How can global policies on low emission development (LED) align with local realities? This thesis investigates this issue using the dairy sector in Tanzania as a case study. Global emission reduction strategies often follow a technocentric view of intensification to reduce emission intensities and commercialization. However, emission reduction is not, the primary goal for farmers. The technocentric approaches on LED are often implemented using a “one-size-fits-all” approach, failing to recognize how farmer heterogeneity affects the uptake of new practices, the unequal distribution of intensification benefits and how distinct socio-institutional systems result in different types of market rules that create various typologies of economic organization with potentially different outcomes on LED. This thesis employs a multi-level approach to analyse the socio-economic, and institutional aspects that shape the alignment. In doing so this research demonstrates the need to; situate LED strategies within socio-institutional contexts and allow plural implementation pathways, establish local innovations that work and understand that agency is grounded in performance.