Achieving positive outcomes in production landscapes

These include protecting and restoring forests and natural ecosystems, conserving biodiversity, and advancing gender equality and respecting human rights. By supporting companies and others to implement their environmental and social commitments, we help to transform practices and contribute towards several UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Forests and natural ecosystems store vast amounts of carbon. They are complex webs of animals and plants, provide essential services embody cultural values, and have many economic and social benefits for indigenous people and communities worldwide.

Our aim is for agricultural and forest commodities to be produced and sourced from landscapes without deforestation, and for forests and natural ecosystems to protected and restored. Achieving this is more than just a technical challenge, as local communities, land users and governments all have a stake in how natural ecosystems are managed. So, we provide technical expertise and on-the-ground experience to help stakeholders in production landscapes develop practical, socially equitable and inclusive solutions.

We support producer companies and governments to conduct land use planning assessments, and design management and monitoring plans for individual sites and larger landscapes. We also work with downstream companies to understand deforestation risks in their supply chains, and their suppliers to protect forests and natural ecosystems. 

Forests and other natural ecosystems provide vital local and global ecosystem services, from clean water, flood prevention and soil stabilisation on steep slopes and riverbanks, to regulating regional rainfall and mitigating global climate change. 

We help producer companies, governments, land users and managers to understand, maintain and strengthen ecosystem services through land use planning and management at a site, watershed or landscape level. This work uses participatory approaches to identify and protect ecosystem services that local communities and indigenous people rely on.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth – the building blocks of the buildings that are forests and ecosystems. Plant and animal species can be culturally revered, may be food sources, attract tourism or provide ecosystem services to agriculture and forestry, such as pollination or seed dispersal. 

By supporting downstream companies to implement no deforestation and ecosystem protection policies, we lay the groundwork for protecting habitats and biodiversity. 

But simply keeping forests and natural ecosystems standing does not guarantee biodiversity protection. We’ve been working to help producer companies identify important biodiversity, understand threats, and recognise community dependence on natural resources (such as hunting, timber extraction and plant harvest). We then develop tailored and equitable management and monitoring strategies that protect biodiversity and community needs, often using the HCV approach. 

Increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are disrupting the functioning of natural ecosystems, lowering their capacity to deliver vital ecosystem services and threatening a wide range of food and commodity production systems. 

Through our work on reducing deforestation, we help and encourage retailers, manufacturers and traders to cut down their carbon footprint, thereby lowering their contribution to climate change. 

At the production level, we support companies, governments and communities to maintain or enhance ecosystems that store large amounts of carbon, such as forests and peatlands. We do this through land use planning assessments and management and monitoring plans.

The development of climate-smart production systems is quickly becoming a central element in our land use planning exercises, as they support local communities whose livelihoods rely on small-scale agriculture.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is key to effective and sustainable development outcomes. 

Our vision for gender equality is that our workplaces, projects and programmes promote equal opportunities and benefits for people of all genders. We pledge to uphold the rights of women, men and those who identify as neither, and support the empowerment of women and others who may be disadvantaged. 

We use our leverage when working with downstream companies, growers, and jurisdictional and multi-stakeholder processes to support gender equality, and seek out opportunities to work with local gender experts.

Our commitment to gender equality is delivered by building gender sensitive strategies and approaches into our projects and programmes, from design through to monitoring, evaluation and learning. By modelling gender equality in our own organisation and raising the visibility of women’s rights, we can help women’s voices be heard.

Human rights due diligence exercises identify agricultural workers as among the most vulnerable people in global businesses. They are at risk of forced labour, poor health and safety, discrimination, harassment and inadequate pay, with migrant workers and women being especially vulnerable. 

Our technical advice, tools and capacity building help companies to make labour rights commitments part of their responsible sourcing policies, and take action to address the risks of labour rights abuses in their supply chains. We support jurisdictional, sectoral and industry level initiatives to deliver meaningful improvements in workers’ rights. 

We also work with growers to identify risks and make changes that improve employment conditions at all stages of the employment cycle, such as empowering female and male workers to have a voice in improving pay and working conditions. Through our facilitation and technical advice with roundtables and multi-stakeholder processes, we support collective efforts to improve working conditions and respect for workers’ rights.

Agricultural commodity production can have major impacts on the livelihoods of local people. Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are particularly vulnerable when their customary rights to land and resources are not respected.

We want to ensure that the rights of both women and men living in communities affected by commodity production are respected and secure. We support retailers, manufacturers, traders and growers to set and implement commitments to ensure the respect of community and land rights in their supply chains. This includes capacity building, identifying risks of human rights abuses occurring in supply chains, and developing procedures to mitigate and monitor impacts, as well as resolve grievances. We also support growers at the production level in developing good company-community relations through engagement processes that follow the principles of Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC).

Beyond our work with individual companies, we make sure that land and community rights are considered in all global and regional multi-stakeholder platforms and jurisdictional initiatives we are part of, through the active inclusion or consultation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and expert organisations. We also develop guidance and deliver training for key stakeholders such as governments, producers, NGOs and CSOs.

Agriculture has a central role in the livelihoods of most rural households, for whom participation in commodity supply chains can either be a route to a better life or can also be a poverty trap. Connections to global markets may bring new opportunities for small producers, but at the same time may drive inequality and trigger forest loss. Proforest works to improve people’s understanding, avoid social and environmental risks and build prosperous smallholder livelihoods.

At Proforest we understand that effective action requires multiple stakeholders working together. We use our strong links with the private sector and civil society to bring key players together to develop common solutions, including models, tools and approaches for smallholder engagement and support.

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