Help develop carbon offset programs that reduce deforestation at the landscape/jurisdictional scale

Duration of engagment

Short-Long (1 month to purchase carbon credits; 3+ years to create an L/JI with the ability to generate carbon credits)

Cost

Option 1: cost of carbon credit purchases from an L/JI ($-$$ depending on depth of company due diligence)

($$-$$$)

Option 2: cost of adding a carbon credit component to an L/JI

($$-$$$$ depending on the scale of company investment needed)

Option 3: cost of creating an L/JI designed to generate carbon credits

In the real world

Investing in Cambodia’s carbon-rich forest credits

In the threatened forest region of Cambodia’s Eastern Plains Landscape, H&M partnered with WWF to launch the Supply Chain and Landscape approach (SCALE). The goal is to create a landscape investment program using REDD+ credits generated at the landscape scale to transform the textile industry and energy supply chains, thus bringing multiple benefits to the forest and the region’s stakeholders.

Key points for companies

The global REDD+ framework rewards countries that reduce deforestation and enhance forest carbon sinks. It includes a mechanism for results-based payments to national and sub-national governments, communities, and private investors. The architecture for providing these payments is complex and evolving. However, sub-national jurisdictional initiatives are a particularly promising focus for REDD+ investment and carbon credits because they combine government involvement and oversight with supply chain and community actions to stop deforestation and may generate payments for all these actors. For carbon finance investors, L/JIs may offer economies of scale relative to individual, site-specific projects within a jurisdiction, while also enabling private investment more readily than national-scale government programs.

Companies can invest in landscape/jurisdiction-scale carbon offsets in three ways, ranging from simple to complex:

  • 1. Source carbon credits from an existing L/JI that has an established mechanism for carbon finance. This option is a relatively easy one for a company that wishes to support an L/JI and gain carbon credits, but does not seek to become directly involved in the initiative. It may also be a way for a company to become engaged in an L/JI as a first step that might lead to greater involvement over time.
  • 2. Integrate carbon finance into an existing L/JI (as Touton is doing with cocoa suppliers in Western Ghana, see “Co-design jurisdictional goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and implementation strategies”). This approach may be attractive to companies looking for additional long-term financing for an L/JI and can work with other stakeholders to link the initiative to public and private carbon markets to obtain credits. The company itself can be (but does not have to be) an investor in carbon offsets. It may be equally valuable to the company to have other investors financially supporting the L/JI in the form of carbon finance, so that the company can contain its costs in supporting the initiative.
  • 3. Co-initiate and co-finance a carbon credit program at the scale of a landscape/jurisdiction. This option requires substantial company involvement and investment, generally with NGO and/or private partners with specialized expertise in REDD+ carbon finance. It may be an appropriate pathway for companies with substantial commitments to reducing carbon emissions, and equally substantial opportunities to work with suppliers and other stakeholders in a landscape/jurisdiction from which it sources commodities linked to deforestation. The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) provides one vehicle for countries and eligible subnational jurisdictions to generate verified emissions reduction credits through actions to reduce deforestation and degradation.

For Options 2 and 3, a company must understand the carbon finance possibilities available to the L/JI, as well as the risks and price volatility associated with the carbon market. Companies should engage with the government and other stakeholders to identify current and potential sources of funding, and to discuss benefit sharing mechanisms and the carbon claims companies could make.

If REDD+ carbon finance is shown to be feasible to support an L/JI, companies can advocate for and/or support a REDD+ program that is in line with good practice for carbon offsets from land use projects.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Incentivize suppliers to engage in L/JIs

Duration of engagment

Medium-Long (2-5 years to catalyze and sustain supplier engagement)

Cost

$-$$$ depending on how much a company decides to spend on financial incentives for suppliers vs. technical support, recognition, and facilitating linkages to other sources of funding

In the real world

Recognizing and resourcing supplier efforts to reducing emissions

Project Gigaton is Walmart’s program for reducing scope 3 emissions from its supply chain. Under the program, Walmart asks its suppliers to cut greenhouse gas emissions, use built-in calculators to estimate the reductions, and report results to Walmart. Walmart’s annual sustainability summit celebrates supplier achievements and announces new commitments. In Project Gigaton’s third year, a new Walmart webpage added “engagement in jurisdictional initiatives” as one action for which suppliers could claim credit. The page offers data to help suppliers understand where they are likely sourcing commodities, whether these supply origins are at high risk of deforestation, and how best to engage with sensitive, high-risk jurisdictions to improve sustainability outcomes.

Key points for companies

Companies can incentivize suppliers to engage in L/JIs in several ways. Upstream companies can work directly with suppliers in the context of an L/JI. Downstream companies can use preferred sourcing and other incentives that send market signals through the supply chain. All companies can give public recognition and visibility to suppliers, tailored to the audiences that matter most to them. Whatever approach is used, companies should consult with suppliers to clearly convey their own motivations and learn which incentives and supports are most attractive.

Support suppliers to engage in L/JIs. Companies can support suppliers (farmers, local aggregators, processors, and traders) in many ways including by co-designing L/JI strategies, supporting training, or legalizing production. The goal is to help suppliers see how they can maintain and increase their incomes while reducing deforestation.

Contract incentives. Both upstream and downstream companies can integrate L/JI goals and targets into their contracting mechanisms. Companies can integrate preferences for commodities sourced from effective L/JIs into their overall sourcing policies (see “Use preferential sourcing to support L/JIs that are demonstrating progress”). They can also provide preferential contract terms (such as higher volume, longer term, price premium) for suppliers participating in L/JIs (see “Align corporate policy specifications and supplier contract terms with landscape/jurisdictional goals and targets”). In general, contract incentives should be conditioned on both the individual supplier’s performance and the overall progress of the L/JI. By linking incentives to objectives, companies motivate suppliers to support the initiative, engage with government, and collaborate with communities and suppliers to accelerate adoption of good production and protection practices across the landscape/jurisdiction.

