Jurisdictional Sustainability: Primer For Practitioners

Mar 13, 2017

“It is one thing to announce a pledge to tackle deforestation and illegality. It is another to do this in practice on the ground.” Dr. Ruth Nussbaum, Director, ProForest.


The loss of tropical forests is one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity today. How do we solve it in a way that will also increase food security and improve the livelihoods of rural communities? A new publication sheds light on this question.


Global awareness of the importance of tropical forests has grown in recent years and powerful new approaches for maintaining and restoring them have emerged. Tropical states and nations have put innovative new public policies and programs in place to slow tropical deforestation. The international community has designed a mechanism called “REDD+” for compensating the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that states and nations achieve. And more recently, dozens of companies have formally committed to do their part by eliminating tropical deforestation from their supply chains of soy, palm oil, beef and other commodities.


There is still a long way to go, however, as Juliana de Lavor Lopes, Sustainability and Communications Director of Grupo Amaggi states: “Being assertive when it comes to deforestation is complicated. The elimination of deforestation in a region or country will only be achieved when productive sectors from various chains, all governmental spheres, and civil society organizations work together for the same purpose. For a company, it is important to work both directly in its supply chain and with various stakeholders in a region, because its activities are in some way all interconnected. Working with stakeholders is critical to achieving a global impact, and jurisdictional sustainability is the best approach to meeting this challenge.”


Part of the problem is that, so far, these three approaches are usually being pursued independently of one another. “Jurisdictional sustainability” has emerged as a strategy for weaving them together synergistically. As RSPO’s Director General Darrel Weber explains it:

“The jurisdictional approach brings regional governments, farmers and supply chains to the table as partners in addressing systemic issues and therefore hastening the journey towards sustainable development.”


With the goal of building a common understanding of jurisdictional sustainability—how to define it, why it is important, and how to put it into practice at scale—a group of practitioners came together in January of 2015 and June of 2016 to share perspectives and experiences. On Tuesday, February 14th at 11:00am Central European Time, a publication summarizing the main results of these meetings was released. It is called: “Jurisdictional Sustainability: Primer for Practitioners” and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, and French. Find it on our Resource Library.


“Tropical deforestation reduction, good management of freshwater systems, food security and social inclusion can all be achieved together through regional strategies for jurisdictional sustainability that are owned by local society,” explains Dr. Daniel Nepstad, Executive Director of the Earth Innovation Institute, that organized the workshops.