Latin America Conservation Council: Action Today to Conserve Natural Capital for the Future
The Council and The Nature Conservancy call for increasing Latin America’s water and food security and developing smart infrastructure, while protecting natural wealth for future generations.
Quintana Roo, Mexico | November 15, 2013
During its 3rd Annual Meeting, the Latin America Conservation Council (LACC) renewed its commitment to address the greatest environmental and development challenges facing Latin America: Water Security, Sustainable Food Security, and Smart Infrastructure. The Council reviewed progress on its pilot projects and charted a course forward over the next three years, together with experts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
“Two years ago, we decided to roll up our sleeves to help balance growth and conservation in Latin America. Looking back today, we are proud of how far we have come,” said Henry M. Paulson, co-Chair of the LACC and former U.S. Treasury Secretary. “The region demands collaborative and innovative action among private and public sectors, scientists and civil society to find sustainable solutions. We have a unique opportunity –and responsibility – to come together and act now. ”
Demand for Latin America’s mineral, agricultural and energy wealth is fueling regional growth. Poverty is falling, social indices are rising, and regional GDP is predicted to double in a decade. But natural ecosystems must also be conserved, along with the services they provide to society, for regional development to endure.
Into this reality the Latin America Conservation Council was born in 2011. Council Members are leveraging their collective expertise, influence and resources to help conserve Latin America’s “natural capital” – its healthy rivers, forests and seas.
“We started a movement two years ago with a shared vision: to act. From Brazil to Mexico, we are developing and promoting science-based tools to strengthen water and food security and promote smart infrastructure, for the benefit of nature and millions of Latin Americans,” said LACC co-Chair and Chairman of Banamex Roberto Hernández Ramírez. “We also share a commitment to guide growth in a sustainable way to protect Latin America’s natural resources, while respecting and fostering multicultural heritage that this region has.”
On behalf of TNC, Mark Tercek, its CEO and LACC Member, highlighted that “We all depend on healthy and well-managed natural systems for our prosperity. It's encouraging to work with this group of business and political leaders who recognize that fact. The Nature Conservancy is pleased to bring our science and on-the-ground expertise to the table as we work together to move the needle on sustainability and growth in Latin America."
2013 was an important year for the LACC, with the addition of three new Members: Lorenzo Mendoza (CEO of Grupo Polar, based in Venezuela), Virginia (“Ginni”) Rometty (Chairman, President and CEO of IBM), and Eduardo Tricio (Chairman of Grupo Lala and Grupo Aeroméxico, based in Mexico). To learn more about the Council Members, visit: http://www.nature.org/latin-america-conservation-council/about-us/lacc-members.xml.
Since the founding of the Council in September of 2011, the LACC has worked with TNC to take on Latin America’s biggest challenges by developing and promoting sustainable solutions. Highlights include:
- Water Security: The LACC calls for strengthening water security for Latin America’s 25 most at-risk cities by using nature-based solutions, like Water Funds. Working with the Latin America Water Funds Partnership, governments, major water users, lenders and The Nature Conservancy, the Council is supporting five Water Funds to benefit over 20 million people in Guatemala City, Santiago, Sao Paulo Monterrey, and Medellin – launching the last two Water Funds in September and October 2013. A number of Council Member organizations have played a leading role this past year to promote these water funds, which will provide sustainable funding for long-term watershed conservation and management, including FEMSA Foundation, Mango Tree Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, AMBEV, Carisam- Samuel Meisel, Inc., Coca Cola and Dow. The work plan calls for linking corporate replenishment commitments to water fund investments in coming years, and developing an index of cities that will most benefit from nature-based solutions to water security to guide green investments.
- Sustainable Food Security: The Council calls for doubling food production with no new habitat loss by using sustainable technologies to intensify production on the existing agricultural footprint. Food demand has increased with the growing world population, and Latin America is poised to become a leader in sustainable food production —agriculture, ranching and fisheries— but needs to protect key landscapes and seascapes for sustainable prosperity. In 2013, LACC Member companies and other stakeholders continued to work with The Nature Conservancy, promoting innovative partnerships throughout the region. For example, in Sao Felix do Xingu (Brazil) work with Cargill is enhancing sustainable supply chain management of cacao, a good option for small producers and forests. Also in Brazil, LACC Member company Dow is working on promoting sustainable cattle ranching. In Mato Grosso and Bahia (Brazil), Bunge is helping farmers and ranchers to comply with environmental legislation (CAR) and decrease deforestation. The work plan calls for expanding early mover models like these to Mexico, Colombia and beyond in coming years.
- Smart Infrastructure: The LACC calls for designing Latin America’s major energy, mining, and transport infrastructure to have no net impact on natural capital by avoiding, minimizing, and compensating for environmental impacts. In 2013, the Council focused on large regional river basins —the Tapajos (in Brazil), the Coatzacoalcos (in Mexico), and the Magdalena (in Colombia)— convening public and private stakeholders to advocate for coordinated, whole-basin planning. The work plan calls for continuing to strengthen proactive planning, best practice construction standards, and compensation schemes that increase conservation and sustainable development for area residents, while building the capacity for government oversight. Key LACC Member partners in these efforts are the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Caterpillar, Fundación Mario Santo Domingo, Odebrecht and CAF Latin America Development Bank.
The Latin America Conservation Council (LACC) is an unprecedented group of business and political leaders working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental organization. It is comprised of over 30 global leaders who call for protecting nature and effectively managing its resources for the sustainable prosperity of future generations across Latin America.
To learn more about the LACC, visit: http://www.nature.org/LACC
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.