Nature-Based Solutions in Brazil. An Overview of Policies and Experiences

Nature-based solutions (NbS) have the potential to address a myriad of challenges that Brazil faces, such as biodiversity loss and declining water quality, as well as contributing to the country’s net zero commitments. As such, NbS play a valuable part in the Brazilian policy landscape.

This report published by UK PACT and CDP presents the NbS related subnational policies and programmes that have been implemented in Brazil that are helpful for policy makers looking to implement similar approaches in their jurisdictions. The report includes an example of Mato Grosso’s ‘Protect, Conserve and Include’ initiative which is one of the most advanced examples of the jurisdictional approach in the world.

There are also a number of key takeaways in the report, drawn from barriers and opportunities in the Brazilian landscape, that can be used to ensure the success of future NbS projects and jurisdictional level projects.

Not Just Carbon: Capturing All the Benefits of Forests for Stabilizing the Climate from Local to Global Scales

Forests have significant and positive effects on our planet, not only in terms of carbon sequestration, but through a variety of other processes. These include biophysical processes that affect transfers of energy and moisture in the atmosphere, the contribution to food security, the protection of human health as well as improving water security. Accounting for all of these processes significantly affects estimates of the impacts of deforestation, rendering the global cooling effect of avoiding tropical deforestation as much as 50% greater.

This report summarises the science on the biophysical effects of deforestation on climate stability and explores the policy implications of the resulting impacts at three scales: global climate policy, regional cooperation on precipitation management, and national policies related to agriculture and public health. 

The report also provides next steps to address these impacts, and urges policymakers and other actors working in the sector to recognise and address the full range of forests’ services. Potential areas of investment from public and private financiers are highlighted, that would help to address the widespread implications of forest cover change. As well as providing an overview of jurisdictional approaches to deforestation-free supply chains with an example from Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Feedback on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Draft Land Sector and Removal Guidance. Incentivising Corporate Action at Landscape and Jurisdictional Scale

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol has published its draft Land Sector and Removals Guidance for pilot testing and review. The guidance will explain how companies should account for and report GHG emissions and removals from land management, land use change and related activities in GHG inventories.

Analysis from TFA, Proforest, Conservation International, Emergent, EDF, IDH and ISEAL found that the draft guidance only allowed companies to account for actions and GHG emission reductions at the farm level. As such, it would not incentivize company to take action beyond supply chain at landscape and jurisdictional scale, which is essential to stop deforestation and natural conversion and keep temperature increase below 1.5°C.

This document provides guidance, for forestry, land and agricultural sector companies and wider stakeholders interested in promoting landscape and jurisdictional approaches, to respond to the public consultation of the Draft GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals guidance, part 1, open for public consultation until 30 November 2022, with the deadline for those piloting the draft guidance on 15 January 2023.

Landscape Monitoring Framework of the Socio-Economic Dimension

Landscape and jurisdictional approaches have seen an increase in their adoption in recent years. With this increase in popularity, comprehensive social, economic and environmental assessments and therefore indicators are required urgently to ensure the effectiveness, transparency and credibility of these approaches.

In terms of landscape assessments socio-economic dimensions have played less of a key role in these processes when compared to environmental and economic dimensions. In response to this, this tool has been developed to provide practical guidance for those looking to assess the socio-economic status of a landscape to monitor progress and facilitate action for development – the Landscape Monitoring Framework of the socio-economic dimension tool (LMS).

The LMS is made up of two key documents; the LMS library of indicators and the LMS guidance document. The library of indicators provides a set of widely used and accepted socio-economic indicators that are linked to the SDGs. The guidance document then provides a step by step approach to assess and monitor landscape interventions using the indicators.

The LMS is a useful tool for those who are already, or looking to, work in landscape-scale initiatives. You can read more about the LMS and its development here.

Forests for Climate: Scaling up Forest Conservation to Reach Net Zero

Forests – and especially tropical forests – are one of the key components in addressing the dual crises we face of biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. Without the huge amount of carbon sequestration they provide, the planet would be unable to support life. In addition to this, 1.6 billion people depend on tropical forests for food, water, wood and livelihoods. They are essential to sustaining our life on earth. But increasingly, forests have been under threat from deforestation, threatening our collective future.

The World Economic Forum’s white paper on scaling up forest conservation to reach net zero, explains in more depth the importance of tropical forests, the threats they are facing and the urgent need for forest conservation programmes. Central to the paper is the role that the jurisdictional approach and jurisdictional REDD+ can play in quickly scaling up forest conservation. For those interested in jurisdictional approaches and REDD+ the paper points to helpful organisations, resources and recent developments such as the LEAF Coalition – the coalition bringing together the private sector and governments to provide finance for  tropical and subtropical forest conservation that has has mobilized $1 billion USD.

Indigenous peoples are also highly impacted by deforestation and degradation, and the paper not only outlines how jurisdictional REDD+ can benefit these communities, but it explains through case studies in Guyana and Costa Rica how they can play more active roles in the planning stages of such initiatives.

Understanding Corporate Climate and Nature Strategies and the Role of Tropical Forest Protection

In recent years, more and more companies have begun to establish climate and nature commitments so they can play their part in ensuring the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree goal is met. This increase means that the market has become increasingly saturated, making it difficult for companies to navigate the landscape if they are looking for the ways in which they can meet their commitments.

