Ecosystem Services Market Consortium

Falls Church, VA, USA

Company Description

MISSION: To advance ecosystem service markets that incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health systems that benefit society. What is ESMC?


  • A non-profit organization bringing together a broad consortium of corporations, agricultural producer associations, NGOs and technology companies
  • The goal of ESMC is to launch a voluntary national ecosystem services market conceived and designed to sell ecosystem assets such as carbon and water quality and quantity credits for the agriculture sector by 2022.

What is distinct about ESMC?

  • Non-profit: We want to maximize environmental impact by delivering as much of the market value back to farmers and ranchers as possible and accelerate growth of the market.
  • Scientific rigor: We will ensure that our protocols have the strongest scientific basis possible to provide confidence and trust for both sellers and buyers of agricultural ecosystem assets.
  • Multiple markets: We are not a carbon credit-only initiative. Greenhouse gas impacts will be fundamental to our marketplace, but land stewardship practices can deliver other benefits like water quantity and quality improvements, enhancement of habitat, and protection of biodiversity.
  • Outcomes, not practices: Our protocols are focused strictly on measurement of outcomes on a farm or ranch. We do not require any specific practices or set of practices, to allow producers flexibility to manage their operations in a systematic way.

What is ESMC doing?

  • Developing protocols and a related technology platform for enrolling working agricultural lands and quantifying and verifying the assets they generate
  • Working with members and outside organizations to review and certify our protocols.
  • Funding research into key scientific and technological aspects of measuring actual environmental impacts of farmers’ and ranchers’ land stewardship practices.
  • Collaborating with ESMC members on a series of pilot projects in major agricultural production systems to test and refine our protocols and tools in the next 3 years.
  • ESMC’s research arm, the Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium – or ESMRC – is working collaboratively to invest in identified research, development, demonstration, and economic gaps to overcome past and current market-based challenges.

Why? Healthy soils are paramount to the future of the agriculture industry, maintaining ecosystem function, and sustaining plant and animal communities. In addition to soil health, agricultural systems create critical ecological and natural resource impacts that benefit society, such as improved water quality, water use conservation, biodiversity, and pollinator and wildlife habitat. With approximately 70% of U.S. land in private ownership, America’s farmers and ranchers are key to creating solutions to address our nation’s soil health, natural resource, and ecosystem services challenges.

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