There are currently many ambitious international initiatives supporting sustainable land use and ecosystem restoration, with various development agendas, declarations, and country commitments. These include the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 Life on Land — particularly SDG target 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and the associated LDN country targets, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the Bonn Challenge.
This is due to a growing recognition that sustainable land management and land restoration can offer multiple economic, environmental and social returns. The costs of fighting land degradation through restoration and sustainable land management practices versus the much higher cost of inaction repeatedly highlights the strong economic incentive for immediate action. Still, despite the promising economic returns of ecosystem restoration (in addition to environmental and social benefits), there is a considerable gap between supply and demand for appropriate financing, estimated to be $2.5 trillion per year (UNCTAD). Closing this gap will require collaborative action from a wide range of actors, including the private sector.
However, the involvement of private investors in scaling proven sustainable land management practices remains limited to date. To move forward, it is necessary to understand: i. what private institutional investors are looking for in their investment strategies, and; ii. how sustainable land use activities can offer suitable investment opportunities, while providing environmental and social benefits Ahead of the Global Landscapes Forum Luxembourg, this White Paper looks at recent trends in private investment in SDGs, and business cases for investment in sustainable land use and restoration. During the Forum, the panellists will share experiences on how commercial elements can be incorporated in land restoration projects, to enable private sector involvement in unlocking finance and scaling up.