Production-protection incentives/payment for environmental services. Companies can directly pay farmers who protect and restore forests (see “Support landscape restoration in line with L/JI objectives”)They can also ensure suppliers gain access to government, multilateral, and carbon market funds that provide payment for environmental services (see “Help develop jurisdictional scale offset programs for deforestation”). As with supply contract incentives, suppliers and communities should be rewarded for progress on protection and restoration both for which they are directly responsible and at the level of the landscape/jurisdiction.

Recognition and public visibility. Downstream companies with significant public visibility (brands, retailers) can motivate upstream participants in their supply chains to participate in L/JIs by giving them public recognition as partners in sustainable sourcing. By recognizing upstream supply partners, downstream companies also add credibility to their own sustainable sourcing commitments.

Upstream companies can work directly with suppliers in the context of an L/JI. Downstream companies can use preferred sourcing and other incentives that send market signals through the supply chain.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Use preferential sourcing to support L/JIs that are demonstrating progress

Duration of engagment

Short (3-12 months to establish preferential sourcing, then ongoing)

Cost

$$-$$$ depending on whether the company chooses to adopt existing standards and criteria and work with existing L/JIs, and whether its own purchasing systems can easily adapt to implement preferential sourcing

In the real world

1

Curating change through a qualifying list

At the 2015 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, the then co-chairs of the Consumer Goods Forum Unilever and Marks & Spencer announced that each company would prioritize sourcing commodities from areas that have designed and are implementing jurisdictional forest and climate initiatives. Since then, they have worked closely with other companies, NGOs, and individual experts on how best to do so. The group’s resulting Commodities/Jurisdiction Approach (CJA) defines a set of criteria for evaluating jurisdictions’ forest and climate progress, and curates a list of jurisdictions that quality. Companies can use this list to inform their procurement decisions with a preferential bias toward qualifying jurisdictions as a complement to their supplier-specific sourcing criteria. The CJA enables companies sourcing different commodities from multiple geographies to adopt a harmonized approach to drive increasingly sustainable outcomes.

2

Keeping an eye on ethical commitments

The Accountability Framework Initiative (AFi) is a collaboration of global and regional environmental and social NGOs. It provides guidance to companies on how to establish, implement, and monitor ethical supply chain commitments. AFi has produced brief guidance on preferential sourcing from L/JIs, and how the incentives and rewards from doing so can drive measurable progress. Yet it also cautions against completely disinvesting from problematic jurisdictions. Rather, companies should keep sourcing from sustainable suppliers within those jurisdictions, while closely engaging with government, suppliers, NGOs, and communities to bolster sustainable production and forest protection in the jurisdictions overall.

Key points for companies

Adoption: Adopt clear and consistent criteria for preferential sourcing at the landscape/jurisdictional level. These criteria will define levels and types of preference in sourcing, and the conditions under which the company will reduce or discontinue sourcing from suppliers in a given landscape/jurisdiction.

  • Criteria for measuring the quality of L/JIs should address their social, environmental, and economic goals; strategic plans; role of governance and policy; and M&E system. The Commodities/Jurisdiction Approach is one tool that provides predetermined criteria for assessing L/JIs.

Implementation: Seek new suppliers within landscapes/jurisdictions that meet selected criteria and/or expand sourcing from existing suppliers in these regions. For early stage L/JIs, companies may still need to assess and verify whether individual suppliers comply with social and envi-ronmental targets. As more advanced L/JIs can demonstrate a high level of effectiveness in stopping deforestation and exploitation, companies may be able to rely on monitoring done at landscape/jurisdictional scale to ensure suppliers meet their sourcing criteria. Companies should publicly specify their use of landscape/jurisdictional preferencing, criteria, and preferred sourcing regions. This sends a clear market signal that progress at that level of the landscape/jurisdiction strongly informs sourcing decisions.

  • Link decisions to decrease purchases from jurisdictions struggling to meet sustainability criteria with ongoing dialogue and engagement with other purchasers, and with the government, suppliers, and other stakeholders in the region. This incentivizes improvement, rather than just letting these jurisdictions default to supplying purchasers with lower standards.

Growing support: Engage directly with L/JIs to help them achieve and maintain their qualifications for preferential sourcing. Brands and retailers with purchasing power can profoundly influence suppliers and governments within a landscape/jurisdiction and should coordinate on preferential sourcing approaches through industry platforms such as the Consumer Goods Forum. The combined influence of several major downstream purchasers can have far greater influence than when purchasers act alone.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Collaborate on joint commodity traceability for a landscape/jurisdiction

Duration of engagment

Short (6-12 months to establish, depending on availability of data)

Cost

($)

Staff time for ongoing data collection and monitoring

($-$$)

Cost to establish/strengthen landscape/jurisdictional partnerships for traceability and certification

($$)

Cost to create baseline data for traceability and certification

($$-$$$)

Cost of technical assistance to set up traceability and certification systems

In the real world

Expanding certification through Centers of Excellence

In Indonesia, companies are working with member districts of the Sustainable Districts Association (LTKL)to create jurisdiction-level commodity certification. Participating companies include Musim Mas, PepsiCo, Mondēlez, Kirana Megatama, and Cargill; work is taking place in Musi Banyuasin, Aceh Tamiang, and Siak districts. The parties are creating district-level Centers of Agricultural Excellence to effectively monitor and report each district’s progress on achieving sustainable commodity production based on credible data. The Centers also seek to expand RSPO certification and participation in schemes – such as the Verified Sourcing Area system – that expand market access for sustainable commodities. To back such efforts the RSPO is adapting its standard to enable extension of the certification approach to the level of a jurisdiction.

