A global standard to enable the streamlined assessment of environmental, social and economic sustainability outcomes in productive landscapes
Business-as-usual models of land management, natural resource use and infrastructure development continue to threaten water quality and availability, soil health, and ecosystem integrity while greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of climate change intensify. Although many companies, governments, financiers, and donors have recognized this and are making investments to improve sustainability, many of the biggest threats to sustainability (like climate change, deforestation, soil infertility and water mismanagement) are complex and operate on a scale much larger than that of a single parcel of land or one supply chain. No matter how well a given actor manages resources, meaningful sustainability cannot be achieved without considering the cumulative impact of activities across an entire landscape. Despite this, there are currently no global standards that assess progress towards key sustainability outcomes at a landscape scale, beyond the performance of a specific land use, sector or actor.
The Landscape Standard (LS) is a framework that helps companies, governments, financiers, and donors credibly assess and report on progress towards environmental, social and economic sustainability in productive landscapes. LS is the only global standard that seeks to measure these sustainability outcomes, as opposed to practices, at the landscape scale, while helping users demonstrate progress and make claims. With the framework as a basis, LS will create incentives for relevant actors to work towards landscape sustainability goals, by facilitating commodity sourcing and investment linked to landscape performance.
Importantly, LS will allow for demonstration of progress over time and for users to make such claims from the outset. In this way, LS will create near-term value for users while at the same time allowing for continuous improvement of the standard through user feedback and data enhancements. In the long term, this will help define and accelerate transformation to large-scale sustainability paradigms for productive land use activities. In doing so, it will also help build a sustainable supply of the world’s primary commodities to meet growing global demand.
The Landscape Standard in Practice
This new standard addresses three key Dimensions of Sustainability.
The new standard will:
- Focus on a small number of high-value metrics;
- Streamline the monitoring of outcomes at the landscape scale; and
- Mobilize private-sector investment in low-carbon, zero-deforestation commodity production.
The Landscape Standard is being developed by Verra; Rainforest Alliance; Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance; Proforest; Solidaridad; Nature Conservation Research Center; IUCN; and other international and local partners.
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