Concrete actions to accelerate progress in 3 key innovation areas in food and climate

As climate change continues to impact global food systems, innovative solutions from the private sector are essential for sustainable transformation. The private sector, with its vast resources and innovative capacity, plays a crucial role in transforming food systems. However, significant barriers—or lock-ins—often prevent the alignment of private sector innovation with climate action.

A new Discussion Starter by Clim-Eat identifies key actions to unlock private sector innovation in plant nutrition, sustainable livestock, and next-generation crops. Authored by Leanne Zeppenfeldt, Philip Thornton, Annebelle Rombach, and Dhanush Dinesh, the Discussion Starter #9 , “Domain-Specific Actions to Unlock Private Sector Innovation for Climate and Food”, builds on our previous work on private sector innovation and applies it to these high-potential innovation domains, which are also covered on FoodSystems.Tech.

Identifying concrete actions for different actors

The paper first explores key challenges and bottlenecks in these three areas: plant nutrition, sustainable livestock, and next-generation crops. Subsequently, it covers the below lockpicks and highlights concrete next steps to unlock innovation and private sector action, identifying actors and timelines for each of the actions.

While each domain has its unique challenges, common challenges exist across all three. These include significant gaps in accountability, difficulties in measuring and regulating climate impacts, and a lack of effective collaboration between the scientific and private sectors. Additionally, robust measurement, reporting, and verification systems are essential to support business cases, ensure profitability, and maintain accountability across all sectors.

The report identifies some initial next steps for solving such challenges in the three high-potential areas of plant nutrition, sustainable livestock, and next-generation crops. Still, each innovation area will have unique challenges and uncertainties, especially when considering their implementation in different contexts. For Clim-Eat, the report and actions inform our existing work on innovations for the future of food. The lockpick framework offers a straightforward approach to identifying opportunities for unlocking private sector innovation and can be applied to other food system innovation domains.

As always, the Discussion Starters are meant to spark conversation, so we invite reflections by contacting the lead author at


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