Agri-businesses reducing climate, water and community risks: Landscape approaches in agroforestry systems

Agri-businesses reducing climate, water and community risks: Landscape approaches in agroforestry systems

wca2014-1417 Gabrielle Kissinger 1,*Lee  Gross 2 1Lexeme Consulting, Vancouver, Canada, 2EcoAgriculture Partners, Washington, DC, United States

Agribusinesses that depend on tree-based products, particularly coffee, cocoa, and increasingly oil palm, are experiencing water, climate, and community risks that are urgent, and well-suited to landscape approaches to mitigate risks while addressing long-term profitability.  The agri-business sector is experiencing a shift to marginal and unconventional production, in the face of scarcity and conflicts over natural resources, leading to lower productive potentials and susceptibility to sourcing disruptions.[1]  Agri-businesses dependant on tree-based agricultural systems are increasingly piloting landscape approaches in business models, which can provide important insights for other production systems, such as annual crops, to mitigate sourcing and supply risks.[2]

Olam, Starbucks, Mars, Natura, and Guyakí Yerba Mate are piloting landscape approaches for cocoa, coffee, oil palm and tea in agroforestry systems.  Commonly identified modes that agribusinesses use to apply landscape approaches, often motivated by certification, include a) producer support programs implemented at a regional scale that often combine certification or management objectives with livelihood improvements while simultaneously combating sourcing risks (examples: cocoa in Ghana and tea/charcoal in Kenya), and b) value-chain interventions with landscape approach elements added on, in order to secure inputs, yields, supply quality, and long-term sourcing security (examples: coffee in Indonesia and Mexico).  In Mexico, interventions at one project site have already resulted in 5,042 tons of CO2 sold at an average price of $9/tCO2e. This investigation explores the motivations, risks and opportunities that companies identify in these agroforestry landscape approaches in order to address climate, water and community risks.


[1] Lee, B., F. Preston, J. Kooroshy, R. Bailey, G. Lahn., 2012. Resources Futures.  Chatham House, London, UK.

[2] Kissinger, G., A. Brasser, and L. Gross, 2013. Synthesis Report. Reducing Risk: Landscape Approaches to Sustainable Sourcing. Washington, DC. Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative.

Vigyan Bhavan & Kempinski Ambience

10 - 14 February 2014 Delhi, India