Organizing Regional Collaboration to manage natural resources and improve social well-being

The IDH Sustainable Landscapes Initiative (ISLA) is focused on six landscape level efforts to shift the agricultural system towards sustainable resource management and resiliency. Neinke Stam of IDH introduced three of these cases, with a few of the key points shared below:

Richard Fox from Finlays described work around Kenya’s Lake Naivasha
where risking population and demand for water coincides with erosion and diminishing supply. Finlays has helped initiate an impressive coalition of industry, NGO and university partners to create new management systems.

Juliana Lopes spoke from the point of view of one of the largest soy operations in the world, with a mission “to be a major player in sustainable development.” She said that, “I cannot only work with the soy sector. If I want to work in this area I have to not only understand my business but also other businesses as well.”

Mark Wong from Sime Darby discussed the company’s engagement in multi-stakeholder governance as necessary to their expansion of palm oil production into Liberia. They had to “better understand how community development needs fit into environmental protection.”

All agreed that it’s important to identify the best role for a company, “not as a ‘leader’ but rather as one actor in a process.” For some a critical part is internal training of front-line staff to understand and manage the engagement process. According to Richard Fox, “The landscape approach takes time, but it is part of the business environment It is core to financial sustainability of the business and NOT a philanthropic activity on the side.

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