Emergent, a non-profit that act as intermediaries between tropical forest countries and the private sector who coordinate the LEAF Coalition, have published a white paper that will help companies navigate this often confusing landscape. The white paper helps to define commonly used terms in commitments such as ‘science-based targets’, ‘carbon neutral’, ‘nature positive’ and ‘deforestation free’ to name a few examples. The role of tropical forest protection is also raised as a key method to support corporate and climate nature strategies through the use of Jurisdictional reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (JREDD+).

JREDD+ is a comprehensive and inclusive approach to forest conservation scaled-up to cover whole jurisdictions. Emergent breakdown the benefits of the JREDD+ approach, and frame how the use of this method can support a companies’ commitment to carbon neutrality, net zero and climate positivity as well for deforestation free and nature positive commitments.

Reimagining Landscapes: How Unilever is Helping to Make Sustainable Living Commonplace in Palm Oil Production Landscapes

Unilever’s Reimagining Landscapes report outlines the progress and learning outcomes from five of their programmes that support landscapes across Southeast Asia. These programmes are located in landscapes where sustainable palm oil production takes place, that deliver benefits for all stakeholders involved.

Before demonstrating their achievements with their partners in the five selected landscapes, Unilever offers their perspective on why jurisdictional-level and landscape approaches are vital, as well as explaining their selection process used to identify landscapes to support.

The case studies in the report, that are located across Indonesia in Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and Central Kalimantan as well as in Sabah State in Malaysia, detail key facts about each of the landscapes as well as stating the metrics on their achievements in collaboration with their partners. These metrics include numbers of independents smallholder farmers that have achieved certification, hectares of forest that have been protected or restored as well as the number of villages supported with initiatives such as land use mapping and alternative livelihood schemes.

The case studies also explain how Unilever worked with local governments, local communities and smallholders in multistakeholder forums, which can inspire other companies looking to make similar impacts in their landscapes.  

Collective Action and Investment in Landscape Initiatives: The Business Case for Forest Positive Transformation

This report from The Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action (CGF FPCoA) shares the value for businesses looking to invest in landscapes and jurisdictional-level approaches. Five reasons are presented as to why companies investing and engaging in landscape and jurisdictional-level initiatives makes good business sense; which are informed by interviews with Coalition members and implementing organisations that are working at this level in their existing engagements.

These reasons highlighted include increased supply chain security and cost-efficiency, the ability to achieve multiple ESG commitments at once as well as the mitigation of risks that are often present in the production of agricultural commodities.  

It also draws upon case studies from Siak, Indonesia; Mato Grosso, Brazil and Chiapas, Mexico to show how investing in landscapes is not only good for businesses, but has positive impacts for people, nature and the climate. For more information on the CGF FPCoA, and their work in landscapes, you can access their 2022 Annual Report here.

Collaborative Actions at Landscape Scale: The Case of Wehea-Kelay Forum in East Kalimanatan, Indonesia

The Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area (EEA) is a 532,000-hectare region in East Kalimantan province in Indonesia. The EEA supports around 1,200 orangutans in mixed landscapes outside of protected conservation areas used by, among others, timber and palm oil companies and indigenous peoples.

The Wehea-Kelay EEA Forum is a multi-stakeholder coalition established in 2015, which has resulted in the development of a cooperative agreement to manage the landscape for biodiversity conservation. The agreement and the Forum are considered a model for other EEAs in Indonesia.

Steered by national and provincial government agencies, the Forum is facilitated by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN). The Forum provides the space for government agencies, indigenous Dayak community, NGOs, the private sector and others to work together toward conservation in the landscape.

The role of the private sector is crucial as the Wehea-Kelay landscape includes large palm oil and timber concessions. The study found that a key motivation for the companies to engage and align with the Forum was to maintain their sustainability certifications and to fulfil other sustainability requirements.

Leadership in Production Landscapes: Collective Private Sector Action in Asunafo-Asutifi, Ghana

In Asunafo-Asutifi landscape in Ghana, different stakeholders have joined together to create a landscape programme to support forest protection and restoration, scale up sustainable commodity production and improve livelihoods for farmers. Collective action in the landscape is carried out under the framework of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, which provides the guidelines and processes for engaging stakeholders.

Eight diverse companies – Mondelēz International, Touton SA, Cargill, Ecom, Lindt, Mars, OFI (formerly Olam Food Ingredients) and Sucden – coordinated by the World Cocoa Foundation – have committed to supporting the Asunafo-Asutifi programme. Proforest facilitates the development of the initiative and has supported the design of the landscape management and investment plans in collaboration with government, civil society and other stakeholders.

The study shows that, in Ghana, and particularly in the Asunafo-Asutifi landscape, the increasing shift towards collective action at scale by companies has been facilitated by factors such as the right national and corporate policies and effective leadership and commitment. Other factors include effective communication and support systems and an effective and collaborative approach to planning.

The case study builds on another on the overall Asunafo-Asutifi programme by Proforest from December 2020; read it here. See also a webinar presenting the landscape initiative here.