PALO ALTO, March 24, 2016 – The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, one of the world’s largest conservation funders, announced more than $90 million in grants designed to advance conservation by decoupling food production from negative environmental impacts.
The grant funds will support the formation of a series of collaborations supporting the Moore Foundation’s Forests and Agriculture Markets Initiative, Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative, and Oceans and Seafood Markets Initiative. Collaborators will include Ceres, FishWise, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, National Wildlife Federation, New Venture Fund, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and World Wildlife Fund. Their involvement illustrates the growing importance of partnerships between the non-profit and private sectors to address the market pressures placed on the world’s forests and oceans.
“The anticipated global population growth and related demand for richer diets, including more protein, sugars and oils, will place unprecedented pressures on our natural resources,” said Aileen Lee, program director for the conservation and markets strategies and incoming chief program officer for environmental conservation at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “Now more than ever, the need to produce food without causing severe environmental degradation is essential to maintaining the productive capacity and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems.”
- Agriculture currently covers nearly 40 percent of the world’s ice-free land, uses 70 to 90 percent of all extracted freshwater and comprises nearly 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Commercial agriculture causes half of all global forest loss.
- Despite concerted efforts to allow target stocks to rebound, with 80 million tons of global fishery landings in 2012, overexploitation remains common in global fisheries.
- Global aquaculture has more than doubled since the mid-90s and that brings with it ecological consequences including the physical conversion of coastal ecosystems (e.g., salt marshes and mangroves), pollution of coastal waters with nutrients and antibiotics, and reliance on wild capture fish for feeds.
“Forward-thinking businesses already recognize the imperative to change, and are taking steps toward cleaning their supply chains,” explained Lee. “To do this work with sufficient speed and at a meaningful scale, the core collaborations formed through these grants will build upon and amplify this momentum, to help to transform the markets for top traded commodities including beef, soy, tuna and shrimp — by changing the purchasing practices of major buyers, setting and strengthening standards for production, and shifting practices on the ground.”
The foundation will be working with the following partners with specialized areas of expertise to focus a significant amount of the initiatives’ strategy and resources, forming the following collaborations for each initiative:
- The Forests and Agriculture Markets Initiative is working to scale more efficient, sustainable, deforestation-free production of beef and soy globally by leveraging the influence of domestic and multinational companies with sufficient market reach to set sourcing standards that incentivize the adoption by producers of practices that prevent deforestation in the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco regions. The agriculture initiative’s core collaboration will be among National Wildlife Federation (GBMF5222), The Nature Conservancy (GBMF5220), World Wildlife Fund (GBMF5219) and the Moore Foundation.
- The Oceans and Seafood Markets Initiative seeks to protect marine and coastal ecosystems by improving aquaculture practices and the health and abundance of wild-capture fish stocks. The seafood initiative’s core collaboration will be among FishWise, Seafood Watch, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, World Wildlife Fund, New Venture Fund (the seafood collaboration’s fiscal sponsor, GBMF5208) and the Moore Foundation.
- The Conservation and Finance Markets Initiative is using the power of mainstream financial markets to help drive the food sector away from production practices that degrade natural ecosystems and to support businesses and the capital markets to make informed decisions based on effective disclosures. The finance initiative’s collaboration will be among Ceres (GBMF5225), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (GBMF5227), World Wildlife Fund (GBMF5226) and the Moore Foundation.
Transforming practices in these markets will require an unprecedented degree of cross-sector collaboration among non-profits, business, governments and other stakeholders. Supporting a platform for these collaborations helps foster increased coherence among these actors, and, by extension, should enable more effective engagement across sectors.
“Data show that the private sector will face resource scarcity and future uncertainty if sustainability isn’t integrated into supply chains,” explained Guillermo Castilleja, Ph.D., chief program officer of the Moore Foundation’s Environmental Conservation Program. “Through these collaborative efforts, we believe NGOs will be able to work with private sector actors with greater adaptability and responsiveness to rapidly shifting supply chain dynamics, in a more easily coordinated and resilient way.”
Outside the new collaborations, a significant portion of funding from the three markets initiatives—a little over $40 million in aggregate—is reserved for responding to needs that emerge as the collaborations’ work unfolds. Additionally, half of the funding to the collaborations will be re-granted to additional organizations whose expertise may be needed to achieve initiative goals. Questions about these new collaborations may be directed to the foundation, at email@example.com.
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
For information about and comments from the collaborators, download the media supplement.
Press release also available in Spanish and Portugese.