Louis Dreyfus Company and The Nature Conservancy unite in sustainable ag alliance, targeting 1.2m hectares by 2030

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/We Are
© GettyImages/We Are

Related tags The Nature Conservancy Louis Dreyfus Company regenerative ag deforestation- and conversion-free COP28

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have forged a partnership aimed at advancing regenerative agriculture and achieving deforestation and conversion-free production.

Their collaborative efforts will target a minimum of 1.2 million hectares by 2030, focusing on regenerative agriculture and habitat conservation initiatives across key supply chains, including coffee, cotton, cereals, and oilseeds.

Concentrating on strategic large-scale projects in the US, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, the tie-up seeks to involve 30,000 farmers.

The alliance focuses on two interconnected ‘pillars’ for on-the-ground collaboration:

  • Regenerative agriculture:​ the parties will work together to implement LDC’s regenerative agriculture strategy, programming, financing, and impact accounting in line with leading methodologies. The collaboration will have an initial focus on a select set of large-scale, strategic efforts in US, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, and including joint assessments of ongoing regenerative agriculture projects to analyze pathways for collaboration and scale-up across the value chains.
  • Deforestation- & conversion-free (DCF) production:​ The partners will formalize and expand a longstanding collaboration between them around DCF production to support the implementation of LDC’s global DCF commitment, with a focus on developing incentive mechanisms to farmers, and improving monitoring of and reporting on implementation.

Their primary goal is to empower farmers to adopt holistic farming systems, enhancing soil health, replenishing aquifers, and fostering biodiversity, reconciling the global demand for food with the imperative to safeguard critical ecosystems.

The partnership, they noted, aligns with COP28's recognition of agriculture's pivotal role in addressing natural and climate crises. Key agreements, including the Leaders' Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action​, underscore the imperative for comprehensive value chain cooperation to achieve global goals.

"A successful transformation of the global food system is imperative to address the climate crisis and halt biodiversity loss,” commented Jennifer Morris, CEO of TNC.

The global agrifood system accounts for 31% of GHG emissions​ and agricultural expansion is the primary driver​ in 88% of native habitat loss globally.

"In order to see real change, the full value chain needs to be engaged – from farmers to traders to retailers. We are inspired by the steps that LDC has already taken and look forward to scaling these practices to eliminate deforestation and habitat conversion from commodity production on a global scale. Collective action in this sector is imperative to unlock benefits for both people and nature,” continued Morris.

Michael Gelchie, LDC's Group CEO, also weighed in on the need for farm-level change:

"In the context of accelerating climate challenges affecting crops and farmers' livelihoods worldwide, the long-term resilience of global food and agricultural supply chains requires a transition to sustainable practices where the food system begins - at the farm level.

"We have a key role to play in incentivizing and supporting this transition, including by driving the adoption of regenerative agriculture to help reduce emissions, conserve ecosystems and natural resources, and promote climate resilience in farming communities."

Building on its commitment to eliminate deforestation and conversion​ of high conservation value native vegetation from its supply chains by the end of 2025, with a 2020 cut-off date, LDC sees this alliance as a critical step.

Farmer needs

Axelle Bodoy, head of regenerative agriculture at LDC, highlighted the company's approach through large-scale projects around key assets, promoting crop rotation and value chain collaboration.

"With TNC's support, we are ideally positioned to understand farmer needs and support the adoption of relevant innovations, co-design programs with farmers and other value chain partners to lead the development of more resilient, future-proof agronomic systems, and deliver robust, credible and ambitious ESG impacts to our supply chain partners."

LDC stressed that it, TNC and local agronomists and project implementers also continue to develop pilot projects in other supply chains, such as citrus in Brazil and coffee in Vietnam, Indonesia, Uganda, and other origins.

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