Project Profile: LandScale

Time is running out to solve the complex and far-reaching environmental and socio-economic challenges facing our planet. Issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water depletion will affect us all. Yet no individual, community, business, or government can tackle them alone.

We need to look beyond our own borders—be that a farm, village or supply chain— to fully understand these challenges and implement effective actions to address them. We need to think bigger and collaborate across entire jurisdictions and ecoregions. Fortunately, business, government and civil society leaders are responding to this urgent need with both individual policies and multi-stakeholder collaborations designed to drive sustainability at the landscape scale.

LandScale is a new initiative to help those who are ready to think big and collaborate between sectors or across an entire landscape to address these challenges and drive sustainability at scale.

Location

LandScale will be applied in landscapes globally. The framework is currently being tested in a number of global pilots (Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica and Ghana) to ensure it meets the needs of landscape players across diverse commodities. The pilots will provide feedback on the frameworks indicators and establish a baseline for assessment. Stakeholders within the pilots will also play a key role in identifying additional supporting tools to integrate into the final LandScale platform.

Project objectives

As the saying goes, "You can’t manage what you don’t measure". At the heart of LandScale is the assessment framework, which provides a standardized approach for assessing and communicating sustainability status and trends across landscapes. This can help organizations involved in implementing jurisdictional or landscape approaches, as well as those sourcing commodities from or investing in rural landscapes, to:

  • UNDERSTAND: The LandScale assessment framework includes indicators and performance metrics to measure progress towards critical landscape sustainability goals. It covers four pillars: ecosystems, human-wellbeing, governance, and production.
  • COMMUNICATE: the results of LandScale assessments can be verified and made available on the LandScale online platform to promote credible communication of landscape sustainability performance.
  • ACT: LandScale provides trusted information that landscape actors can use to design more effective landscape management policies, programs, and investments.

Timeline for LandScale development:

  • August-October 2019: Open the first public consultation to capture feedback on v0.1 of LandScale framework and guidance
  • August-December 2019: Test LandScale in pilot landscapes to gather feedback about application of v0.1 in diverse settings
  • Qtr 1/2 2020: Launch data & results platform and second public consultation on v0.2 incorporating feedback from consultations and field testing
  • December 2020: Full LandScale framework v1.0, guidance, assurance mechanism, and data & results platform ready for use

Join the first public consultation

LandScale’s lead partners⁠ - the Rainforest Alliance, Verra, and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance⁠ - are pleased to announce the first LandScale public consultation. The LandScale assessment framework is open for public consultation until October 15. Participation is invited from anyone involved in jurisdictional or landscape approaches, or interested in innovative solutions to address today’s far-reaching sustainability challenges. Feedback on LandScale is critical to ensure that it is practical, robust, and helps to drive improvements in landscape-scale sustainability. To participate in the consultation, or learn more about LandScale, please visit www.landscale.org.

Dr. Christopher Stewart, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Olam International and member of the LandScale Advisory Group, said: “Conversion and over-exploitation of forests and other natural habitats for food, fuel, and fiber threatens our natural life support systems and the global climate, with serious implications for future generations. We need to farm better, in a way that contributes to thriving communities and regenerates the living world, and in a way that secures long-term supply of the commodities we need to feed a growing population. Current responses are insufficient. We must look beyond our own supply chains to strive for net positive impact at scale.”

Dr. Jeff Milder, Director of Global Programs at Rainforest Alliance and member of the LandScale Secretariat, said, “Unlike traditional certification standards, LandScale does not prescribe practices. Instead, it provides reliable information about the outcomes of efforts to protect ecosystems, promote human well-being, improve governance, and optimize productivity at landscape scale.”

Beneficiaries and value

By distilling the complexity of landscapes into reliable information on sustainability performance and trends, LandScale helps drive decisions and incentives that contribute to improving landscape sustainability over time. LandScale is designed to provide the private sector (e.g. commodity buyers, investors) , governments, and civil society with objective and credible information about the status of and trends in sustainability performance at landscape scale. It can be used to:

  • IDENTIFY RISKS: LandScale assessments will highlight critical environmental, socio-economic, and governance issues in the landscape that may jeopardize livelihoods, investments, or business activities in the future. This can spur timely action to address these issues.
  • SUPPORT COLLABORATIVE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT: Participants in jurisdictional approaches or landscape initiatives can use LandScale to measure progress towards their own milestones and adapt management interventions to achieve maximum impact.
  • COMMUNICATE LANDSCAPE SUSTAINABILITY: LandScale’s standardized approach and verification mechanism enables credible and consistent communication of landscape sustainability performance. This can help those participating in landscape or jurisdictional approaches to communicate the outcomes of these efforts to key stakeholders. Credible reporting on landscape sustainability can also reassure investors and buyers that activities in a particular landscape will be sustainable.

Goals/desired impacts

To achieve sustainably managed landscapes; landscapes that are managed so that communities and ecosystems thrive and that provide viable long-term suppliers of the world's primary commodities.

Partner Organizations

The Landscape Standard is a collaborative initiative which is being led by Verra, the Climate Community & Biodiversity Alliance and Rainforest Alliance, who form the Secretariat.

We are joined by some brilliant partners, who are collaborating on specific aspects of this initiative:

  • ProForest is involved in developing the value proposition for the landscape standard and ensuring that the framework we develop meets the needs of our target users, whereas Solidaridad, IUCN and the Nature Conservation Research Centre are involved in piloting the Landscape Standard in different countries and providing technical input into the development of the framework.
  • We are also very fortunate that a very experienced and diverse group of people have agreed to participate in our Global Advisory Group. The purpose of this group is to provide strategic guidance on the development of the framework to ensure that it meets the needs of our target users.
  • This initiative is generously supported by BMU IKI and the BHP Foundation’s Environmental Resilience Programme.

Rainforest Alliance contact

Sophie Persey, Senior Manager, LandScale

Helen Ireland, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, LandScale

To participate in the consultation or find out more information please visit the LandScale website.

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Forests
Burning Peruvian forest - photo by Mohsin Kazmi

Forests are falling at an alarming rate.

Each minute, 85 acres are destroyed.

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