Key points for companies

Work together to set up jointly funded, independently operated, open source tracing systems for commodities produced within a landscape/jurisdiction. Under such a system:

  • Land use maps and a traceability system are developed through, agreed to, and regularly updated by L/JI stakeholders.
  • An independent third party gathers stakeholders’ information, including satellite imagery, locations from which companies make purchases, and the movements of commodities from farmgate to their exit from the jurisdiction.
  • The company integrates this local system with its own tracking efforts from the landscape/jurisdiction further downstream.
  • All stakeholders regularly update data to maintain the integrity of their joint traceability system.

If there is interest in expanding from joint traceability to a full certification system for the landscape/jurisdiction, collaborate with the government and third-party independent certifiers to create one. Key elements of this approach:

  • A clear linkage of the certification effort to an L/JI ensures all partners in the initiative support certification as a contribution toward meeting the initiative’s goals.
  • Established and credible standards, and direct engagement with international certifying bodies, enable the landscape/jurisdiction to develop its certification system.
  • Certification bodies have capacity to educate producers and other supply chain partners on the value and the process for achieving certification at the landscape/jurisdictional level.
  • Demonstrated value-add of certification for producers and other supply chain partners motivates and sustains their participation.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Share responsibility for the degree of sustainability progress made at landscape/jurisdictional level

Duration of engagment

Short-Medium (3-6 months to expand sustainability reporting; 3 years to set up a jurisdictional monitoring system)

Cost

Expansion of sustainability reporting to include landscape/jurisdictional progress (no cost if an external resource is available that tracks this progress; $$$ if a monitoring system needs to be created for the landscape/jurisdiction)

($$$)

Obtaining third-party verification of reported impacts if not built into the landscape/jurisdiction-level monitoring system

In the real world

1

1. Forging linkages for landscape-level accountability

Companies often commit to sustainability goals that transcend what they can achieve alone, and report regularly on the steps they are taking to advance those goals. For example, the Global Reporting Initiative, within its Biodiversity Standard, requires companies to report on “whether partnerships exist with third parties to protect or restore habitat areas distinct from where the organization has overseen and implemented restoration or protection measures.” Numerous companies involved in L/JIs report on their contributions to those initiatives. Each effort fits like a piece in a puzzle, part of the whole. However, there is not yet a clearly established practice of companies explicitly committing themselves to the joint achievement of L/JI outcomes and then reporting on the initiative’s overall results as a part of their corporate reporting.

2

2. Tracking progress in a larger context

In an L/JI in the Kakum area of Ghana’s Central Region, Lindt’s Cocoa Foundation partnered with the Nature Conservation Research Center to develop a system for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The M&E system will let all of the L/JI stakeholders track their progress toward meeting the initiative’s goals and enable companies to measure their contributions in a larger context. The M&E system is being designed to track socioeconomic and ecological sustainability, and how the Kakum initiative shapes local views about livelihoods and wellbeing, Climate-Smart Cocoa practices, and landscape governance and management. This effort pilots the LandScale system to track progress at landscape scales.

Key points for companies

Based on its supply chain priorities or where it wields greatest market influence, a company should choose landscapes/jurisdictions in which to take on co-responsibility for sustainability progress alongside other stakeholders. This selection should reflect the strength of the company’s commitment to the achievement of specific results at the landscape/jurisdictional level, and the company’s ability to contribute to those results.

Incorporate some or all of the L/JI’s sustainability targets within the company’s and ensure internal buy-in to be co-accountable for meeting them. A company may commit itself to those targets where it can make the greatest contribution, even while recognizing that the outcome largely depends on stakeholders and forces beyond the company’s control.

Announce the company’s intention to be co-responsible for progress on sustainability, jointly publicized through the L/JI’s external outreach, corporate communications, and any national and global platforms in which it participates. Leverage high-profile gatherings focused on forest and climate issues (e.g. UN Climate Week, the UNFCCC COP, the TFA annual meeting) to amplify a company’s message about claiming a degree of responsibility for an L/JI’s progress.

Ensure a local M&E system is in place to assess progress at the landscape/jurisdictional level. LandScale and Verified Sourcing Areas are systems being developed to measure landscape progress in standardized ways, and track actors’ contributions toward this progress.

  • Lacking a credible and effective monitoring system, work with other stakeholders to design and build one that is transparent, impartial (assured via third party verification), generates relevant and high quality data, and tracks performance regularly over time. To that end, ISEAL Alliance and WWF have developed guidance on creating credible monitoring systems for L/JIs.

Integrate reporting on the L/JI’s progress into the company’s own sustainability reporting, using specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound (SMART) indicators that capture what results the company has set out to achieve.

Incorporate some or all of the L/JI’s sustainability targets within the company’s and ensure internal buy-in to be co-accountable for meeting them.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Support legalization of production to promote adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in line with L/JI objectives

Duration of engagment

Long (3+ years)

Cost

($-$$$)

Assessment of legal issues

($-$$$)

Engagement with communities, producers, and government on legal issues

($$-$$$$)

Support to legalization processes

($$-$$$$)

Incentives for legal and sustainable production

In the real world

1

Licensing smallholder farms paves the way for certification

To advance jurisdiction-wide palm oil certification, Unileverteamed up with Earth Innovation Institute, Yayasan Inovasi Bumi, the Central Kalimantan Provincial Government, and the Kotawaringin Barat District Government. This partnership helped a cooperative of smallholder oil palm producers in Pangkalan Tiga village transition to legal and RSPO certified production systems. Through the project, farmers obtain formal land certificates, business licenses, and environmental permits to bring their production into the legal economy. The approach to legalization leverages technology to accelerate land registration, including mobile phone apps and open source geospatial information systems (GIS). The project also provides capital to establish extension services to smallholders to facilitate sustainability certification, offtake agreements for certified products, and other incentives for sustainable production.

