The Livelihoods Fund: Enriching biodiversity and communities

06 March 2014 | News story

In 2008, the French food and beverage multinational Danone created the Danone Fund for Nature, as part of an agreement with Ramsar and IUCN. Since 2011, the Fund for Nature has expanded, incorporating other external partners, and is now an independent entity called the Livelihoods Fund.

The Livelihoods Fund, a carbon investment fund providing investors access to biodiversity-friendly carbon credits with high social impact, finances large-scale projects in reforestation, sustainable farming, and energy production that are carried out for and by poor rural agricultural communities in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The mission of Livelihoods is to encourage the positive efforts of small-scale farmers by working within their communities on the foundations of their ecosystems: trees, soil fertility, the water cycle and biodiversity to encourage effective and sustainable production methods.
Projects under the initiative are vetted by an Advisory Board, of which IUCN is a member. The fund currently manages six projects within the following three main programs:

  •     Ecosystem restoration and preservation
  •     Agro-forestry with soil restoration
  •     Rural energy development that reduce deforestation

The fund is worth €34 million Euros and is expected to generate 6-11 million tonnes of carbon credits/year over the next 20 years. Currently, there are nine fund investors (Danone, Credit Agricole, Schneider Electric, CDC Climat, La Poste, Hermès, Voyageurs du Monde, SAP, Firmenich).
One example of a fund project is the Casamance project, an ecosystem restoration and preservation project in Senegal which is helping 450 villages to replant 79 million mangroves over 7920 hectares. The project aims to capture a total of 0.5 million tons of carbon over 20 years and rebuild a food ecosystem that produces fish and protects crops.

Another mangrove restoration project in the Sundarbans, India, aims to generate carbon credits whilst supporting the rural poor by providing additional food sources and by helping to protect their habitat from marine disturbances, floods, tidal waves and cyclones by using the newly-planted mangrove trees as natural buffers for their existing clay dykes and embankments. 16 million trees have been planted over 5 500 ha with 250 000 people impacted and 0.7 million tons of carbon expected over the next 20 years.

In Andhra Pradesh, India, the communities from the Araku valley have implemented a large agroforestry programme. Agroforestry is an agricultural system of creating a multi-layered functional forest (i.e. planting trees with food crops underneath). The Livelihoods project has already planted 3 million fruit trees, under which 3 million coffee plants will be planted in 2014. In addition to the revenues coming from coffee (which is currently the primary cash crop grown in the valley), fruits from the Araku valley will bring additional food resources and revenue to the local farmers in the near future. The project is expected to boost crop production by up to 20 000 tons of mangoes per year. 6,000 hectares of fruit trees have already been planted with 100 000 people impacted and 1.3 million tons of carbon offsets expected over the next 20 years.

For more information on the fund please click here

Contact:
Bernard Giraud, Director of Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility
Jean-Pierre Rennaud, Director of the Danone Fund for Nature.
Danone / Sustainable Development Department
17 Boulevard Haussmann / F-75009 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 352 020

James Oliver,
Global Marine and Polar Programme
e-mail: james.oliver@iucn.org