Merging the social and environmental agendas – Blog

Recently, several court cases have kept a lot of minds in our sectors busy. They show how strongly society is involved in the transformation and the necessity of creating positive change in supply chains. Systems are being re-designed and new ways of doing business are being explored that are sustainable and fertile for next generations. And although it is honorable work, it is not easy. Production of agricultural and apparel products are causes of large carbon emission, and come with many social challenges. IDH is increasingly exploring opportunities to improve workers’ and farmers’ livelihoods and reduce carbon emissions at the same time. This can be done when we make sure that farmers and communities get enough in return for their products and working hours to allow for living wages and living incomes, and when farmers and factories are rewarded for their efforts to produce more sustainably. We can achieve this through enabling climate-smart agriculture, organizing public-private sustainable forest and peatland management, implementing and scaling regenerative agriculture, creating access to finance and markets, and leveraging carbon market opportunities.

Good governance and law enforcement can help to create a level playing field

On the latter, COP 26 will hopefully help to create clarity on the rules of this emerging market. The instrument of law can create a welcome extra incentive here – both enabling and financially. In that perspective, good governance and law enforcement can help to create a level playing field for all companies, producers and others that are working voluntarily towards a low carbon and inclusive economy. An economy that is very much needed to keep the Paris Climate Agreement goals in sight and deliver on living wage and income. Many instruments need to be utilized simultaneously to make this happen all of which IDH is working on already but can’t do alone.

Social and environmental agendas reinforce each other

We all need to do our part and jointly work together on creating new systems and the transformation of markets, supply chains, and landscapes, that have sufficient growth potential. And we understand that real impact for farmers, communities and ecosystems will come when value chain actors, including producers in forested tropical areas, get economic incentives and benefits to transform towards sustainable climate smart production. In other words by merging the social and environmental agendas that have been for long two different workstream, while they actually reinforce each other when sustainable agriculture production, and protection is rewarded. Through convening public and private partners, co-financing strategies, solution prototyping and its long standing knowledge and experience, IDH is in a good position to help both companies, governments and producers to lower carbon emissions and elevate persistent social issues in agricultural and apparel production. We work already with over 650 public and private partners. You are very welcome to join.