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

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 additional/alternative livelihood activities and practices that reduce pressure on forests

Duration of engagment

Medium-Long (2 years for baseline assessment and planning; 5 years to achieve self-sustaining alternative livelihoods)

Cost

($)

Staff time to liaise with jurisdictional governments and communities

($)

Costs associated with workshops and meetings

($)

Training on developing new products, entrepreneurship, and attracting investment (e.g. business and investment plans)

($$)

Participatory socio-economic studies to identify gaps, needs, and opportunities

($$)

Processes to implement FPIC, when needed

In the real world

While companies have long helped farmers and communities to diversify livelihoods, few have done so as part of landscape/jurisdictional strategies. The following cases include some in which companies have taken important action in the absence of agreed or clearly articulated L/JI goals and priorities. If undertaken in the context of an L/JI, the same actions can leverage partners’ efforts and help to deliver significantly greater impacts.

1

West Africans cook food without consuming forests

Nestlé has distributed over 800 efficient cookstoves in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to reduce pressure on forests and improve family health. The company has also helped establish village savings and loan associations for over 9,400 people to finance their small business opportunities.

2

Preventing future unemployment-driven deforestation

Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) offers livelihood packages to the communities that supply its labour force. The company recognizes that automation trends in palm oil production will displace labour and erode jobs over time, at which point underemployed workers may take up unsustainable practices to make up lost income. To anticipate and mitigate this risk, the company livelihood package includes training, support with agricultural inputs, and market access for activities like yield improvement on rubber plantations, organic farming, and aquaculture. GAR also manages an outgrower scheme, in which smallholder cooperatives gain dedicated training to convert non forested community land into productive plantations.

3

Boosting productivity, shrinking farmland footprints

Hershey’s has invested in increasing the economic resilience of cocoa farmers by supporting over 14,000 farmers in sustainable livelihood and income diversification programs. These programs provide training on cassava and plantain production and other income generating activities, which may help farmers earn enough that they need not expand their farm footprints. It has also helped to establish almost 200 Village Saving and Loan Associations, totaling over 5,000 farmers, to educate communities on responsible saving, borrowing, and investment. These Associations have provided over US$ 250,000 in loans to support education and micro businesses.

4

Earning income without jeopardizing Ghana’s forests

In 2018, Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) partnered with communities in Ghana’s Adum Banso traditional area, Proforest, and Partnership for Forests to address challenges faced by smallholder palm oil producers. This initiative trained farmers on social and environmental best practices for growing palm oil and worked with local NGOs to develop alternative livelihood schemes to prevent further clearance of forest frontiers. Over time, stakeholders formed local Forest Landscape Governance Board Committees to oversee efforts to protect forests and reduce social impacts in the area.

Key points for companies

Determine whether the target landscape/jurisdiction has set a goal to promote additional or alternative livelihoods to those that drive forest loss or environmental degradation. If so, companies should align their efforts with the L/JI’s goals and geographic priorities. Alignment could mean redirecting and/or expanding current livelihoods support or investing in programs delivered by others. Upstream companies with robust community outreach capacities can take the lead in training for alterative livelihoods, backed by funding and incentives from downstream companies.

Companies can support additional/alternative livelihoods if they:

  • Identify value-addition opportunities within the supply chain
  • Support crop diversification through land assessment, farmer extension services, and long-term commodity purchasing programs
  • Promote other viable business opportunities that generate non-farm employment in target communities (e.g. clean energy, clean water, education)
  • Help farmers develop financial literacy, management, and entrepreneurship skills
  • Invest seed capital into micro-finance for small and medium enterprise development (directly and with local, national, and international co-investors)

There are various strategies to unlock additional or alternative livelihoods:

