Creating “Bonds” at the Landscape Level

Agricultural, forestry, wetland and other land use level investments in the tropics have typically been isolated. The architecture of individual deals has been designed around their individual: financial viability, technical feasibility, social acceptability, de-risking approaches, environmental sustainability, delivery agent capacities, and the extent of guarantees. This ignores the synergies and potential risks of other projects, enterprises and deals that may impact on the perceived “isolated” deal. The unknown biological, financial, political, social and market opportunities and constraints of such isolation have often dissuaded sound investments and crowded in speculators (seeking high rewards for high risks) and “all or nothing” investment gamblers seeking extractive profits.

The opportunities for greater co-design, co-location and co-investment of more robust financial approaches have been recently used at landscape levels to combine financial capital appreciation along with environmental and social dividends. A range of investment instruments and approaches will be showcased with varying: maturities, guarantees, risk thresholds, reward levels, base currencies, geographies and conditionalities. Here the intention to combine capital appreciation with combined appreciation of natural capital, social capital and human capital of individual deals; and create linkages or “bonds” with linked investments.

Metrics for landscape level enterprises in agriculture, forestry, extractives and wetlands have been lacking and contributed to doubts on the investment grade of such instruments. Principles will be introduced and discussed to seek greater understanding and convergence on the utilities of such measures and standards. These can especially be used to underpin better design of viable and profitable projects, and linkages between linked investments primarily for self-monitoring and reporting with scope for third party independent assurance when required. These may also trigger new investments as some companies seek to divest from agricultural certification to more performance reinforcing approaches.

This discussion forum will showcase innovative approaches to enterprise level investments and trigger dialogue on ways to better co-design, co-locate and co-invest at the landscape level.