2

Guatemala’s milestone in palm oil certification

In a milestone toward achieving RSPO certificationin Guatemala, Cargill, Oleon, and Palmas del Ixcán worked closely with Solidaridad to support smallholder palm oil farmers to legalize their operations. The partners conducted smallholder environmental impact assessments, then submitted these to the Guatemalan government, which issued 91 environmental licenses.

Key points for companies

Determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has set a goal around legalizing commodity production. If so, companies should align their efforts with the L/JI’s goals and geographic priorities. Alignment could mean redirecting and/or expanding current legalization support or investing in programs delivered by others. Upstream companies with robust farmer outreach and hands-on training capacities may take on leading roles, while downstream companies are better positioned to provide funding and support legalization efforts from a distance.

Assess the legal issues related to land tenure and identify the most significant obstacles to sustainable production. Multi-stakeholder working groups can offer diverse expertise and experience, while companies can provide legal expertise to identify bottlenecks and regulatory challenges that hinder legalization of smallholder production.

Clarify how legalization will contribute to sustainable conservation and production goals:

  • Inside forest reserves, recognize land claims of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Outside forest reserves, customary land tenure may conflict with government titling, or private land titling may be incomplete. In either case, the lack of clear land rights can create an informal and insecure land market that undermines incentives for individuals, cooperatives, and small enterprises to invest in sustainable production. Clarifying and formalizing tenure can support the security and sustainability of commercial production.

Government agencies play a central role in galvanizing and legitimizing any multi-stakeholder legalization initiative. If agencies with authority over land rights are not already part of the multi-stakeholder group, participating agencies or companies with the right relationships can wrap them into the discussions.

To resolve legal issues, companies should prepare to do substantial outreach, support, and dialogue.

  • To help resolve tenure conflicts, companies can provide funding for technical expertise, mediation, and other services.
  • Where there is informal production, companies can incentivize farmers and local traders to register and become licensed by committing to purchase from them, and/or by offering other services and support.
  • Companies can also advocate with government agencies to simplify administrative requirements for small-scale commercial production.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Support landscape restoration in line with L/JI objectives

Duration of engagment

Long (3-5 years)

Cost

$$-$$$$ depending on scale of restoration, availability of other sources of funding, and extent of existing capacity (staff nurseries, monitoring systems, etc.)

In the real world

1

Restoring forests in Malaysia

To support the conservation goals of Sabah, Malaysia, Unilever is funding the restoration of 1,400 ha of riparian forests and wildlife corridors. Unilever funds have enabled a local timber plantation company, Sabah Softwoods Berhad, to restore a wildlife corridor that links large blocks of intact forest. This has allowed elephants and other species to travel between forest areas unimpeded, which has dramatically reduced loss of revenues due to crop damage on plantation land. There are also plans to restore riparian reserves, where oil palm trees were wrongly planted up to riverbanks, which will protect rivers from sedimentation and rehabilitate pathways for wildlife movement.

2

Leveraging agroforestry for landscape restoration in Indonesia

Working with Conservation International and the Tapanuli Selatan district government in North Sumatra,Indonesia, Unilever has initiated a 100 ha agroforestry pilot that will restore native trees to the landscape. By training farmers to make money from multi-species agroforestry systems, the pilot also will help stem illegal incursions into the forests for small scale palm oil production. The initiative is intended to serve as a best practice model for transitioning smallholder production in support of the district-wide goal to restore 21,000 priority hectares and the province-wide goal of restoring 500,000 priority hectares by 2030.

3

Co-planting forests and food to restore degraded landscapes in Ghana

Mondelēz International is supporting restoration of 400 ha in Ghana’s Brong Region in collaboration with Ghana’s Forestry Commission, UNDP, and communities around the Ayum Forest Reserve. With government permission, Mondēlez and UNDP advanced restoration in the Reserve using the Modified Taungya System, whereby farmers receive access to degraded areas for planting trees interspersed with food crops until the tree canopy closes. The partners created nurseries to raise native tree seedlings chosen for ecological fit and utility to local communities, distributed 2 ha plots to farmers, and are developing a scheme to pay participating farmers for environmental services.

0

Unlocking Brazil’s basin-level restoration priorities

In partnership with WWF and local NGOs, International Paper (IP) and HP are funding restoration of 600 hectares in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest biome. IP funds have supported prioritization of land parcels for restoration in São Paolo and Minas Gerais states, convening local stakeholders to agree on the prioritization and implementation strategies, landowner outreach, planting operations, and monitoring of plantings. HP funds are leveraging this investment to expand the area restored in São Paolo state, and to replicate this work in Paraná and Rio de Janeiro states. These efforts are advancing basin-level restoration priorities to protect riparian areas and ensure connectivity of key biodiversity habitats.

Key points for companies

Determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has identified the extent and type of degradation, set a restoration goal, and mapped areas in need of restoration. If so, support restoration in one or more prioritized areas.

If restoration goals have not yet been set, work with other stakeholders in the landscape/jurisdiction to define them (see “Co-design jurisdictional goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and implementation strategies”), knowing that long-term sustainability must mitigate the underlying causes of deforestation and degradation.

