Kenya

Climate-smart landscapes make business sense to the private sector

By Elizabeth Kahurani

The private sector is an important actor with great potential to inject financial resources, technology and expertise into climate smart initiatives that target sustainable development.

These private companies are looking into ways and strategies for effective engagement out of realization that their existence depends on finite ecosystem services; and also due to an increase in awareness among consumers who demand environmental accountability in the production process, as well as the need to maintain good company reputation through social responsibility.

This not withstanding, their main drive is to make profit, and as such, rules of engagement with these private entities have to make business sense.Vision for Change demonstration plots in Kragui in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to revitalis cocoa using a landscape approach that also target to improve he environment, social aspects and livelihoods. Photo credit: World Agroforestry Centre

In a new book Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice to be released this week on the sidelines of UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima, Peru, three chapters expound on private sector involvement in landscape approaches using case studies that highlight among others the need to i) present business case studies to motivate the private sector, ii) enhance sustainability in agriculture supply chains and iii) use production standards and certification as a means to private sector engagement in integrated landscape management approach.

Presenting a business case will entail a shift from the current focus of analyzing environmental costs exclusively, to developing analytical tools, methodologies and frameworks that account for both the natural capital and the business financial goals. It is a process that involves integrating ecosystem services analysis with frameworks that drive corporate decision making strategies.

Examples of initiatives making strides in this direction include the Natural Capital Coalition guide that recommends ways accountants can frame risks and opportunities in business terms and embed natural capital into corporate decision-making. “There is also the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership that has developed the Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA) tool to assess risks and opportunities of depending on biodiversity and ecosystem services at the landscape scale for companies with agricultural supply chains,” says Dr Namirembe.

“However, to remain viable, such holistic analysis of both natural and business capital needs to be accompanied by conducive policy regulations and institutional frameworks,” says Dr Sara Namirembe of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

She explains this in the context of Sasumua water shed in Kenya.  “Although a conducive business case exists (about $122,924/year Net Present Value) for Nairobi City Water Company (NWCS) to use payment of ecosystem services with upland farmers to reduce sedimentation of the Sasumua reservoir, it cannot be operationalized because of barriers in existing legal and institutional frameworks. NWCS already pays watershed management fees to the Water Resource Management Authority. Although a section of consumers in Nairobi were willing to pay more in their water bill to finance watershed conservation, the mandate to increase tariffs and is not the NWSC, but with the water services regulatory board.”

Sustainable business agricultural supply chains

A Landscape approach can be useful in promoting sustainability in business supply chains particularly within the agriculture sector. Supply chains refers to all those factors, processes and actors involved from the production, all through to the consumption of goods and services. A landscape approach to such a system would make the businesses involved look beyond their unit area of production and the profits thereof to encompass economic, environmental, social and other livelihood aspects. It would mean balancing the need for high production with reducing negative impacts on the environment; avoiding child labor; and ensuring farmers get higher wages for their produce.

“Business supply chains should seek a landscape approach as it not only assures sustainability but it also helps them mitigate reputational and operational risks,” says Dr Amos Gyau of ICRAF. “By supporting a sustainable ecosystem from the production source, they gain consumer confidence and promote continuous supply of high quality products. Failure to maintain natural capital at source leads to poor quality and eventual depletion of raw materials,” he adds.

Another important benefit of embracing landscape approach in supply chains is that it creates space to form new partnerships and establish collaborations with the public sector and other players in a way that spreads risks and complements efforts.

The Vision for Change (V4C) project financed by Mars Inc. and implemented by ICRAF is one model using landscape approach towards business supply chain sustainability. It aims to revitalize the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire while at the same time addressing environmental concerns by promoting trees on farms; and social aspects by eliminating child labor and making cocoa production more attractive to younger farmers through income diversification.

Dr Gyau and his colleagues recommend tools for implementing a sustainable landscape approach in business supply chains. These include: regional producer support programmes with activities such as risk assessment, information sharing on one or more commodities that require going beyond the farm level. There are also multistakeholder dialogues like the UN Global Compact, which is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that commit to uphold principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.  Tools on certification standards can be used to implement both vertical integration through buyer-supplier relationship in which contracted farmers meet certain standards in production and horizontal integration whereby businesses handling similar commodities merge to enjoy economies of scale.

In a related chapter, Gabrielle Kissinger of Lexeme Consulting and his colleagues expound on the use of certification standards to integrated land management and explore methodologies using various case studies. They highlight product certification standards as useful because they require evaluation of a business performance beyond production to its impact on the surrounding environment. But the main challenge is that most systems are designed for assessment within the property boundary.

Read more on these case studies in Part 4 of the book Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice: Involving the Private Sector

Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project: Lessons for national readiness processes

Tremendous growth in REDD+ pilot and demonstration projects has been observed following the Bali Action Plan and Cancun agreements. The question is, how can lessons from such projects be used to enhance national-level REDD+ Readiness processes?

A recent study published in Climate Policy draws on the example of a case study from Kenya – the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project – and attempts to shed light on how this subnational-level private-sector-driven REDD+ project interacts with and contributes to national-level technical, policy, and institutional readiness for REDD+. The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project has managed to bundle up REDD+ implementation with community-level employment opportunities

“The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project led by Wildlife Works Carbon was chosen from among many projects in Kenya and Africa because it is the world’s first registered REDD+ project issued with Verified Carbon Units under the Verified Carbon Standard and is one of the few REDD+ projects currently selling REDD+ credits on the voluntary market,” explains Florence Bernard, Associate Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and study lead author.

From the study, she explains a number of key innovations brought by the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, including demonstration that REDD+ has potential for implementation in dryland forests. “This is likely to be a strong incentive for Kenya and other countries to initiate projects in other dryland forest ecosystems,” says Florence Bernard.

