Soil health has emerged as a key solution area in the context of our food system, climate emergency and nature recovery. It can benefit climate change mitigation, soil productivity, producer resilience, biodiversity, and is an essential precursor for a just rural transition. Companies all along the value chain depend on the ecosystem services of healthy soils to succeed.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Soil Investment Hub, with support from the Just Rural Transition and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, has collaborated with the Croatan Institute to provide guidance and decision-making tools to enable companies to plan for effective soil investments which will generate financial, social and environmental returns for the company and other stakeholders in the value chain.
The “Soil Investment Guidance Report” aims to support food and agriculture companies to invest in impactful, high-value, and long-term solutions for healthy soils along their supply chains and beyond. It identifies 13 investment mechanisms that have distinct connection to material impacts and types of financial, environmental, and social returns.
The intention of this work is to:
- Standardize the classifications of soil as a value-chain asset.
- Qualify, quantify and demonstrate the private and public benefits of investing into soil health practices fully accounting for the value – including environmental, social and economic – being produced across agriculture sub-sector-, region- and stakeholder specific considerations.
- Provide a portfolio of soil investment mechanisms that can be prioritized to scale healthy soil solutions.
The prototype tool will serve as the foundation for a toolkit that helps companies monitor and report on the impact of their soil investments for the company and stakeholders. It can also be used to share knowledge on best practice for each specific soil investment type, based on a company’s place in the value chain, and to collaborate for collective action. WBCSD will launch this toolkit in early 2022.
The “Soil Investment Guidance Report” incorporates feedback from interviews with 13 WBCSD member companies, and over 40 member companies and key stakeholders that were brought together over the course of five virtual sessions, called the Friends of Soil Health Dialogues.