The Human and Environmental Impact of Plantations International’s Sustainable Agriculture

Plantations International: Using Sustainable Agriculture to Meet Today’s Needs without Compromising Tomorrow’s Resources: All Plantations International employees are responsible for observing and advancing our Environmental Sustainability Policy. The Company’s Sustainability Leadership Team has overall responsibility for overseeing the Company’s environmental performance. The Sustainability Leadership Team and the Vice President – Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility regularly report progress to and receive direction from the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors.

As food prices are closely linked to inflationary trends, owners of agricultural assets and those exposed to farming businesses possess a hedge against inflation. This is one key diversification benefit of the asset class. Agriculture has been shown to have low correlation with many other asset classes such as equities and corporate debt, which dominate the investment market. This means that including agricultural in a portfolio can provide significant diversification benefits, resulting in an increase in portfolio return or reducing overall portfolio risk. Population driven food demand remains the core base of demand for agricultural commodities. The demand for food is relatively inelastic to income, making demand for agricultural commodities less subject to an economic slowdown.

Food security is traditionally defined as food availability and one’s access to it. Over the years however the definition of food security has developed into more descriptive terms as its importance has risen. The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and dozens of others today have their own interpretation of food security. Food security ought to be a priority for all countries, whether developing or developed. Although low levels of food security are commonly associated with poverty stricken countries they are also found in affluent developed countries as well. Food security rankings despite providing a decent gauge of performance are not without limitations. For example, some of wealthiest countries logically fare well in overall rankings as they have the capability and infrastructure to provide accessible, healthy food to their populations. Yet these high rankings dangerously mask their poor natural resources and resilience rank which measures food import dependency to a small degree. This raises the question, how can a country be food secure when they can be highly dependent on others for their food supply?

With offices, plantations, and representatives across Asia, Europe, and Africa, Plantations International is a multinational plantation and farm management company that specializes in providing sustainable agricultural and forestry or “agroforestry” management services for its clients. Plantations International has clients ranging from private individuals to large landholders and corporate investors. We put teamwork, innovation, and our passion for creating “Ethical & Sustainable Capital” at the heart of everything we do.

Population Growth: Today, about 2/3 of the world’s population lives in Asia, a figure dominated by India and China. Regionally by 2100, Africa and Asia will be home to 4.4 and 4.9 billion people respectively, and together will account for 83% of the world’s population. More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 will occur in Africa, which will add 1.3 billion people. The United States is expected to be the fastest growing developed country, ranking 6th in total population growth. The U.S should have an additional 67 million people by 2050. Rising population will place significant stress on existing resources raising the need for not only increased production but more efficient productivity based on existing resources. 1.4 billion hectares of land the equivalent of 28% percent of the world’s agricultural area is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted. The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted (250km3) is equivalent to three times the volume of Lake Geneva.

Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can even trap more heat than CO2. A molecule of methane produces more than 20 times the warming of a molecule of CO2. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful than CO2. Other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (which have been banned in much of the world because they also degrade the ozone layer), have heat-trapping potential thousands of times greater than CO2. But because their concentrations are much lower than CO2, none of these gases adds as much warmth to the atmosphere as CO2 does. In order to understand the effects of all the gases together, Plantations International scientists tend to talk about all greenhouse gases in terms of the equivalent amount of CO2. Since 1990, yearly emissions have gone up by about 6 billion metric tons of “carbon dioxide equivalent” worldwide, more than a 20% increase. Plantations International is already seeing some of these changes occurring more quickly than they had expected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eleven of the twelve hottest years since thermometer readings became available occurred between 1995 and 2006.