  • Support stakeholder mapping and analysis to identify who needs what outcomes, and why. Collaborate with an organization that has a track record supporting community economic development. Then help stakeholders establish governance structures, appropriate smallholder schemes, livelihood models, and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.
  • Identify alternative livelihood opportunities in the company’s operations and supply chains that are consistent with the strategies of the L/JI. For example, companies could promote alternative crops in suitable locations, invest in shared processing plants, and expand economic opportunity to women.
  • Open new alternative livelihood opportunities by contributing business planning expertise, funding the provision of relevant expertise, and encouraging and supporting the participation of relevant suppliers. Specific arenas for support include:
    • Business models: conduct market research on service industries and sustainable forest-based, agricultural, or non-natural resource products; product development; market testing; business plan development; legal entity establishment
    • Human resources: assess capacities and bridge gaps for village planning groups, community-based entrepreneurs, innovation hub managers, business expert rosters, and government economic development agencies and programs
    • Institutional and policy dynamics: assess how best to integrate new products and services into local and regional economic development plans and programs, as well as changes needed to regulatory frameworks to enable and incentivize community-based enterprises and regional industries
    • Investor communication and outreach: identify potential investors and engage them through a well-developed communications and marketing effort; present a compelling business opportunity, facilitate due diligence, and broker relationships
  • Train and build the capacity of local communities to establish and run small businesses. Communities often need help promoting a savings culture to boost their financial management skills and credit worthiness. Companies should align support with the L/JI’s objectives, with an eye to helping today’s new businesses become future sustainable supply chain partners.
  • Promote regular progress reports to the L/JI from beneficiaries trained in alternative livelihoods.

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

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

Pre-competitively align companies in your sector operating in the same geography to effectively participate in an L/JI

Duration of engagment

Medium-Long (2 years to develop and agree on sustainability protocols; 5 years to fully implement these protocols across the sector)

Cost

($)

Staff time/flights to participate in technical committee meetings

($)

Organization cost to set up and participate in in-person meetings (e.g. travel, venue booking)

($$)

Funding to convene the sector if it is not already convened

($$)

Pre-feasibility studies to identify technical solutions, potentially sub-contracted to external parties

($$)

Work to develop internal systems that follow agreed sustainability protocols

In the real world

1

Deforestation-free tequila production

The Regulatory Council of Tequila (CRT) is a Mexican industry association that promotes tequila’s quality, prestige, and sustainability. CRT developed a Sustainability Strategy for the Agave-Tequila Supply Chain, which aimed to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, reliance on fossil fuels, and water use. To help implement this strategy, CRT and the Jalisco State Government (at COP25 in Madrid) agreed on specific measures to reduce the negative environmental impacts of agave cultivation and tequila production. Foremost, CRT would design and implement an agave-tequila Zero Deforestation Protocol and Certificate that integrates environmental criteria required by the state’s Secretary of Environment and Territorial Development (SEMADET) related to planning, zoning, and verification of new agave plantations as being deforestation-free. The Secretary is now drafting a reference map for monitoring compliance by agave producers with the deforestation-free protocol, which CRT will use to authorize future agave expansion only in unforested areas. Meanwhile, SEMADET will develop and adopt monitoring systems that report performance against deforestation in plantations.

2

Investing in clean Cameroonian cocoa

In two Cameroonian landscapes – Grand Mbam and Djourn-Mintom – and with facilitation from IDH and WWF, a group of cocoa sector companies is working to identify investible projects that will contribute to achieving landscape-level targets around sustainable production, forest protection, and community livelihoods. The companies include global businesses that source from Cameroon (e.g., Olam, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Puratos), chocolate makers and brands (e.g., Mars, Natra), and local cocoa buying companies (e.g., Neoindustry, Ndongo Essomba). Detailed plans and investment opportunities were being discussed and developed at the time of writing.

3

Clean fuel for Cambodia’s textile industry

The public rarely traces deforestation to clothing. But H&M Group was concerned about unsustainable wood fuel used as a main source of thermal energy for garment factories. To address the issue, it launched a collaborative program in 2019 known as the Supply Chain And Landscape Approach in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Cambodia (SCALE). Following a multi-stakeholder workshop, other textile brands including Puma, Marks & Spencer, and Li-fung joined the initiative, and collaborated on a call to action to accelerate the use of alternative and sustainable energy across the landscape.

4

Joining forces to improve palm oil production

In two districts of Riau province, Indonesia, a group of palm oil producers and downstream buyers (Cargill, Danone, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Neste, PepsiCo, and Unilever) have combined their resources to collaborate under the Siak Pelalawan Landscape Programme (SPLP). The companies signed an agreement that covers information sharing, funding allocation, monitoring, reporting, communication, and multi-stakeholder engagement. Within each district, SPLP is linking with multi-stakeholder processes (Green Siak in Siak and Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FoKSBI) in Pelalawan) to ensure alignment with local priorities. Program implementation began in 2020 and will run through 2024. Workstreams include: conservation and restoration of 5,000 ha; village-level support on sustainable production-protection models; development and implementation of district-wide traceability to plantations; transitioning mills to NDPE compliance; and support for multi-stakeholder platform development in both districts.

