Business for Sustainable Landscapes

Challenge Details

Business for Sustainable Landscapes Now available

Business for Sustainable Landscapes: An action agenda for sustainable development

This report is the culmination of the 18-month collaborative process described on this challenge page.

Download the action agenda


In recent years, there has been rapidly growing interest from the food industry and agribusiness in ‘sustainable landscapes’. Leading companies have begun new placed-based partnerships with other businesses and other sectoral actors to address operational risks and to meet corporate commitments related to deforestation, water quality and supply, climate change, and community livelihoods and rights.

Implementation requires new planning methods and investments, and puts new demands on business managers. Simultaneously, there has been an explosion of international interest in sustainable landscapes by government and civil society organizations. Recent initiatives related to landscape restoration, deforestation-free sourcing, jurisdictional REDD+, climate-smart agriculture, water security and ecosystem service valuation, have offered entry points from which to design mutually beneficial opportunities for public-private-civic cooperation in landscapes.

Read about landscape partnerships on the ground

Teaming up with Business for Sustainable Landscapes

Business for Sustainable Landscapes is a collaboration jumpstarted by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, a global knowledge and learning platform on integrated landscape management. The organizing committee includes EcoAgriculture Partners, Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, the Sustainable Food Lab, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Sustainability and Inclusion Strategy for Growth Corridors in Africa program (SUSTAIN).

In addition, more than 20 international organizations who are working for successful business engagement in landscape partnerships are serving as an Advisory Group, including Conservational International, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, Earth Innovation Institute, Solidaridad, Fauna & Flora International, SABMiller, Government of the Netherlands, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rainforest Alliance, the NEPAD Business Foundation, Nestlé and Unilever.

Goals of the program
  • To better understand ‘multi-stakeholder landscape partnerships’, when they are needed, the role of individual stakeholders in these approaches, common barriers and their potential to develop solutions to challenges that are not sufficiently addressed by farm-level or supply chain initiatives;
  • At a global scale, for influential business, civic and government leaders to advance multi-stakeholder landscape partnerships through the development of supportive policies, tools and strategies.
Components of the program

In 2016 Business for Sustainable Landscapes is undertaking three linked activities:

First, a set of issues analyses and case studies was developed that summarize the state of landscape-partnerships globally, map their distribution, assess the barriers and drivers for different actors to participate, and explore solutions for key problems that arise in such partnerships.

Second, a workshop was convened with a select group of food and agriculture sustainability leaders from business, government and civil society, to explore effective collaborations in production landscapes at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center on the shores of Lake Como, Italy on June 1-2. These leaders had an opportunity to move beyond the ‘buzz’ to critically examine: the business case for different kinds of companies to pursue landscape approaches in agricultural sourcing and production regions; solutions to common challenges and barriers in implementing effective landscape partnerships; key strategic needs and innovations to advance sustainable sourcing of raw materials for business through landscape partnerships; and to assess priorities for action.

Third, an Action Agenda is being developed to address identified gaps and opportunities for strengthened landscape partnerships, such as support to business, government and NGO leaders; tools to support multi-stakeholder processes; sustainable landscape measurement; advocacy for improved enabling conditions, and mobilization of finance for integrated landscape investments. This Action Agenda will build on and strengthen ongoing initiatives linked to private-sector sustainability commitments, and where applicable, support new action to fill strategic gaps and opportunities in order to improve the number and quality of multi-stakeholder landscape partnerships globally that include business.

 Partners in the Business for Sustainable Landscapes Initiative

This project is made possible through financial support from the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of Germany, the Rockefeller Foundation, Conservation International, the Walton Family Foundation, SAI Platform and IUCN.

More information

Please contact Sara Scherr at

Network Events

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Como, Italy May 31, 2016 - June 2, 2016

Business for Sustainable Landscapes Workshop

An invitation-only gathering of a group of food and agriculture business and sustainability leaders to explore effective collaborations in production landscapes.

More Info
Marriott Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda May 16, 2017 - May 17, 2017

Forest and Landscape Investment Forum

Inaugural forum will help unleash business opportunities in sustainable landscapes.

More Info

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Landscape Experiences

Mato Grosso, Brazil • Western Brazil, bordering the Amazonian region to the south

Mato Grosso is Brazil’s agricultural giant, producing more soybeans and cattle than any other state in the country. Agriculture is the largest component of Mato Grosso’s economy, representing more than 40% of the state’s GDP. This western state is home to 3 million inhabitants, 3 in 4 of which live in cities. It also has […]

Visit Landscape

Doñana Wetlands, Spain • Parque Nacional de Doñana

Spain’s Doñana Wetlands, located where the Guadalquivir River meets Atlantic, are considered one of Europe’s most valuable and iconic wetland areas. Each year, the area’s marshlands, beaches, dunes, and forests host millions of migratory birds as well as endangered species such as the imperial eagle and Iberian lynx.

Visit Landscape

North Sumatra Sustainable Landscapes Partnership (SLP) • North Sumatra, Indonesia

North Sumatra is a diverse matrix of local communities, biodiversity-rich tropical forest, and agricultural cultivation. More than 80% of the people living in North Sumatra earn income from agriculture, including irrigated rice production, coffee, rubber, durian, sugar palm, and cinnamon agroforestry, oil palm and rubber plantations, and vegetable cultivation.

Visit Landscape

Useful Resources


Global Map of Integrated Landscape Initiatives

Recent research from Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative partners identified more than 360 integrated landscape initiatives across Asia, Latin America and Africa. You can explore their investments and achievements by selecting data types to display in the map and clicking on individual landscapes for more information.