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Blueprint for a Sustainable Landscape

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General Information 

Project type:

Designing, developing, and field testing an evaluation model ("Blueprint") for landscape sustainability and its associated field and data tools for different productive land uses.

Location:

Colombia

Crops:

Bananas and oil palm

Implementation:

May 2019 – June 2021

Beneficiaries:

Direct beneficiaries are banana producers, other land users, and local communities and government entities in the Municipalidad Bananera de Magdalena, Colombia. Producer organizations, product traders and buyers, and certification initiatives will also benefit by using the Blueprint to structure and verify sustainability claims.

Funder:

The ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’.

Partner organizations:

Fundación Natura Colombia, AUGURA and eco.business Fund

 

 

About the project

The project will design, develop and test a ‘Blueprint’ and monitoring model for scaling sustainability across a productive landscape. The project will be implemented in the Magdalena region in Colombia, an area of both high biodiversity and high poverty, where small-scale and plantation-based bananas and oil palm are grown.

Colombia is the seventh largest food producer in Latin America. With the 2016 Peace Accord, thousands of Colombians are now returning to rural areas from which they were displaced. While this offers an opportunity to significantly increase the production and export of agricultural products, it also entails the risk of agricultural intensification at the expense of natural resources. With the potential of landscapes being less resilient to climate change, and ecosystems becoming degraded, developing innovative approaches that promote a sustainable agriculture at landscape level in the country will be crucial.

The Blueprint for a Sustainable Landscape is a set of tools that identify and measure priority sustainability issues at the landscape level, including the entire range of land uses, natural ecosystems, and local stakeholders. Using the Blueprint, standards systems can strengthen their capacity for catalyzing resilient landscapes, and support improvement pathways for farmers who need more support and incentives.

The Blueprint will be based on sustainability outcomes and targets, but will also be aligned with standards. The Blueprint will consist of indicators linked to sustainability outcomes and verification and risk tools for the finance sector, government and agribusinesses. This combination of elements makes the Blueprint inclusive and flexible, while still complementary to credible assurance, and therefore offering support and a stepping stone towards certification.

The project includes a participatory process of local and international stakeholder engagement to set key outcome indicators and targets specific to the region, as well as progress assessments and a landscape monitoring framework that combines different datasets and verification methods (GIS-based, site-specific, etc).

The Blueprint will offer a tool to compare and analyze how standards systems’ content complements desired outcomes at the landscape level. It will also provide a set of capacity building activities for the use of the Blueprint as a mechanism to evaluate sustainability and a toolbox that will guide replication by standards systems and their partners.

Outcomes

The Blueprint will drive long-term sustainability improvements in a region, both within and beyond sustainability standards. It will augment the existing approaches of standards systems, deliver risk tools for the finance sector (and companies), and reflect the priority sustainability issues and outcomes agreed upon by local stakeholders.

The final product will be a sustainable landscape measurement and monitoring model that integrates different levels and strands of credible data, including standards- and site-specific data that will be ready for use and adaptation to other landscapes and land uses. Additional tools will help users identify sustainability gaps and producer and land user support needs in order to achieve a sustainable landscape.

In addition, a monitoring model will illustrate how measurement of sustainability improvement over time and at different levels is feasible and the data collected will show how much certified production contributes to landscape sustainability and permit certified producers and companies to make claims with buyers and consumers.

The Blueprint will be a practical model and tool that can be adapted for use in other geographic regions, crops and land uses by other initiatives, certification schemes, agribusinesses, cooperatives, government agencies, local authorities, financial entities, and retailers.

 

This project is possible thanks to a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by:

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