Unlocking investment in sustainable landscapes is critical for inclusive green growth, according to new report

Unlocking investment in sustainable landscapes is critical for inclusive green growthGreen growth means promoting economic growth while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and inefficient use of natural resources, and maintaining biodiversity. Green growth means improving health prospects for populations and strengthening energy security through ..., according to new report

Posted on 16 May 2017    

The mosaic landscape of the commune of Sinca Noua, with the Tagla Mountains in the background.

© C and B Promberger

Business participation and investment in sustainable landscapes is critical for achieving inclusive green growth, according to a new report released today by a coalition of organizations.

The report, Business for Sustainable Landscapes: An action agenda for sustainable development, underscores the numerous benefits that business can realise by investing in landscapes – from reducing their environmental and social risks to protecting their assets or sourcing area by supporting vital ecosystemsA system of living organisms interacting with each other and their physical environment. The boundaries of what could be called an ecosystem are somewhat arbitrary, depending on the focus of interest or study. Thus, the extent of an ecosystem may range from very small spatial scales to, ..., such as forests, rivers and freshwater.

Businesses increasingly recognise that working in landscape partnerships can help them address critical issues that go beyond their immediate supply chains.  Yet, today, only a quarter of the 428 large, multi-stakeholderThe stakeholder is a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) landscape partnerships surveyed include business.

The report, supported by WWF, confirms that innovative financial instruments designed to support landscape investments are rapidly emerging, which can help fast-track business engagement in landscape partnerships.  These include new blended finance schemes, impact investment funds, investment screens and standards, and investment strategies in sustainable supply chain programmes, among others.

The report, produced by EcoAgriculture Partners, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), SAI Platform and Sustainable Food Lab under the auspices of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, outlines an action agenda with concrete steps that business, as well as finance institutions, governments and landscape programme leaders, can take to strengthen these partnerships and advance a socio-economic transformation based on sustainable productionThe production of goods in a sustainable way, for example in forestry only using the annual increment and thereby not reducing the size of the forest. Also an important concept in agriculture. and economic growthIdeally, economic growth is decoupled from energy consumption. This can be achieved through different measures, one of them being energy efficiency or a shift towards less energy intensive sectors, such as services..

“Collaborative landscape approachesCore to livelihoods approaches are a set of principles that underpin best practice in any development intervention: *People-centred *Responsive and participatory *Multi-level *Conducted in partnership * Sustainable *Dynamic align stakeholdersThe stakeholder is a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) in a particular place to resolve complex issues that cannot be successfully resolved by actorsThe stakeholder is a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) working alone,” says Sara Scherr, President of EcoAgriculture Partners and one of the key authors of the report. “These partnerships reflect growing recognition that long-term business success is tied to healthy communities and ecosystems,” she added.

“Although landscapes are still not a natural business environment for most companies, the frontrunners are now starting to grasp the potential, take responsibility beyond their direct interests and seek collaborative solutions to address issues like water scarcity, deforestation or ecosystem servicesHumankind benefits in a multitude of ways from ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are regularly involved in the provisioning of clean drinking water and the decomposition of wastes. While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ... by landscape projectsProject is an intervention designed to achieve specific objectives within specified resources and implementation schedules, often within the framework of a broader program. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS),” says Peter Erik Ywema, Director Strategy and Engagement, SAI Platform.

“Innovative financial instruments designed to support landscape investments are emerging, and they have the potential to help drive nature-based solutions, such as forest landscape restoration and climate-smart supply chains,” says Stewart Maginnis, Global Director of IUCN, which co-authored the report. “IUCN’s Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Hub for Eastern and Southern Africa, which was established last year, is an excellent example of how increased coordination at a landscape level can catalyse resources and technical capacity to deliver tangible benefits for communities.”

Local and global business champions, investors, government officials and civil society representatives are meeting to discuss these findings and other sustainable landscape opportunities at the FAO Forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 16-17 May. 

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