If restoration areas have yet to be prioritized, work through the L/JI with local experts (e.g. government agencies, NGOs, universities, naturalists) to determine where restoration would have the highest impact. Optimal locations maximize benefits for nature (e.g. habitat connectivity, water flows) and communities (e.g. non-timber forest products, poverty reduction, health) at the lowest cost.

Fund local partners to procure tree seedlings and cover the costs of planting them in prioritized areas. If nurseries can’t provide enough seedlings to match the scale of planned restoration work, consider funding their expansion and partnering with botanical gardens. Funds are also needed for maintenance and monitoring to ensure plantings survive.

As restoration includes not just direct costs (e.g. buying, planting, and weeding around seedlings) but also opportunity costs to landowners from not farming on restored land, companies should pay landowners and managers for environmental services generated when they reserve and maintain portions of their land toward restoration. Establishing a system for ongoing payments increase the odds of long-term success. Companies can offer premium crop prices to farmers undertaking restoration, make direct payments based on evidence of continuing restoration, or contribute to restoration funds at the community or landscape/jurisdictional level. To ensure that incentives to maintain restored areas endure, companies should position other entities to take on these payments over time.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

Enhance sustainability-pegged financial flows to producers

Duration of engagment

Short-Medium: training (1-3 months); engaging with a fund to support smallholders (1 year); providing loans, guarantees, or offtake agreements or (up to 3 years).

Cost

($)

Staff time to engage with government and/or private financial institutions to create/improve a development fund to support smallholders

($)

Staff time and/or funding to train smallholders on financial basics

($-$$$)

Direct loans to smallholders

($$)

Guaranteed smallholder loans or offtake agreements

In the real world

Many companies help smallholders gain access to financing, but these efforts have rarely been connected with broader landscape/jurisdictional strategies. If undertaken in the context of an L/JI, the same efforts can leverage partners’ works and deliver significantly greater impacts.

1

Lending cash to conserve the forests’ future

In Ucayali, Peru, the French chocolate company KAOKA signed a long-term partnership agreement with a cocoa producers cooperative (Collpa de Loros), which leveraged the agreement to lower its risk profile when seeking a loan. The loan enabled the cooperative to invest in cocoa harvesting and processing infrastructure, rehabilitate 200 hectares of cocoa plantings to increase yields, and develop demonstration plots to boost productivity even further. The cooperative also received the equivalent of a US$285,000 loan guarantee from a regional development fund established by the Ucayali government (FONDESAM), on condition that it agreed to maintain existing forest cover on the individual producers’ farms. About 100 smallholders were able to use this credit guarantee to access a US$385,000 bank loan at an interest rate 5% lower than the prime rate offered by the traditional agricultural lender, Agrobanco. The Ucayali government is now working to scale and replicate the successful financing of this cooperative by developing a technical assistance and financial incentive program for producers that adhere to sustainability criteria contained within the regional government’s Marca Ucayali initiative.

2

Leveraging loans to transform palm oil production

In Colombia, Cargill is teaming up with Solidaridad and Oleoflores to offer loans used by farmers to implement sustainable palm oil production practices. Under this program, a credit scoring tool considers farmers’ agronomic practices, collateral, and capacity for repayment to show which farmers are eligible for loans. The program aims to extend credit to more than 5,000 farmers across the country.

Key points for companies

Determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has set a goal around enhancing smallholder finance in support of sustainable production. If so, companies should align their efforts with the L/JI’s goals and geographic priorities. Alignment could mean adjusting their own existing efforts or investing in programs delivered by others. Upstream companies with capacity to engage smallholders should take the lead; downstream companies can provide funding to support financing programs.

Identify which smallholders need to participate to meet landscape/jurisdiction-level conservation and sustainable production goals, and determine what they need to succeed:

  • If not already organized into groups, encourage smallholders to do so, with help from local civil society organizations.
  • Identify the financial hurdles that prevent smallholders from earning a living in a way that protects forests and meets other conservation goals.
  • Design interventions in a way that links financial access to forest protection and/or soil conservation, better cropping practices, etc.
  • Ask smallholder participants to provide geo-coordinates (an effort eased by technical assistance) for their plots, thus enabling remote sensing to monitor performance and ensure compliance with forest conservation agreements.

Tailor the specific form of a company’s intervention should to the identified financial hurdles:

  • If farmers lack capital to invest in sustainable practices, a company could provide long-term contracts to help them access loans with reasonable terms. That would enable smallholders to make the needed investments yet maintain their livelihoods for the loan’s duration.
  • If farmers lack experience or comfort dealing with banks, a company could help train them to engage in the formal financial market. Smallholders could especially benefit from assistance in creating the formal business plans that lenders require before deciding to extend credit. A company could also foster relationships between smallholders and a microfinance, regional, or national financial program/institution. They are uniquely positioned to show the big picture of how access to finance can build financial security, and can help smallholders gain saving, borrowing, and repayment experience.
  • If farmers can’t provide lenders with a loan guarantee, or collateral, a company could step in to guarantee loans on smallholders’ behalf. It could also negotiate long-term offtake agreements with smallholders for the commodities they produce, which could serve as collateral for their loans.
  • If farmers are so small or remote, they can only access disadvantageous loan terms, a company can offer supply chain financing, extend other forms of credit, or offer small loans to these farmers directly. Such alternative loans should offer terms on par with traditional financial institutions, structured flexibly enough to account for the more challenging environments smallholders face. Alternatively, a company might advocate and work with government to create or improve a development fund designed to finance smallholders that have difficulty accessing credit from traditional lenders. In both cases, the company should streamline the loan process, for example by creating a way for smallholders to prequalify their business plans with potential funders.

