As a result of IUCN, Nespresso and IPÊ sharing their vision of sustainable productive landscapes, a multi-stakeholder consortium is now addressing ecosystem services decline and natural resources depletion in the biologically-diverse Cerrado biome. The consortium supports a blend of communications, knowledge sharing and capacity building to shift behaviour and community attitudes towards sustainability in the region.
The collaboration between IUCN, Nespresso and IUCN's NGO Member IPÊ - Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas (Institute for Ecological Research in English) - first started in 2013, when they worked together to identify the environmental impacts of Nespresso’s coffee supply chain and its dependencies on ecosystem services in the Cerrado biome in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Then in 2014, IUCN re-engaged the main stakeholders, building momentum for establishing a collaborative initiative between business, government and civil society organizations that could strengthen each of their ongoing actions to address environmental problems within specific landscapes.
A workshop was held in September in Uberlandia with representatives from business and NGOs, including Duratex (a timber products company), Tribanco (a regional bank), Imaflora (a local NGO), OPA (an environmental education NGO), COOXUPÉ (one of the largest coffee cooperatives in Brazil), Federação de Cafeicultores do Cerrado Mineiro (a coffee growers federation in the Cerrado), IPE, Nespresso and IUCN, as well as some local producers. At the meeting, the partners agreed on a concept for the platform, which included a detailed theory of change and action plan.
As their first collaborative effort, the consortium produced a brochure on the updated Brazilian Forest Code to guide local producers and land owners on the social, environmental and economic opportunities, as well as how to achieve legal compliance. The brochure presents different scenarios and potential solutions for restoring permanent protected areas and legal reserves, according to the Brazilian national legislation.
By adopting a landscape perspective focused on connectivity and secured ecosystem services, the brochure offers practical guidance for spatial planning of local properties with long-term benefits for the whole community. For example, improved provisioning of key ecosystem services could include conserving water supplies and reducing soil erosion.
The consortium also decided to share the information in a calendar, focusing on different themes and “pills of information” for the community to gradually increase understanding and build a new perspective on sustainable productive landscapes. In addition, the tasks – from developing the concept and design to the production and distribution of these materials -- were shared by all of the members.
During this same time, IUCN Brazil staff began reaching out to other organizations to secure a core group of support from business, government and NGOs. There are now plans to formalize this larger group of supporters through a legal agreement that defines its structure and functioning.
This past December, the consortium held its first capacity building event in Minas Gerais State. The training focused on the guidance outlined in the brochure, and 25 local producers participated. The result is five producers have decided to use the technical support offered to help them comply with the legislation and complete the mandatory registry (Environmental Rural Record). Others are positive about the process, and stated that they will use the information to move towards compliance in the near future.
While IUCN is leading this multi-stakeholder process, along with Nespresso's sponsorship and catalytic role in bringing together the diverse set of stakeholders, and IPE's technical and legal expertise, the success achieved in 2014 is the result of collective efforts on behalf of all of the stakeholders, who share a common vision of sustainable productive landscapes. This promising, innovative engagement has shown to be a viable option for building a new paradigm focused on long-term solutions in the Cerrado region, and it has the potential to inspire other players that are willing to step up to make a difference.
Submitted by Miguel Avila Moraes and Carolina Marques of IUCN-Brazil. For more information, please contact: Miguel.Moraes@iucn.org