June 27, 2016

News Release – Landscape partnerships: a path forward for sustainable agribusiness

EcoAgriculture Partners and IUCN

The future of sustainable agriculture goes beyond the fence, farm, or even supply chain.

From May 31 to June 2 at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy, EcoAgriculture Partners, IUCN, SAI Platform and the Sustainable Food Lab, hosted a diverse group of leaders from business, government, and civil society to engage in mutual learning and discussion and create a four-pronged action agenda to advance the impact and prevalence of landscape partnerships with strong private sector engagement.

Companies and corporations of all sizes have significant impacts on land use patterns and rely significantly on natural resources, making them critical partners in advancing landscape partnerships. Gareth Ackerman, Chairman of South Africa’s Pick n Pay Stores Limited, and Co-Chair of the international Consumer Goods Forum, highlights the benefits of private sector engagement at a landscape scale: “For me, a landscape approach is looking at a sustainable project…in a holistic manner, looking at all the stakeholders…[and] helping communities to be more responsive, to be more profitable.” These partnerships will require pioneering leadership from agribusiness and other key stakeholders to develop business cases, access to finance, government support, and capacity as highlighted in the Bellagio action agenda in order to secure a sustainable future for our global community.

Priority actions to support landscape approaches

The landscape partnership champions in attendance identified four key next steps to leverage the benefits of landscape approaches at the scale necessary to promote both sustainable development and successful agribusinesses around the world:

  1. Develop and communicate a case for businesses to invest in landscape approaches to encourage private sector leaders to consider landscape partnerships as a valuable tool and support them in achieving their sustainability goals.
  2. Increase access to sustainable finance in integrated landscape management by promoting collaboration on advising and facilitating landscape project finance, including blending public and private investments.
  3. Mobilize governments to incorporate landscape management into development and investment strategies to advance more coherent, supportive policies and coordination frameworks.
  4. Improve tools, methods and skills for convening, facilitating, designing and implementing landscape initiatives to accelerate knowledge-sharing, support businesses in assessing landscape partnerships, and improve landscape outcome metrics.

“The experts at the Bellagio workshop identified gaps in current approaches to sustainable landscapes and areas for greater collaboration,” said Gerard Bos, Director of IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme. “The new Action Agenda outlines key areas for mobilising government support and investment that will drive change and scale up the needed landscape partnerships.”

Participant Chime?re Diaw, Director General of the African Model Forest Network, urges the global community to take these actions to make landscape partnerships a reality on a larger scale: “We need investment, we need technology, and of course, we need the social infrastructure of landscapes to…transform [landscapes] into something that people can use and grow with.”

The power of landscape partnerships

Peter-Erik Ywema, General Manager of agribusiness sustainability group SAI Platform, notes, “Some critical problems like biodiversity decline or water stress that we currently face with our members are not going to be dealt with at the farm level…That’s typically the kind of complex problems we can only solve with some kind of landscape approach.” Private sector, government, and civil society stakeholders are increasingly realizing that the challenges they face – economic development, supply chain risks and opportunities, deforestation, climate change – need to be solved in a more integrated manner to achieve sustainability and development goals and successful businesses and supply chains in the long term. The more that companies get on board, the more likely we are to meet global sustainability and climate change goals.


Business for Sustainable Landscapes challenge
Sara Shares: Uncovering unspoken assumptions about businesses in landscape partnerships

This release was prepared jointly by EcoAgriculture Partners and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

The featured photo is of a papaya farm in Guntur, Andra Pradesh, India, courtesy of Wikipawan, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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