Whether it’s the leather in your shoes, the cotton in your T-shirt or the wool in your sweater — nature provides the raw materials for the fashion industry.
But these are not always produced sustainably. Deforestation, water misuse, pesticides and greenhouse gas emissions are just some of the environmental impacts linked to agricultural practices that underpin fashion.
However, agriculture can be transformed into a powerful nature-based solution.
In 2021, Conservation International and Kering launched the Regenerative Fund for Nature to catalyze a movement in the fashion sector — and beyond — toward more regenerative agricultural practices. We are now seeking to expand the fund by welcoming new partners. The Regenerative Fund for Nature aims to transform 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of agricultural lands in six countries to regenerative practices by 2026. Seven grantees have been awarded between US$ 100,000 and US$ 500,000 to implement regenerative agriculture projects.
The fund initially aims to transform 1 million hectares of land into regenerative agricultural spaces by 2026.
The fund is initially focused on leather, cotton, wool and cashmere.
The fund currently includes 7 projects in 6 countries.
Projects range from 1 to 3 years.
What is the Regenerative Fund for Nature?
Launched in January 2021, the Regenerative Fund for Nature seeks to transform agricultural practices by sourcing raw materials such as leather, cotton, wool and cashmere from producers that are restoring soil and ecosystems, protecting biodiversity and improving community livelihoods.
The fund provides grants to farming groups, project leaders, non-governmental organizations and others that are ready to test, prove and scale regenerative practices that ensure the long-term viability of the land and deliver benefits for farmers, nature and the climate.
During the fund’s initial phase, all grantees are located in one or more of the priority countries selected by Conservation International and Kering using a science-based analysis that assesses three areas: the materials’ importance for fashion supply chains, the feasibility of implementing projects, and the potential positive outcomes for biodiversity, climate change and soil health.
In its inaugural year, the fund selected seven projects from more than 70 proposals. Grant recipients were announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Marseille in September 2021.
The 2021 cohort reflects a diverse portfolio of projects with the potential for significant impact. Overall, 840,000 hectares (2 million acres) will be transformed into regenerative agricultural spaces, engaging 60,000 people around the globe.
In 2021, Conservation International and Kering launched the Regenerative Fund for Nature to catalyze a movement in the fashion sector — and beyond — toward more regenerative agricultural practices. The Regenerative Fund for Nature seeks to transform agricultural practices by sourcing raw materials such as leather, cotton, wool and cashmere from producers that are restoring soil and ecosystems, protecting biodiversity and improving community livelihoods. The fund provides grants to farming groups, project leaders, non-governmental organizations and others that are ready to test, prove and scale regenerative practices that ensure the long-term viability of the land and deliver benefits for farmers, nature and the climate.
We are now entering a second phase of the fund where we are seeking additional partners to help support more farming communities in their transition to regenerative approaches. We will continue to prioritize projects that advance the following regenerative outcomes:
- Increase the capacity of soils to sequester carbon, retain water and improve other elements of soil functionality.
- Protect, restore and enhance biodiversity (including native plant and animal species, and their habitats), both on farms and in surrounding landscapes. This includes avoiding any conversion or degradation of natural ecosystems.
- Support the livelihoods of farmers.
- Eliminate the use of synthetic agrochemical inputs by favoring ecological solutions that promote (not degrade) natural processes.
- Enhance animal welfare of farmed livestock.
What is regenerative agriculture?
The term “regenerative agriculture” emerged to better acknowledge and establish a greater focus on the role of soils in maintaining production systems over time. The focus has been on building back healthy soils – and transitioning to a system of farming that focuses on positive outcomes that ensure the long-term viability of the land to sustain production by working with nature rather than against it. Regenerative agriculture aims to go beyond simply doing “less bad” to “do more good” by delivering benefits for farmers, communities, nature and climate. At Conservation International, we acknowledge that many of the approaches underpinning regenerative and sustainable agriculture were invented by and have been practiced within Indigenous communities long before these terms existed.
In practice, regenerative agriculture combines Indigenous and traditional approaches to farming and land stewardship with modern management methods to sequester carbon, mitigate climate change and protect wildlife. Practices include rotating crops, carrying out little or no tillage, eliminating synthetic chemicals and integrating crops with managed grazing systems. In addition, regenerative agriculture ensures high standards for animal welfare.
About Conservation International
Conservation International is working to promote regenerative agriculture as a global solution for people, nature and the climate. By combining science, field programs, corporate partnerships and government engagement, Conservation International is aligning stakeholder commitments and investments in priority landscapes to drive conservation, sustainable production and improved livelihoods at scale. In addition, Conservation International manages the fund and provides technical input into project selection and implementation.
Kering, the global luxury group, manages the development of renowned houses in fashion, leather goods and jewelry: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo, Qeelin and Kering Eyewear. Investing in the Regenerative Fund for Nature is a key component of Kering’s commitment to achieve a “net positive” impact on biodiversity by 2025, by bringing 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) in its supply chain landscapes under regenerative agricultural practices. Aligned with its long-term commitment to sustainability, Kering’s biodiversity strategy outlines steps to not only minimize biodiversity loss across the group’s global supply chains, but also support nature and create net positive impact.