The Global Landscapes Forum drew together the worlds of finance and science, so that investment bankers could dialogue with agriculture and forestry researchers, as well as representatives from NGOs and political institutions. The goal of the forum was to create new models and new financial tools to encourage investment in the environment. For that reason, Livelihoods 3F was presented during the opening plenary session. This new type of fund allows public and private players to co-finance family farms. Its mission is threefold: to help develop projects with a positive environmental impact, restore damaged ecosystems, and improve the productivity and living standards of small-scale farmers in developing countries.
The goal of the forum was to create new models and new financial tools to encourage investment in the environment.
As an open, cooperative platform for companies, public institutions, research organizations and governments, Livelihoods 3F also aims to foster economies of scale and synergism. It establishes a real link between global and local, designed to help companies sustainably procure their raw materials.
A year after the United Nations made 2014 the International Year of Family Farming, the creation of this fund is a response to real challenges and expectations on all sides. The reality is that 9 out of 10 farms – a total of over 500 million – are run by families, in both developed and developing countries. In other words, family farms, which account for 70% of the world’s food supply, are the most common form of agriculture. Livelihoods 3F, which will be investing €120 million over the course of the next decade, offers pre-financing solutions and technical support to NGOs and farmers’ organizations that implement projects with local communities. Danone and Mars aim to use the fund to support 200,000 family farms, meaning 2 million small-scale farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. “Sustainable farming, climate change and poverty are closely linked,” reports Bernard Giraud.
The reality is that 9 out of 10 farms – a total of over 500 million – are run by families, in both developed and developing countries.
As Victoria Mars, President of the Board of Mars Incorporated, puts it, “Business has an important role to play in addressing environmental and societal challenges and we believe we can contribute by focusing on such long-term investments. By coming together with Danone, we have a significantly greater chance of success and an opportunity to have a meaningful, long-term positive impact.”
During the Global Landscapes Forum in London, the main speakers reasserted the need to connect available capital flows with the needs of communities, companies and local governments in order to ensure sustainable land use in developing countries.
The environment has a price that we all pay in some way or another […] and agricultural production cannot become sustainable without guaranteeing the security of farmers and producers.
Although for a long time the environment had no proven financial value, and did not seem to hold much appeal for investors, mindsets are now beginning to change. Firstly, because the environment has a price that we all pay in some way or another, albeit on widely differing scales (climate disturbances, problems with agriculture and food supplies, etc.), and secondly, because agricultural production cannot become sustainable without guaranteeing the security of farmers and producers.
Photo © The Livelihoods Fund