Consider both up-front financing to support a transition to sustainable production, and results-based payments that reward smallholders and communities for maintaining forest cover and other valuable natural resources in the landscape. Results-based payments can take the form of: renewable offtake guarantees, where renewal is contingent on forest protection; periodic direct payments to households, cooperatives, and/or community funds for forest protection; and/or contributions to jurisdiction-level or national funds (for example, REDD+ funds) that are allocated to communities and smallholders by an L/JI in exchange for forest protection.

  • Where local laws provide payment for environmental services, companies can connect smallholders with information about how to access these funding streams.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

Business case for undertaking this intervention

Support farmer training on best management practices and provide incentives to implement them

Duration of engagment

Medium-Long (1-5 years)

Cost

($)

Sharing knowledge and experience

($$)

Funds to conduct farmer baseline assessment, if needed

($$)

Processes to implement FPIC, when needed

($$)

Funds to support implementing agencies that coordinate and conducting farmer training and extension

($$)

Staff time to conduct farmer trainings

($$)

Monitoring and evaluation

($$$)

Resources and supplies provided to farmers (e.g. harvesting equipment, seed, fertilizer)

In the real world

Company support for farmers to improve production practices is not new. Yet these efforts are too often disconnected from broader landscape/jurisdictional strategies. The following examples include cases in which companies took important action in the absence of agreed or clearly articulated L/JI goals and priorities. If undertaken in the context of an L/JI, such actions could leverage partners’ efforts and help to deliver significantly greater impacts.

1

Training smallholders to reduce deforestation

Unilever helps Indonesian oil palm farmers improve management practices in several jurisdictions. The company funds project implementers to help certify smallholders to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. That process involves mapping and surveying smallholders, identifying gaps to obtain certification, securing the required land titles and business permits, providing personal protective equipment, training on Good Agricultural Practices, socializing expectations around no deforestation, peat, and exploitation, and building farmer groups and internal control systems. Unilever also buys the RSPO credits smallholders generate once they are certified. Examples include:

a. In the Kotawaringin Barat district of Central Kalimantan province, the company has partnered with the district and provincial governments, Earth Innovation Institute, and Yayasan Inovasi Bumi to advance jurisdiction-wide palm oil certification across the village of Pangkalan Tiga. Unilever provides capital to establish extension services for certifying smallholders, secure agreements for certified products, and incentivize sustainable production. By the end of 2017, the project had certified 190 independent smallholders under the RSPO and Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil standards and is targeting over 1,000 more.

b. In the Indragiri Hulu and Indragiri Hilir districts of Riau province, Unilever partnered with Daemeter, World Education International, an independent palm oil mill, and surrounding independent smallholders to improve smallholder yields. Company funds enabled the mapping of 4,000 farmers, training of 1,864 at Farmer Field Schools, and hiring 26 Farmer Facilitators. Farmers learned Good Agricultural Practices, and gained awareness on no deforestation, peat, and exploitation objectives, while still improving productivity.

c. The Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL) is a multi-stakeholder initiative in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces aimed at driving economic development, reducing poverty, and improving natural resource management. Unilever is supporting the CSL by engaging their palm oil suppliers and funding Conservation International and the regency government of Tapanuli Selatan in North Sumatra to train 1,000 smallholder farmers at a sustainable palm oil field school. Lessons focus on Good Agricultural Practices for oil palm production as a step toward achieving RSPO certification. (Unilever is also supporting restoration in this landscape – see “Support landscape restoration in line with L/JI objectives”).

2

Building capacity for greener farms

Musim Mas and IFC lead a large Indonesian program that, by 2020, targets 20,000 smallholders for outreach 2,000 for capacity building to achieve RSPO certification. In the regency of Aceh Singkil, General Mills and Musim Mas are collaborating to create a ‘Smallholder Hub’ that trains smallholder palm oil farmers in Good Agricultural Practices, business management, and practices that avoid deforestation and degradation of peat soils. General Mills will fund half of a two-year program that targets 1,000 smallholders. To expand the program’s reach Musim Mas will train government extension officers who will then in turn train smallholders. Musim Mas aims to establish additional Smallholder Hubs to facilitate companies combining their resources and expertise to train farmers.

3

Investing in ranchers to shrink cattle’s forest footprint

Sao Marcelo Farms, a large livestock seller in Mato Grosso, Brazil, is working with Carrefour and IDH to engage its calf suppliers to improve quality, intensify production, conserve forests, and comply with environmental and land use laws. This work is carried out under the PCI Regional Compact in the Juruena River Valley – a regionalization of Mato Grosso’s statewide Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI) initiative. In 2018, Carrefour entered into a three-year partnership with IDH to increase sustainable cattle production in the Juruena and Araguaia valleys, where the company’s foundation is investing EUR 1.9 million in 450 ranchers who will intensify cattle production on smaller land footprints, restore degraded pasture, access credit, and comply with Brazil’s Forest Code.

