Firmenich and Veolia join food giants in sustainable investment fund
The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) was first launched in 2014 with an initial investment from Danone and Mars. It has now been announced €120 million will be ploughed into projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America in 2016, helping 200,000 farms convert to sustainable agricultural practices.
Nine out of ten of the world's 570 million farms are managed by smallholder families, according to a 2014 report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), making the family farm the predominant face of global agriculture.
FAO also estimates about 75% of the world’s agricultural resources emanate from family farms, meaning they are a potentially crucial agent of change in achieving sustainable food security and eradicating hunger in the future as well as sustainable sourcing for large corporations.
Firmenich CEO, Gilbert Ghostine, said: “Firmenich partners with smallholder farmers around the world to protect the best that nature can offer, while sharing its expertise to positively improve their livelihoods. Investing in the fund gives us the opportunity to scale up the impact of our responsible sourcing, building on the fund’s extensive network of likeminded NGOs and corporate partners.”
Livelihoods 3F projects target key crops threatened by climate change, such as milk, vanilla, mint, cocoa and sugar.
Bernard Giraud, president of the Paris-based social business that operates the project Livelihoods Venture, said: “Livelihoods 3F is an open investment fund. All businesses that want to source agricultural and natural goods in a sustainable way are encouraged to join us to increase the breadth of our learning and impact.”
Director of communications, Leona Liu told FoodNavigator of a pilot project will be launched in 2016 to reduce the vulnerability of milk crops. "Private companies sourcing commodities (in this case milk) will also benefit from working with the smallholder farmers through this project. In this project, Danone’s subsidiary Brookside - the largest dairy producer in Kenya - will be able to assure its milk volumes and reduce price volatility while creating a strong social impact. This project will result in the production of 350 million liters of extra milk in the next decade because farmers’ cows will be better nourished due to enriched fodder from the agroforestry model."
How does the model work?
Livelihoods 3F operates as a mutual investment fund with shared risks and results-based returns. Financial return for the fund’s investors will be provided by a coalition including private and public third party companies, public utilities, governments, development institutions, that purchase the goods and positive impacts (such as carbon credits or water savings) generated by the projects.
The public-private multi-actor coalition minimises risks and decreases costs to each of its partners and provides a platform for knowledge exchange.
Livelihoods Venture’s first fund was initiated by French dairy giant Danone and has planted 130 million trees resulting in the 'sequestration' of 10 million tons of CO2.