According to Bryan Adkins, Director of Regional Engagement at Wildlife Works Carbon and co-author of the paper, the project has managed to bundle up REDD+ implementation with community-level employment opportunities, something that has informed the design of strategy options for addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation while strengthening community engagement and prioritizing ‘pro-poor’ REDD+ activities at the national level. “In addition, there exists a transparent benefit distribution disbursement process for carbon-derived revenues in Kasigau, on which the national level could capitalize,” says Bryan Adkins. 

Another key successful feature of the Kasigau Corridor project was the ability of Wildlife Works Carbon to negotiate upfront investments with external private sector and therefore secure start-up capital needed for initial project implementation and operational costs. “While this private sector finance model might be of further interest at the project level, this should also urge the national level on attracting further private-sector investments in REDD+ pilots and demonstrations projects, especially at a time of public finance shortage for Readiness and REDD+ in general, as well as on promoting a more attractive investment climate for private sector ” explains Florence Bernard.

While the national REDD+ Readiness process in Kenya is beginning to learn and draw from local level projects through such private sector project lens, dialogue with and between partners is crucial in order not to miss out on potential benefits from interactions with subnational-level actors.

The study further emphasizes the need for developing frameworks and modalities for stakeholder participation, a robust private sector engagement process, and platforms for cross linkages at different levels.

The article is available under open access: Florence Bernard, Peter A. Minang, Bryan Adkins & Jeremy T. Freund (2014): REDD+ projects and national-level Readiness processes: a case study from Kenya, Climate policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2014.905440

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2014.905440

Discussions with decision makers on Climate Smart Agriculture in Kenya

The ASB Partnership recently held roundtable discussions with decision makers in Kenya to understand how Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices are designed and implemented in the country and the role of science in informing the process. About 25 stakeholders from various agricultural sectors (government, research, development partners, private sector and farmers) participated.

At the meeting, Joanes Atela, a PhD fellow with the ASB Partnership presented preliminary findings from a study on climate smart agricultural practices in Kenya. He noted that CSA practices are implicit within the Kenya’s agricultural plans and are largely designed around general practices of sustainable agriculture. “However, new innovative scientific evidence lacks in the design of CSA practices that the country aims to convey to farmers. For instance, while the policies highlight agroforestry as a key CSA, there is little evidence differentiating the various agroforestry systems into their economic and social implications for smallholder farmers who are largely expected to implement them,” he said.

Lack of this evidence makes the CSA policies appear to be contradictory to the state’s interests in mechanized and commercial agriculture that is thought to provide quick fix for food security and economic development. “CSA practices within Kenya’s policies are therefore designed with a perception that they represent ‘conservation agriculture’ with little economic value,” said Atela, “this misconception results in poor state support of CSA with major agricultural subsidies heavily directed towards established cash crops to the exclusion of smallholder farmers who produce food crops.”

He further explained that farmers experience indicates possibilities of addressing climate change impacts on agriculture through CSA. But lack of innovative details on the value of CSA to farmers makes its realization complex and subject to socio- economic, political and cultural conditions.

Discussion on the findings centred on whether Kenya’s agricultural policies should support CSA more as a form of adaptation thanParticipants engage in group discussions on climate smart agriculture in Kenya. There is need for innovative farmer-friendly CSA designs in the Kenyamitigation given the increasing vulnerability of farmers’ agricultural systems. Arguments were made on trade-offs between conservation and development, which should be considered in designing CSA. A case study of Shinyanga landscape in Tanzania, presented by Dr Lalisa Duguma, a Postdoctoral Fellow with the ASB Partnership showed that CSA practices can achieve triple wins if their designs recognize trade-offs between adaptation, mitigation and development and at the same time, considers farmers’ aspirations.

Government officials attending the meeting found the discussions informative and requested for additional presentations and discussions to inform the work of recently established climate change units in the agriculture and other state departments. Development partners such as GIZ emphasised the role of science in informing the formulation and implementation of CSA policies. Among other things, participants recommended additional methodological steps, particularly on spatial expansion of the sampling frame to give more representative farmer experience.

This engagement process was funded by Future Agricultures Consortium (www.futureagricultures.org). Future Agricultures Consortium is a multidisciplinary and independent learning alliance of academic researchers and practitioners involved in African agriculture and aims to encourage dialogue and the sharing of good practice by policy makers and opinion formers in Africa on the role of agriculture in broad based growth

Agroforestry: Farmers produce more with less

Agustine Mbugua is reaping the benefits of conservation agriculture in his single acre piece of land in the Ngata Division of Nakuru County, 170km west of Nairobi. “Not only have I stopped using fertiliser on my farm because the manure from the crop cover provides enough nutrients to the crops, but the labour costs have gone down.

Communities, property rights and forest decentralisation in Kenya: Early lessons from participatory forestry management

The introduction of participatory forestry management (PFM) in Kenya has led to the formation of community forest associations (CFAs). Data collected from 12 forests over a decade indicate that most associations are confederating to manage shared forests through the Forests Act of 2005.

Forest cover falls 9% in East Africa in 9 years

Forest cover in East Africa has dropped by 9.3 percent from 2001-2009, according to a new paper published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE. The main reasons being that local people clear forests for agriculture, grazing land, and for charcoal to burn.

‘Policies need to explore forest value beyond the wood’ -IUFRO-FORNESSA congress media briefing

As part of publicity activities to mark the first regional congress of International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Forestry Research Network of Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA), a media briefing organized in collaboration with the Kenya's Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Kenya Forest Service, African Forest Forum and ICRAF was held on

Collaboration towards development of Kenya’s climate strategy

By Scott McFatridge

ASB Partnership, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) together with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) are working  in collaboration with the Kenya Government in developing a section on climate change mitigation for the country’s national climate change response strategy. 

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