While sustainability initiatives in agribusiness and the food industry have grown dramatically over the past two decades, this work has focused primarily on ensuring sustainable supply chains—ensuring specific farms and forests producing raw materials are operating sustainably but not addressing the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
Unfortunately, less effort has been made to demonstrate the business benefits for participation in multi-stakeholder, integrated landscape management. Private sector companies have not been widely engaged as partners in landscape management initiatives that are led by international bodies, governments or civil society.
The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative together with private and non-private sector collaborators aims to document key principles of business engagement for an integrated landscape approach. This will contribute to strengthen and support existing landscape initiatives’ business engagement activities in the field, and cultivate a set of innovative business leaders for new partnerships in landscape-scale action.
The Initiative’s business engagement strategy is guided by an active working group of leading international conservation and development practitioners and a strategic advisory committee of business leaders and industry experts.
The working group’s recently released knowledge product, Reducing Risk: Landscape Approaches to Sustainable Sourcing, is a key first step in building the business case for integrated landscape management. The report highlights best practices from among agribusinesses in their own pursuit of reducing risk. Out of an initial scope of 27 agribusinesses that are already using landscape approaches to deal with sustainability challenges, the authors chose three companies to investigate further, Starbucks, Olam International, and SABMiller, who are each taking unique proactive approaches to dealing with environmental and social risks.
The working group is organizing learning events with business leaders and conservation practitioners on landscape approaches to sustainable sourcing. For example, in April 2013 Initiative partners organized an event for business leaders and practitioners entitled, “Landscape Approaches for Triple Bottom-line Benefits” as part of the Sustainable Food Lab’s Annual Leadership Summit.
Initiative partners are currently working to produce a report on Market-based Mechanisms to Support Integrated Landscape Initiatives. This knowledge product will be integral for informing practitioners and landscape leaders on the range of instruments available to support land management on a landscape scale.
The Initiative seeks to expand the potential for this innovative approach in sustainable sourcing, test the concept with key commodities or sourcing regions and identify new partnerships for collaborative action. The business engagement working group welcomes practitioners from the following groups and organizations:
The Initiative’s business working group includes organizations working at the intersection of agriculture, biodiversity conservation and trade, such as Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, Solidaridad, African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, EcoAgriculture Partners, Root Capital, and others. To get involved, please email Lee Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.