Working across production, financing and demand, the Good Growth Partnership convenes a wide range of stakeholders and initiatives to reduce deforestation and enable sustainable development in three global commodity supply chains: soy, beef and palm oil.
Launched at the United Nations New York headquarters in 2017, the Partnership is funded by the Global Environment Facility, led by the United Nations Development Programme and implemented in collaboration with Conservation International, the International Finance Corporation, UN Environment and World Wildlife Fund.
In coordination with the governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Liberia and Paraguay, as well as civil society and major private sector players, together we aim to place sustainability at the heart of commodity supply chains.
As demand for agricultural commodities grows, we need to develop forward-thinking business models to manage sustainable commodity production that also maintains forests and important ecosystem services.
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility
The commercial production of soy, beef and palm oil is a dominant economic force in many national and developing rural economies. Worldwide, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture.
However our growing global population, rising incomes and changing diets will continue to increase demand for agricultural commodities and put more pressure on the planet’s finite natural resources.
Soy, beef and palm oil are considered to be the biggest drivers of tropical deforestation today. The consequences include losses to habitats and biodiversity, rising carbon dioxide levels which contribute to climate change as well as the degradation of essential ecosystem services such as clean water and fresh air which we depend on for our very survival.
For that reason it has never been more important to forge new ways of doing business that enable ‘good growth’ without the associated environmental consequences of unsustainable agricultural production and deforestation.
Our Integrated Approach
Working with a full range of stakeholders, from small-scale producers to national governments and global corporations, our Partnership promotes a holistic approach to sustainability that encompasses entire commodity supply chains.
Instead of treating production, demand and investment interventions as separate tracks, the Good Growth Partnership looks at where the layers of the supply chain integrate and overlap to enhance financial incentives and demand for sustainably produced agricultural commodities.
Key Factors to Be Addressed
Clear policies for land use must be in place to dissuade expansion into forests while making suitable land available for cultivation
Producers must be systemically supported to improve their agricultural practices and market access
Robust economic incentives and new models for financing are needed to encourage sustainable production
Market awareness and consumer demand for reduced deforestation commodities must be increased
Knowledge and lessons learned must be shared throughout the supply chain to coordinate and scale-up best practice
“From my vantage point this initiative, the Good Growth Partnership, is long overdue. Agriculture in the 21st century is fundamental and foundational to our very existence but ironically it has become one of the biggest challenges we face in our pursuit toward sustainability and an inclusive green economy of the future.”
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
How We Work Throughout the Supply Chain
Cultivating Sustainable Production
Building on the UNDP Green Commodities Programme’s work on national systemic change, as well as WWF and Conservation International’s efforts in key conservation landscapes, the Partnership supports national and regional governments to overhaul the way commodities are produced, creating sector-wide and lasting change. This involves convening diverse stakeholders around a common vision and agenda for action. Essentially it enables governments to fortify their support to farmers, and to reform laws, policies as well as enforcement systems.
Generating Responsible Demand
Building on WWF’s long history of engaging with corporations and consumers, the Good Growth Partnership helps to raise awareness and strengthen demand for sustainably produced beef, palm oil and soy among consumers, policy makers, companies and investors. Coordinating with existing platforms and initiatives, we are working with partners to promote and improve transparency. We are also working to address market barriers and to develop ways to better incentivize demand for sustainable production.
Enabling Sustainable Transactions
UN Environment’s Finance Initiative and the International Finance Corporation work closely with banks and related institutions to help make sustainable financing more accessible for businesses, farmers and producers who require additional capital to invest in more environmentally sound practices. It involves identifying, developing and promoting the adoption of financial products such as green bonds and impact investment structures as well as subsidies and co-financing models that support sustainable business practices. We also work with the finance sector to improve best practice and reduce the risk associated with financing the sustainable commodity sector.
Learning and Knowledge Management
The three areas of supply chain intervention are bound together at a global level with strong monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management. This work is supported via the continual development of a wider community of practice, coordinated by the UNDP’s Green Commodities Programme. This growing global community shares best practice between key commodity producing countries, facilitates learning and develops a robust and policy-relevant evidence to drive effective, systemic and structural change in commodity supply chains.
In recent years, as rates of deforestation and environmental degradation have reached all time highs, we have witnessed the emergence of countless initiatives and efforts to tackle the issue. In reality, however, this challenge is far too large for one actor or effort to overcome alone. It requires a large-scale effort, one that works in coordination at all levels of the supply chain.
The Good Growth Partnership was born out of an urgent realization that if we have any chance of taking deforestation out of commodity supply chains we must combine our resources and work together.