Aerial picture of crops in Malawi

Responsible Investment in Agriculture

Investment has an important role to play in driving the transition to more equitable, resilient, and sustainable food systems. IISD provides evidence, tools, training, and advice to governments, investors, and other stakeholders to promote responsible investments that address rather than exacerbate social and environmental challenges related to agriculture and food systems.

Greater public and private investment is needed to drive the transition to more sustainable agriculture and food systems. However, such investments need to be done responsibly to ensure they address rather than exacerbate social and environmental challenges. Governments need to regulate investments to avoid risks such as the displacement of marginalized rural communities or the destruction of local ecosystems. Private financial investors and agribusinesses should similarly have strategies in place to ensure that their operational practices and procedures lead to sustainable agricultural outcomes. 

IISD aims to align investment practices in the food and agriculture sectors with sustainable development goals by promoting fair, environmentally responsible investments that spur economic growth in developing countries. This work is informed by the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI), which were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in 2014. These principles provide a comprehensive framework on what constitutes a “responsible investment” in agriculture and food systems. 

We conduct research, foster inclusive dialogue, and support policy-makers to establish legal and policy frameworks that encourage responsible private sector investment in agriculture and food systems, particularly in low-income developing countries. We also support parliamentarians, civil society actors, and the private sector in playing effective roles in creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. And we work with partners and private sector actors to create tools and resources to help businesses align their practices and procedures with responsible business conduct. 

To support these stakeholders, we have developed innovative and practical tools tailored to their roles and needs. These include model contract clauses for government officials, handbooks for parliamentarians, guides for local communities and civil society organizations, and evidence and tools to help financial investors and agribusinesses invest responsibly.