IUCN launches a guide for agribusinesses on investing in landscape restoration to sustain agrifood supply chains
Structured in two parts, the first part of the guide outlines why it is important for agribusinesses to engage in nature-positive practices and why landscape restoration is one of the most effective solutions to tackling issues related to land degradation. Part two then outlines the key steps for agribusinesses to consider in order to develop a strong business case for restoration, presenting some concrete examples, steps, and tools to support companies throughout the process. The process outlined in the guide is embedded in local ownership and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
“In order to minimize risks to their supply chains and ensure long term resilience of productive landscapes, agribusinesses must make it a priority to secure natural capital throughout their supply chains. Working with all actors in the supply chain, the restoration of land functionality makes not only business sense but helps build nature-positive economies and societies, and for that we need all actors on board with the private sector playing a leading role alongside farmers and other key decision makers.” – Chris Buss, Director of the IUCN Centre for Economy and Finance
Anchored in real-world experience, the guide is an outcome of an IKI-funded project, Resupply, in which IUCN worked with three companies and their stakeholders in three supply chains: cocoa with OFI in Ghana and ECOM in Peru, and sugarcane with the Kilombero Sugar Company (KSC) in Tanzania.
“Working with IUCN and other stakeholders on landscape restoration has helped ECOM solidify the case for investing in it. This is being done by using carbon sequestration from agroforestry to move towards a carbon neutral cocoa supply chain in Peru. This guide will be helpful as a step-by-step guide for other agribusinesses looking to stabilize their supply chains and tackle other issues from erosion to flooding, to meeting net zero targets.” - Camila Olmedo, Sustainability Manager at ECOM Latin America
The benefits of investing in landscape restoration
While agriculture is one of the main drivers of habitat loss, it is also among the three industries most dependent upon nature. Indeed, the agricultural sector is a critical part of efforts needed to protect and restore nature and biodiversity, and the costs of inaction are staggeringly high. Land degradation, whether from soil erosion, deforestation or other causes, has a range of impacts that affect production systems, and therefore the rest of the supply chain. Nature-based solutions (NbS) such as landscape restoration help to regain the many benefits provided by nature that are important for supply chains.
Moreover, with an increasing overall awareness of climate change and environmental degradation, investing in the protection of ecosystems is key to ensuring policy compliance and retain consumer trust and loyalty. Restoring landscapes also supports the socioeconomic development of smallholders and local communities by offering additional and more diversified revenues.
By investing in landscape restoration, agribusinesses can ensure resilient, future-proof supply chains, and drive positive social and environmental change.
“More than 75% of the world’s land is degraded by human activities, undermining the critical ecosystem services upon which we depend, including food, fuel and freshwater. The economic damages – including those linked to declining agricultural and forest productivity – are more than five times greater than the total investment required for land restoration. The case for immediate action to restore landscapes could not be more clear, and agribusinesses have a vital role to play in advancing this urgent transformation agenda.” Scarlett Benson, Director of Standards, The Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), and Beyond Value Chain Mitigation Lead, Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
What steps should be taken to build a landscape-based business case for restoration?
The guide sets out a flexible framework with considerations that can be adapted depending on agreed goals, aims and action plans, according to local contexts and resource constraints. It also presents details on tools that can be of use throughout the process.
Some of the key steps recommended throughout the guide include:
- Establishing a team with diverse expertise, local buy-in and ownership of the stakeholders that will be conducting the majority of the restoration interventions, especially producers.
- Identifying the best suited restoration interventions through an inclusive consultation process
- Developing a business case on specific restoration interventions, accompanied by a financing strategy and publicly available documents, and focussing on building and partnerships for investment in landscape restoration
- Developing a roll-out plan with indicators for tracking and monitoring progress and a strategy to communicate the results to all relevant stakeholders.
To learn more about the other steps, download the guide here.
What comes next?
There is an urgent need to combine private and public investment to meet the international restoration commitments such as the Bonn Challenge, or simply to secure agricultural supply chains in the face of the land degradation and climate change.
The guide is now available on this link, with the hope that it will be used by agribusinesses or other practitioners to identify restoration opportunities, devise action plans to secure their supply chains, and secure investment to operationalize these plans.
Watch the video below to find out more about the benefits of landscape restoration:
For more information about the guide or Resupply, please contact Pauline Buffle: firstname.lastname@example.org