It is more important than ever to provide farmers with practical guidance on how to minimize the costs and risks of conservation adoption. Fortunately, a new technical bulletin from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture does just that.
As the investment community in the United States, particularly within the fields of sustainable, responsible, and impact investing, shows an increasing appetite for investing in sustainable agriculture and food systems across asset classes, a subset of investors is demonstrating growing interest in financing not simply “sustainable” agriculture but agriculture that is deemed explicitly “regenerative.”
“We offer practical guidance on how funders can advance conservation outcomes by being intentional about considering climate change in their funding strategies, and embracing rather than resisting changes that are underway or imminent.”
Source: International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds
The objective of the Framework is to promote the integration of climate change analysis in the management of large, long-term and diversified asset pools. Building on current industry best practice, the Framework aims to foster a shared understanding among long-term asset owners with regard to key principles, as well as methodologies, and indicators related to climate issues.
As food companies look to lower supply chain risk and reduce their ecological footprint, new strategies are emerging to increase adoption of sustainability practices among farmers. Several companies have begun using long-term contracts — purchase agreements guaranteeing offtake beyond an annual time horizon — to stabilize costs and allow both grower and buyer to plan further into the future.
Traditionally, conservation efforts raise funding for projects and actions in the hope that those activities will result in desired outcomes. This Toolkit explores Pay-for-success financing, an alternative approach. This model ties funding for conservation to project outcomes, incentivizing the achievement of objectives and shifting risk away from public agencies and conservation organizations that implement on-the-ground work.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and First Climate announced today an agreement that will move credits from EPRI’s Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project to international credit trading markets. This is a unique collaborative between a water quality project and an environmental asset credit broker to provide access to some of the world’s largest environmental credit buyers.
The Environmental Protection Agency is offering $14 million to fund projects that help reduce harmful runoff into Great Lakes waterways through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That includes green infrastructure, farmer-led outreach and education, manure management on farms, and a market-based approach called “water quality trading.”
Conservation could be on the verge of a blue revolution. This year there is growing talk about using entrepreneurial finance to capture atmospheric carbon in revived marine and coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, salt marshes and sea grasses. Conservationists call it “blue carbon.”
After seven years of drought in California that drained aquifers and brought many farmers to the brink, legislators in Sacramento crafted a bunch of rules governing water usage. Those rules, many of which kick in next year, cap how much water farmers and cities can use.