Partnership with WWF
In 2011, Rabobank entered into a partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature. The mission was to jointly work on projects together with clients to achieve a nature-inclusive food system.
Rabobank and WWF NL’s aim is to use international projects that serve as models to show how a successful transition to a nature-inclusive food system is possible. It enables us to show that economic returns can go hand-in-hand with the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.
According to Rabobank and WWF NL, a project is successful once it demonstrates that as a result of the sustainability measures implemented in the projects:
- Producers are economically better off with improved agricultural practices. For example, by making degraded or eroded land suitable for production again, by using fewer resources (water, fertilizer and energy) and by improving the organization.
- The impact on nature and ecosystems in a landscape is significantly reduced
- and the chain in question has been demonstrably and systematically made sustainable
- A scalable solution has been developed that can be replicated by Rabobank and WWF
How do we get started?
The projects are jointly developed with clients, in regions where both partners are active and the greatest sustainability gains can be achieved for landscapes and chains. WWF focuses globally on a specific number of areas where the greatest positive impact is needed. Currently, collaborations include those in the Netherlands (dairy & arable farming), Chile (salmon farming and fruit production), India (sugar cane) and Australia (livestock).
- Dairy in the Netherlands: The Sustainable Dairy Chain, WWF NL and Rabobank want to promote biodiversity through a new earnings model with stacked rewards in the chain. With this in mind the biodiversity monitor was developed, an instrument that unambiguously measures farmers' sustainable results and encourages improvement. Chain parties & stakeholders can then link rewards to that performance, such as subsidies, better (milk) prices, sustainability bonuses and interest rate discounts. This biodiversity monitor is now also used in arable farming.
- Farmed salmon in Chile: Together with the large salmon producers in Chile, Rabobank and WWF Chile have mapped out the steps required to achieve ASC certification while preserving biodiversity in the ecosystem, and support them in achieving (or accelerating) ASC certification. In accordance with ASC requirements, we have additionally developed a "social toolkit," including modules for both farmed salmon producers and local communities. This strengthens the relationship between the two.
- Fruit in Chile: Rabobank and WWF Chile are establishing how fruit producing customers of Rabobank Chile could best contribute to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and functional ecosystems in the landscape through sustainable farming practices. This project should lead to specific guidance and support for customers in implementing the most sustainable agricultural practices that are identified.
- Sugar cane in India: WWF India, Rabobank, one of the largest sugar producers operating in a subtropical and tropical climate, and a major international food producer (and buyer of sugar cane) have developed a tool to promote more efficient water management. The tool leads to more efficient water management for both farmers and large sugar cane producers. It lowers the risks of water scarcity for both sugar cane production and the conservation and restoration of soil and biodiversity in the landscape. The tiger, for example, can also benefit because its habitat is reduced less. In addition, this project will lead to a benchmark for the sugar industry in India and perhaps in other parts of the world, consistent with the BONSUCRO standard.
- Beef in Australia: Together with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and two major international beef buyers, WWF Australia and Rabobank are investigating the effects of regenerative grazing on improving soil quality. This improves the soil, increases its CO2 storage capacity, and creates a healthier ecosystem. The research results should lead to specific recommendations for clients (farmers) on how regenerative grazing can improve soil quality. The project is part of a national program led by MLA to make the livestock sector carbon neutral by 2030.
'Food entrepreneurs earn from nature conservation'
Rabobank and the World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF Netherlands) organised the 'Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17: What makes a partnership successful?' congress in the auditorium of Rabobank Nederland’s campus in Utrecht on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.
New insights for water-guzzling sugar industry
Few other crops are as thirsty as sugar cane. In India, sugar cane farming is pursued at the expense of the water supply, other forms of agriculture and the surrounding nature.
Doing more with less in Brazilian agriculture
Agriculture as a strategy for combating deforestation in the Amazon and other areas of Brazil?
Working towards a more sustainable salmon industry
Each summer, blue whales, an endangered species, migrate to the coastal areas of Chile. In its fjords and bays they give birth to their calves and gather food.
Biodiversity Monitor: Method for Biodiversity Protection in agriculture
A growing number of agricultural businesses have come to recognise nature and the environment as a value-added resource that can help them to improve their business operations.
Utrecht University publishes on F&A in relation to climate change
The Copernicus institute associated with the University of Utrecht has published a report.