4

Custom-tailored training for cocoa farmers in the field

Three dozen leading cocoa and chocolate companies are engaging the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative—an agreement and accompanying action plan to end deforestation from cocoa production and reforest degraded landscapes. Under CFI action plans, companies directly provide or finance the training of cocoa farmers in Good Agricultural Practices and Climate-Smart Agriculture in Cocoa. For instance:

a. Cargill Farmer Field Schools bring community facilitators to train groups of farmers in the field for seven months of demonstrations, idea sharing, and field practices that enhance climate resilience. Cargill also offers one-on-one coaching to help farmers develop digital Farm Development Plans to improve their long-term financial planning and has established seedling nurseries for native tree species to provide stocks for transplanting onto farms.

b. Touton uses its Rural Service Centre (RSC) model in Ghana’s Ashanti and Brong Regions to introduce farm-level training, professionalization, coaching on climate-smart principles, and support in creating Farm Development Plans. Together with Solidaridad, the company uses an app that standardizes the farmer engagement process: first it sensitizes farmers on the need to professionalize farm practices in ways that increase yields and improve wellbeing; then it generates a set of recommendations tailored to each farmer’s stated aspirations regarding cocoa farming; finally, it asks whether farmers wish to enroll in the training program. RSC agronomists train enrolled farmers to rehabilitate degraded cocoa farms, properly use agricultural inputs, and develop business skills for planning investments. Touton and Rainforest Alliance implement another app, FarmGrow, which provides farmers with long-term personal coaching plans and techniques to improve cocoa yields on existing cultivated land. The app combines detailed household profile data with the agronomic status of cocoa plots to create a business plan, complete with a profit-and-loss statement tailored to the individual farm. By collecting data about farmer interests, Touton can segment and tailor the support it provides and more effectively direct investments.

c. To inform its investments and enhance cacao agroforestry, Cémoi conducted baseline studies of farmers’ agricultural practices and perceptions of non-cacao trees. It then developed cacao-based agroforestry models, invested in nursery capacity to increase availability of seedlings for restoring forest cover on farms, trained nursery workers, established agroforestry resource centers, created demonstration plots, and trained and coached farmers on growing shade cocoa.

5

Training the trainers in Ghana’s forest frontline

A key strategy of Ghana’s national action plan under the Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) is to eliminate deforestation associated with smallholder-grown oil palm, while helping them increase productivity by adopting Best Management Practices (BMPs). The Ghana National APOI Platform identifies Agricultural Extension Officers and Regional Crop Officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as key partners who can effectively disseminate BMPs (e.g. new findings, knowledge, and techniques in managing oil palm). Since these frontline officers interact with smallholders in their daily operations, building officer capacity is crucial to achieving Ghana’s sustainability goals. Oil palm companies worked with the government and NGOs to develop a “train-the-trainer” course. The course strengthens the capacity of government officers to help farmers adopt oil palm BMPs, with regular checks to monitor progress.

6

Earning income from deforestation-free livelihoods

In 2018 Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP), with Proforest and Partnership for Forests, developed a community-private partnership to help smallholder palm oil producers overcome challenges in Ghana’s Adum Banso traditional area. The initiative offered training and guidance on social and environmental best practice requirements in line with RSPO standards. It also worked with local NGOs to help smallholder farmers develop alternative livelihoods, so they wouldn’t clear forest frontiers for income.

7

Tying farmer incentives to conservation

Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and IDH crafted an investment scheme that would incentivize communities to protect forests and biodiversity. Under its concession agreement with the Liberian government, the company is required to support 1ha of palm oil outgrowers – pre-contracted farmers – for every 5ha of company-managed plantation. Under the outgrower scheme, GVL and communities would develop land use plans, support community land rights, and sign production-protection agreements under which the communities would conserve 5ha of forest for every 1ha of community oil palm plantation. Outgrowers would also receive incentive payments for complying with the forest protection plan, and GVL would provide capital and technical assistance to establish the community plantations. Regrettably, the outgrower scheme has not yet materialized; changes in both the Liberian government and GVL’s management led negotiations to slow down.1

Key points for companies

A company must first determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has set a goal around training farmers for sustainable commodity production. If so, companies should align their efforts with the L/JI’s geographic priorities. Alignment could mean redirecting and/or expanding existing farmer training or investing in programs delivered by others. Upstream companies with capacity to engage and train farmers can take the lead, while downstream companies could provide funding and incentives for farmers to adopt best management practices.

Companies can support farmers in several ways:

Understand the dynamics that farmers confront within a given L/JI. This ensures that chosen interventions fit the context. Most farmers want to manage land sustainably but may often lack knowledge, skills, or access to money and tools that could help them do so. By understanding baseline conditions and practices, companies can better identify specific gaps that prevent farmers from increasing productivity and avoiding deforestation, and thus result in better designed and targeted interventions.

  • If these gaps have not yet been defined, consider funding local partners to collect baseline data on smallholder farmers, location and quality of forest and conservation areas, location and yield of commodity production areas, and the locally relevant government policies and programs that impact farmers.
  • More advanced initiatives may have already specified these gaps in an action plan jointly developed by a multi-stakeholder body that includes farmer representation. If so, consider selecting and undertaking one or more interventions that align with the identified needs.
  • The most advanced initiatives may have developed their own farmer training and/or agroforestry programs to disseminate best practices. Consider funding these programs to expand the number of farmers receiving training, support technical or equipment needs, or spread awareness about the programs among farmers.

Fund training and extension programs, to help farmers overcome gaps in knowledge or skills. Too often, cocoa farmers clear forest simply due to the misconception that sun-grown cocoa trees are more productive than those grown in the shade. Likewise, rubber tappers often do not know the proper cutting angle and depth to maximize latex yield from a rubber tree. Companies at all supply chain levels can fund training and extension programs run by government agencies, civil society experts, or private service providers. Producers, processers, and traders often employ in-house agricultural experts, who could directly teach and advise farmers, or augment public extension initiatives. Companies can run courses, support logistics for training sessions, provide equipment or educational materials, and distribute high-yielding seedlings and fertilizers.

  • To expand the reach of training programs, companies could compensate farmers reluctant to take time off (and forgo income) so they can afford to attend trainings.

Upstream companies should ensure farmers have access to the best available technology. Smallholder oil palm growers, for instance, often rely on inferior germplasm with yields far below those on industrial plantations; with better plant materials, they could significantly increase their incomes without needing to expand their farms.

