Over the course of 2021 and 2022, WRI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored three workshops to explore potential measures that both mitigate climate change and boost food security. Workshop one focused on the most commonly discussed measures. Workshop two focused on innovative measures. Workshop three focused on “produce & protect” strategies. The workshop brought together 38 experts from around the world. Videos of each of the presentations are presented below along with the slides shown. A brief summary of each of the speakers’ presentations for the three workshops can also be downloaded.

Download the Conference Proceedings: Technical Opportunities for Creating a Sustainable Food Future: How to Boost Food Security While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions



Workshop One

The first workshop occurred over two days, August 3-4 2021, and focused on the mitigation measures that are most commonly discussed today. It included sessions exploring the evolving scientific understanding of soil carbon, and the different viewpoints about the feasibility of increasing soil carbon on working agricultural lands. Additional sessions focused on soil health in sub-Saharan Africa, ways of mitigating emissions from rice production, including an integrated mitigation/adaptation project in Bangladesh,  ways of reducing emissions related to nitrogen use, and silvopastoral systems.

Additional workshops will focus on promising livestock management changes, promising technical innovations to address each category of emissions and ways in which directly addressing food security by boosting yields can be used to reduce deforestation and emissions.

Speakers and Presentations

Day One – Monday August 4th, 2021

Summary of the food production, food security & emissions challenge

  • Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, WRI


The Basic Science of Soil Carbon: What is it, what do we know about what causes it to persist, and what do we know about how agricultural practices affect it?

  • Dr. Johannes Lehmann, Professor of Biogeochemistry, Cornell University
  • Dr. Margaret Torn, Ecologist and Biogeochemist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Dr. John Kirkegaard, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO


Rice & Integrated Adaptation/Mitigation Project in Bangladesh

  • Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, WRI, Princeton University
  • Dr. Abu Syed, Senior Fellow, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies



  • Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, WRI, Princeton University
  • Dr. David Powlson, Professor Emeritus, Rothamsted Research
  • Eileen Kladivko, Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University


Day Two – Tuesday August 5th, 2021

  • Dr. Johannes Lehmann, Professor of Biogeochemistry, Cornell University
  • Dr. David Powlson, Professor Emeritus, Rothamsted Research
  • Richard Conant, Professor of Ecosystem Science, Colorado State University


Challenges & opportunities regarding soil carbon in Africa

  • Ken Giller, Professor of Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University
  • Pauline Chivenge, Principal Scientist, Africa Plant Nutrition Institute


Silvopastoral systems

  • Julian Chara, Research Coordinator, CIPAV


Workshop Two

The second workshop occurred over two days, October 19-20 2021, and focused on livestock systems, which generate most of agricultural emissions and use most of the land. It also focused on proposed technical innovations related to nitrogen, manure management, and soil carbon with a policy discussion about how to encourage innovation. 

The third workshop to occur later will focus on “produce and protect” strategies to boost yields while protecting forests and other natural habitats. 

Speakers and Presentations

Day Two – Tuesday October 19th

Topic: WRI and the Gates Foundation Present: Technical Opportunities for a Sustainable Food Future: Part Two 

Start Time : Oct 19, 2021 06:27 AM 

Introductions & Summary of First Workshop

Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, WRI 



Mario Herrero, Chief Research Scientist of Agriculture and Food; Professor of Sustainable Food Systems and Global Change, CSIRO; Cornell University 

Ermias Kebreab, Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of California at Davis 

Solomon Mwendia, Associate Scientist, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Michael Peters, Tropical Forages Program Lead, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT


Innovative methods for soil carbon increases: suberin & deep roots, silicate rock spreading, biochar, remote soil carbon measurements 

Joanne Chory, Professor and Director, Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute

David Beerling, Sorby Professor of Natural Sciences, Sheffield University

Claudia Kammann, Professor, Hochschule Geisenheim University

Keith Shepard, Principal Soil Scientist, World Agroforestry Center 


Innovations for using perennial crops 

Morten Ambye-Jensen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University 

James Astwood, Chief Technology Officer, TerViva 


Day Two – Wednesday October 20th

Topic: WRI and the Gates Foundation Present: Technical Opportunities for a Sustainable Food Future: Part Two 

Start Time : Oct 20, 2021 06:29 AM 

Introduction to Second Day 

Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, WRI 


Nitrogen: Biological nitrification inhibition, microbial additions, balancing nutrients 

Guntur Subbarao, Senior Scientist and Group Leader, JIRCAS  

Adriana Botes, R&D Director, Azotic Technologies 

Ken Giller, Professor of Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University 


Panel regarding precision agriculture & timing of fertilizer application 

Pauline Chivenge, Principal Scientist, African Plant Nutrition Institute 

David Powlson, Professor Emeritus, Rothamsted Research 

Harold Mathjis van Es, Professor, Cornell University 


Innovations to address demand: food loss & waste & plant-based meats 

Jessica Vieira, Senior Director of Sustainability, Apeel Science 

Liz Specht, Vice President of Science and Technology, Good Food Institute 


Policies to promote Innovation – Panel discussion 

Daniel Vennard, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta 

Kathryn Zook, Program Analyst, USDA 

Bill Hohenstein, Director of Office of Energy and Environmental Policy (OEEP) within the Office of the Chief Economist, USDA 


Workshop Three

This workshop is the last in a series of workshops sponsored by the World Resources Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (as well as the Bezos Earth Fund), exploring potential measures to both mitigate climate change and boost food security. The first workshop focused on the evolving science and different perspectives about potential carbon sequestration on working agricultural lands. It also addressed opportunities and challenges to build soil health in Africa and management opportunities related to use of nitrogen, growing rice and silvopastoral systems. The second workshop focused on livestock systems and a wide range of potential areas of technical innovations, from crops that reduce nitrous oxide to plant-based “meats.” In general, these workshops, whose presentations can be viewed here, explored how measures designed to reduce agricultural emissions might also boost food security.

The third workshop focuses on the reverse causal pathway: whether and how efforts to boost crop yields and livestock efficiencies can address climate change by reducing the demand to clear forests and other native habitats. The workshop will explore recent rates and locations of agricultural expansion and likely future loss of natural habitats and forests at present rates of yield gains. The workshop will address potential rebound effects and mechanisms for avoiding these effects by linking these “produce” strategies with measures that “protect” native habitats. The workshop will explore some country efforts, and private, governmental, and philanthropic funders will offer their thoughts on what each can do next. (See WRI’s summary of reasons for produce and protect strategies.)

Speakers and Presentations:

The State of Land Use Change and Relation to Yields & Livestock Efficiencies

  • Nancy Harris, Research Manager, Global Forest Watch, World Resources Institute

  • Patrice Dumas, CIRAD


Successful Strategies for Increasing Livestock and Crop Yields and Land Use Linkages (Africa)

  • Carolyn Opio, Livestock Policy Officer, FAO
  • Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, Senior Research Fellow/Program Leader- Ethiopia, IFPRI
  • Alice Ruhweza, Africa Regional Director, WWF


Experiences Linking Produce & Protect in Brazil

  • Paulo Barreto, Associate Researcher, IMAZON
  • Ana Toni, Executive Director, Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS)


The Theory and Mechanisms of Produce & Protect

  • Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow & Technical Director, Food Program, World Resources Institute | Senior Research Scholar, Princeton University


Panel Discussion

  • Andrew Steer, President & Ceo, Bezos Earth Fund
  • Janet Ranganathan, Managing Director, Strategy, Learning and Results, World Resources Institute
  • Rodger Voorhies, President, Global Growth & Opportunity, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation