighted the inequality between men and women in the rural agricultural sector, despite the great rise of women in rural property leadership over recent years

Recommendations for addressing agricultural inequality

Included incentives from financial institutions such as waiving registration fees, or providing technical assistance to women-led loan requests

Socio-environmental metrics

Proposed to be integrated into in Plano Safra’s lending decisions, to increase the social impact of the credit line

GESI highlights

The project team made a concerted effort to address the existing gender inequality in the agricultural finance sector throughout project-related engagements with its counterparts and among the broader sector in Brazil. These efforts were intended to induce project counterparts to consider:

  • Changes to the internal structures of counterparty institutions to favour diversity within corporate cultures and senior management, e.g. more diverse representation throughout all levels
  • Changes to the way credit is provided to reduce gender and social inequality in the sector (e.g. agricultural sector – where women are less willing and/or able to access credit), as well as to direct greater shares of credit with better conditions (e.g. lower interest and fees) for women-led and family-led agriculture

The project’s efforts to address gender inequality within project-related engagements, and among the agricultural sector in Brazil, were aimed at helping counterparts reflect on the benefits that such changes may bring.

Additionally, the learnings from the project’s activities and results could be transferred to other institutions supported by UK PACT or other donor programmes, as well as to other lines of credit to facilitate access to credit for vulnerable groups.


Forward look

The project has contributed to greening finance for Brazil’s agriculture and livestock sector, supporting the transition to a net zero economy by providing banks with tools and knowledge required to take action. Based on robust data modelling, the recommendations will facilitate integration of social and environmental metrics into lending decisions, enabling more sustainable development and reduced GHG emissions.

The project demonstrated that Plano Safra can generate positive impact by promoting gender and social equality in agriculture. While major lending criteria changes are in progress, the project enhanced counterparts’ understanding and capacity to enact changes in the next 2-3 years. Additionally, it is recommended that the Central Bank mandates banks to monitor social and environmental benefits of sustainable operations to further drive forward these ambitions.

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