This week it was announced that UN Environment and Rabobank of the Netherlands will be partnering up to create a facility that finances business in the area of sustainable agriculture.
The 1 billion dollar fund will provide grants, de-risking instruments and credit to clients who support the initiative’s goal of increasing the quality of arable land while protecting biodiversity and reducing climate change worldwide.
Signing of the partnership took place at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development on Tuesday, October 17, with the Council encouraging other major financial institutions and global players in primary production and the food industry to sign up and work together.
The coalition aims to align with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature rises to below 2˚C. According to Rabobank CEO Wiebe Draijer, in order to meet these targets, “it is clear that a different way of agricultural practices is needed that includes incentives and provisions to protect forest ecosystems and restore degraded lands.”
With controversies occurring in the past over the the involvement of banks with environmentally detrimental companies, this partnership is a positive step forward. As Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, stated, “we want the entire finance industry to change their agricultural lending, away from deforestation and towards integrated landscapes, which provide good jobs, protect biodiversity, and are good for the climate.”
Rabobank has already begun making efforts in both Brazil and Indonesia involving the financing of integrated crop, livestock and forestry (ICLF) farming as well as replanting schemes for smallholders.
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