The Business Case for Investing in Soil Health


04 December, 2018



Soil health is a pressing global issue that sits at the heart of three UN conventions (UNCBD, UNCCD and UNFCCC). There is an urgent need to mobilize nature-based solutions to address the challenges of climate change. Global soils contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere – however, by working with nature and improving soil health, increased carbon sequestration can help to reduce emissions and withstand some of the unavoidable effects of climate change.

Today’s report shows that the business case for investing in soils is diverse. It can include maintaining or increasing revenues, reducing or avoiding costs, enhancing reputation, or opening up finance opportunities. Whilst an investment may be primarily focused on one outcome (e.g. for enhancing crop productivity or livelihoods, climate mitigation, improving water resources, or protecting biodiversity), the chapters of the report collectively demonstrate that an investment in soils for any one of these outcomes will deliver multiple benefits.

The publication identifies three key next steps to accelerate action in this area:

  1. Lower the hurdles to practices that promote soil health: for example, by exploring value-capture systems that supports the grower in offsetting the initial cost of implementing sustainable agricultural practices that promote soil health.
  2. Take advantage of the national context and act locally: alignment with national soil health policies and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) commitments such as the Land Degradation Neutrality baselines could open up financial options and technical support for in-country projects.
  3. Build partnerships for soil health: an investment in soil health delivers both public and private benefits, but adapting action to local context is key. Business can explore supply chain cooperation, public-private partnerships and landscape alliances that spread costs and risks, promote innovation and knowledge exchange, and ensure locally-appropriate solutions.