How technology and collaboration can develop profitable and sustainable land use

Satellite image of Nordic countries. Image via Flickr: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Satellite image of Nordic countries. Image via Flickr: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A business incubator helping small agri-business in a Swedish town, and satellite data helping farmers and finance collaborate are examples of innovation helping drive sustainable land use, given at a Nordic forestry COP23 side-event this week.

Incubating agri-business

At the outskirts of a city lies an unused land area owned by the municipality. It is good arable land, but it is not being cultivated. Around the world there are many areas like this, that have the potential to be utilised for food production, and projects aimed at creating social cohesion.

This is the basis for the project “Peri-urban multifunctional sustainable land-use: urban farming trend meets traditional peri-urban land-use” that looks at how to make use of these areas.

Bodil Elmqvist, PhD and senior sustainability advisor at consulting group COWI, presented the project and a range of examples of how peri-urban land can be activated and used, and how different localities see different opportunities and challenges.

One, from Sweden showed how small agri-businesses in peri-urban areas gained access to market and scale their business through an incubator which gave them business support.

Technology enabling stakeholder collaboration

Sustainable business advisor Morten Jastrup, took another angle and focused on how technological advances can enable new stakeholder collaboration.

In the project “Financial Instruments to Incentivize Soil Quality and Soil Carbon Storage” satellite data on soil quality is the medium that can bring together farmers and bankers on the common agenda of protecting soil quality.

Protecting soil from degradation can limit and reverse carbon leakage to the atmosphere and gases like nitrous oxide can be reduced.

The project, focused on engaging farmers, mortgage institutions and farmland investors to co-develop new business and financial models that incentivise a farmer to protect the soil.

Satellite data provides the tools to monitor this work, letting farmers develop the productivity and value of their land while giving financial sector stakeholders new tools to evaluate risk associated with investments and loans in farmland.

Interested to know more about Climate-KIC at COP23? Find out what other side events Climate-KIC is organising in the Bonn Zone here.

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