5

The danger of misalignment with government

In 2014, six of the largest palm oil producing companies in Indonesia (Asian Agri, Astra Agro Lestari, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, and Wilmar) signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), committing themselves to zero-deforestation. The pledge was not new; each company had already published its own No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitment prior to signing. But it raised concerns by Indonesia’s government that IPOP might become a cartel, and a threat to smallholder development. Independent analysis suggested that the IPOP signatories organized in a way that the government perceived as a challenge to its sovereignty over producers, rule-making, and economic organization. In 2016, in response to official pushback, IPOP dissolved itself. The controversy and lack of high-level buy-in highlight the limits of corporate action and the critical importance of engaging government at various levels to achieve sustainable commodity production at scale. The IPOP experience served as a primary impetus for the development of jurisdictional initiatives in Indonesia.

Key points for companies

Effective L/JIs require strong government participation, but when they participate may vary. In some cases, it may be more practical for the private sector first to align interests and coordinate action within a landscape/jurisdiction, then later jointly approach the relevant government entities with a proposal for addressing environmental and social challenges across the region. In short, timing matters. When government is paralyzed or distracted by upcoming elections, or internal conflict between national and regional authorities interferes with regional collaboration, companies may make more early progress aligning priorities amongst themselves. What’s more, governments may be more willing to approve, support, and join coordinated efforts to address deforestation after they see strong, unified support from the private sector. In other instances, it may be more practical for companies to reverse that sequence. For example, where officials have convened a multi-stakeholder group to tackle landscape-level challenges, the private sector may collaborate to help shape and deliver on action plans that are already being negotiated.

Make a strategic choice between a single-sector or a cross-sector L/JI. The former may be easier to start; the latter easier to expand. Either can work if the conveners have a strategy for addressing the respective challenges and risks. When a single commodity is the dominant driver, but is shaped by other factors (e.g. logging, artisanal mining, subsistence farming), it makes sense to narrow focus on the commodity. Even then, engage actors from other sectors early and often, to strengthen their commitment as the L/JI develops.

If an association or discussion platform does not already exist within the landscape/jurisdiction, a company needs first to convene its sector. A (typically large) company might choose to take on the lead role as primary convener, or work in partnership with influential peers, or several could turn for help to outside facilitation.

  • While finding ways to collaborate, always observe local anti-trust laws. Find creative ways for businesses to collaboratively set sustainability targets, co-develop policies and protocols, and agree on tools to meet shared targets – without affecting the ability of individual companies to compete on price or quality.

Align the sector on an ambitious sustainability vision and agree on rules of engagement that articulate shared expectations from the joint effort. Regardless of who initiates the convening, outside facilitation can foster this alignment.

If, as in the IPOP case above, there are concerns that the government might take issue with ambitions to exceed legally mandated levels of sustainability, the sector should engage the government at an early stage to seek out common ground.

To translate the vision into targets and actions, companies must first address differences in supply chain arrangements among brands and aggregators. One may operate through directly controlled plantations, another may rely on contracting with growers, still others may buy from local processors without farmer contracts. To accommodate these differences, align on the actors to target in the landscape/jurisdiction, and on how individual companies can change incentives for those actors.

With the sector aligned, companies should work with the relevant government authority (and/or credible NGOs) to develop sectoral protocols for sustainable production and trade. Doing so will define how companies spread out costs and responsibilities to create a “level playing field.” Though companies may face different costs to meet sustainability targets, early and open public-private collaboration will reduce the risk of certain companies trying to seek unfair advantages.

  • In some geographies, multiple government entities might have overlapping authority over what a sector requires to implement its sustainability vision. If this is the case, companies must clarify what authorities each government entity holds, and ensure they are all on board with the agreed protocols. Where one government entity has lead authority, make sure it is positioned to champion the agreed protocol.

Where possible, devise a sector-managed system that provides the first level of oversight, which ensures that agreed protocols are followed internally. If not, companies should find a way to ensure all peers in the sector are at least sharing relevant data, and thus verifying that production and trade follow the protocols.

External conditions that improve likelihood of success

The business case for this intervention