The global agricultural sector - including both ranching and farming - faces enormous challenges in meeting the 21st century's growing demand for food, fiber and fuel without eroding the natural resources and ecological systems upon which agriculture and humanity depend. Climate change is one of these challenges, as it has the potential to significantly disrupt food production across the globe and undermine small-holder farmer livelihoods.
Agriculture - one of the world's most significant sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - can also contribute to climate change due to unsustainable practices. Reducing these emissions is particularly challenging because of increasing demand on tropical landscapes for the production of biofuels, animal fodder and food and the dependency of hundreds of millions of the Earth’s poorest on these lands for food production and livelihoods.
Given the scope, scale, and importance of the worldwide agricultural sector, agribusiness companies are critical stakeholders in mitigating the impacts to human well-being from habitat clearing to establish pastures, farms, and infrastructure to support this growth.
Conservation International's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) has a proven model of engaging agribusiness corporations for sustainable development with a bottom up - corridors - and top down - markets - approach. This is important to ensure that everyone benefits from conserving Earth’s rich natural heritage.
CELB works with a wide range of partners: producers of food products such as sugar, soya, coffee and oil palm; agribusinesses; governments; retailers; and local conservation groups. We're developing biodiversity conservation corridors that integrate protected areas of natural habitat, agricultural areas, and other land uses at a landscape level.
Together with our partners, we are working towards models for sustainable development that enhances farm productivity, reduces agricultural impacts on water, soils, and biodiversity, concentrates new production on degraded lands, and ensures permanent protection of forests and other natural habitats important for carbon sequestration, freshwater, and other ecosystem services.
CELB is also working to engage corporations so they no longer purchase commodities from uncertified and unsustainable sources, and to make the compelling business case that corporate supply chains should employ practical, proven strategies for sustainable agriculture to ensure a healthy and prosperous world.