Incentivize best management practices. Rewarding uptake of good practice through preferential sourcing from performing framers, price premiums, or long-term purchase guarantees increases the likelihood that training and extension programs will create meaningful and lasting behavior change among recipient farmers.

Fund or provide staff for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). M&E should measure the degree to which trained farmers adopt best management practices, and the impacts adoption has toward sustainable outcomes. Assessment will determine how effective farmer trainings are, and where to modify and improve interventions.

Scale the improvement of management practices. Farmers throughout a landscape/jurisdiction will benefit from access to training and tools, but an individual company can only support so many by itself. To expand the impact, a company should:

  • Share its accumulated knowledge and experience—both challenges and successes—and encourage peers to support other farmers.
  • Directly train or indirectly fund the training of government extension officers so they can reach more farmers. To avoid any perception of improper influence, be sure that government support responds to needs raised through multi-stakeholder consensus and is transparently overseen by the initiative’s stakeholders.
  • Advocate and engage with relevant government entities to embed improved management into rural development policies.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention

1 See graphic on p.26 in Neeff, T., von Lüpke, H., & Hovani, L. (2018). Cross-Sector Collaboration to Tackle Tropical Deforestation – Diagnosing Backbone Support in Jurisdictional Programs. The Nature Conservancy: Arlington, Virginia.

Financially support the operations of the multi-stakeholder institution leading an L/JI

Duration of engagment

Medium-Long (2-5 years; 2 years is the shortest duration for a multi-stakeholder partnership to show concrete results)

Cost

Multi-stakeholder platforms tend to require annual budgets in the $100-200K range

($)

Organization costs (e.g. travel, venue booking)

($$)

Third party to facilitate multi-stakeholder discussions

($$$)

Institution costs (e.g. staff, action plan implementation, data collection)

In the real world

1

Underwriting multi-stakeholder governance

A group of companies and foundations have provided funds that support the Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL) initiative in Aceh and in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Funding has gone toward high-level coordination of the initiative, convening multi-stakeholder workshops that shape the direction of the initiative, and coordination of working groups that are building out the initiative’s components. Funding, technical support and guidance have come from Barry Callebaut, Mars Wrigley Confectionary, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, Unilever, Walmart Foundation, Conservation International, Earthworm Foundation, IDH, The Livelihoods Fund, UNDP, and the Global Environment Facility. Corporate funding and technical support also underwrite some regency-level L/JIs convened within the provinces under the CSL umbrella. This helps Aceh Tamiang and Southern Aceh carry out landscape-level diagnoses of deforestation drivers, develop community alternative livelihoods, and build capacity for palm oil mills and plantations to implement NDPE commitments.

2

Funding implementation of a jurisdictional action plan

Several companies have committed financial support for Sabah, Malaysia’s Jurisdictional Certification Steering Committee (JCSC)– the multi-stakeholder body charged with achieving the state’s certification and forest conservation goals – and/or activities it oversees. HSBC funds enabled district-level HCV mapping and land use planning as a first step toward scaling these efforts state-wide. Unilever funds enable the JCSC’s secretariat to more effectively carry out its work streams. Several other companies are funding a conservation assurance index – to be developed by local government and research institutions – that will monitor progress toward the state’s goals each year by providing reliable and objective information about governance, environmental health, sustainable production, and social development.

3

Tea companies support landscape-scale conservation initiative

Unilever Tea and Finlays have committed annual funding to support an IDH initiative to conserve a highly threatened part of the Mau Forests Complex in southeastern Kenya, by providing economic benefit to local communities. The corporate funds, augmented by the Kenya Tea Development Agency and the Safaricom Foundation, help implement the initiative’s action agenda to plant more natives trees across a 250 ha landscape, intensify livestock grazing, and carry out surveillance against illegal activities impacting the forest.

Key points for companies

Engage with the government or other entity leading the L/JI to understand the specific funding needs. The kind and costs of these needs will depend on the initiative’s maturity, from outreach or convening efforts in early stages, to building consensus or developing strategies and action plans around a shared vision during middle phases, to operating expenses, hiring secretariat staff, implementing plans, monitoring data, or tracking progress as the initiative matures.

  • Request a budget to better determine which categories of activity in the initiative need how much money and what other sources of funding are currently or potentially available.

Determine whether to provide unrestricted funds which the initiative allocates as needed, or funds for specific activities. Unrestricted funds help buffer unforeseen costs that can often arise and shift immediate priorities.

Hold initiative leads accountable to ensure funding is having the desired impact. Ask periodic progress reports (e.g. semi-annual) on how the money is spent, measured against the goals to which company finances are contributing. Review reports with an eye toward effectiveness and suggest to the initiative lead how they could improve.

Rather than go it alone, an individual business can better provide a portion of the funds, then seek complementary monetary or in-kind contributions from other companies, government agencies, large conservation NGOs, etc. Joint funding avoids any perception of disproportionate influence by any one entity and ensures that other stakeholders have “skin in the game” for the success of the initiative.

  • If one or more companies provide early funding for an L/JI and are joined by other companies later on, all parties should agree on how the newcomers can equitably support later-stage needs so that they feel properly invested in the initiative’s success.

As the L/JI shifts from planning to implementation, the scale of funding required is likely to increase by orders of magnitude (10-100), depending on how ambitious and cross-sectoral the targets and activities are. At this stage, company support still matters, but it should identify other and more sustainable sources of financing so the initiative can achieve its landscape/jurisdictional goals. See also “Enhance sustainability-pegged financial flows”, “Help develop carbon offset programs”.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention