Solidaridad experts see opportunities for business in Paris climate agreement

Now that almost 200 countries have signed a historic climate change agreement, the time for the hard work of collaboration is at hand. Businesses will have a significant role to play, according to Solidaridad representatives who attended the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) this month. They were encouraged by the combined willpower and knowledge present at the international event. The reactions below describe some of the insights Solidaridad experts gained from speaking with business and government leaders.

With a team of professionals from its international network in South America, West Africa and Europ
e, Solidaridad brought expertise to the conference from multiple commodity programmes. From left to right: Joyce Brandao, Isaac Gyamfi, Yvette Faber, Nicholas Jengre

The ideas and ambitions shared at Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) of COP21 hold the promise of constructive partnerships for working together toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by means of the landscape approach – balancing multiple interests in the process. It becomes more clear every day that partnerships between civil society, private sector and governments are the key to success. However, they do need professional support. Partnerships require an investment in time and effort to get to know each other's goals and interests before action is taken.

"We need you, but you need us too"

This compelling plea came from Salina Abraham, as spokesperson for Youth in Landscapes Innovators. On behalf of young professionals, she spoke at the closing plenary session of GLF: “We already know we need you. We need your wisdom, your guidance and your investment. But I am here to tell you, you may not know it, but you need us too."

Her words symbolize the need for representation and inclusion in the landscape approach, bringing diversity in age, gender, culture and perspectives. Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn when entering into a partnership and tackling landscape challenges together.

Reactions from Solidaridad GLF participants:

  • Jan Maarten Dros, International Programme Coordinator, Palm Oil – “GLF was a good opportunity to network. It was especially interesting for me to engage with key players in the palm oil sector at this forum. I noticed big differences between companies who realize they have to invest actively in professionalization of smallholders as opposed to companies who commit to buying certified traceable palm oil from smallholders once it becomes available. In my discussions with companies on the topic of responsible sourcing of palm oil, I stressed the importance of smallholder inclusion in the supply chain instead of only looking at traceability. Solidaridad has a great deal to offer based on our experience in working with smallholders.”
  • Joyce Brandao, Landscape Specialist, Cocoa and Palm Oil Programme Manager – “I was surprised by the number of people at GLF, which shows the energy and potential to bring the landscape approach to scale. I noticed a lot of ambition to make investments, but we need to build on evidence and successful examples to make an impact. I was really proud of the strong representation from the Brazilian civil society and private sector coalition, which showcases examples of tools and governance models that really work in pushing the landscape toward low carbon economic development.”
  • Yvette Faber, Programme Manager, Coffee – “From the coffee perspective, it was important to hear supporting evidence from different angles on how coffee farmers can become more productive and resilient while facing changing climate conditions. Both researchers as well as sector representatives acknowledge that farmers need support in protecting soil, water and biodiversity to safeguard the production landscape. Best practices in agroforestry systems show higher yields and better income compared to conventional farming. To me, this shows that supporting smallholders is key to improving land use, so they become stewards of their environment, earn a decent income and have good prospects for future production."
  • Daniel Knoop, International Programme Coordinator, Aquaculture – “GLF brought together a massive crowd and a huge amount of knowledge. A lot of research findings were presented, but the most effective use of my time was in direct interaction with participants. When listening to the broad range of experts present, I realized that there are many ways to frame the challenges and solutions in the landscape approach. However, the message that resonated strongest with me is that agriculture is all about ecosystem management.”

More about COP21

For more information about Solidaridad’s contribution to the COP21 discussions at Global Landscapes Forum, please refer to the articles below:

Would you like to find out what the Paris climate agreement means for your business? Contact us today to speak with our supply chain experts.