Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs)
The University of Leeds’ NOVASOIL project case study is the Landscape Enterprise Network (LENs). Developed by sustainability consultancy 3Keel, LENs is an approach to developing integrated, place-based marketplaces for ecosystem services, and as such is a good example of a reliable and profitable business model that can promote soil health.The creation of a marketplace allows companies and government agencies interested in incentivising nature-based solutions and delivering landscape-level outcomes to enter into trading contracts with farmers, farmer cooperatives and landscape managers who are able to deliver aggregated ecosystem services (e.g. water quality management, soil carbon sequestration, flood risk management, resilient and sustainable crop production, biodiversity outcomes, etc.).In line with the objectives of the NOVASOIL project, we will assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the adoption of LENs as an approach to1) Encouraging the adoption of land management practices by farmers, farmer cooperatives and land managers;2) encouraging companies and government agencies to take a holistic, landscape-level view of soil health and commit to scaling up soil health-related outcomes.We are interested in assessing whether the extent to which farmers and land managers are involved in the process of establishing a LEN has an impact on the scaling process and the ability of LEN stakeholders to achieve the desired outcomes in terms of ecosystem service provision.In order to gather the data required to meet the objectives of the NOVASOIL project, we will primarily focus on engaging the community of stakeholders involved in the establishment of LENs in Cumbria and East Anglia. However, we will also explore the possibility of establishing LENs in other areas of the UK.
Supply chains without long-term contracts, resulting in supplier-buyer relationships that are not characterised by loyalty and trust;Uncertainty due to changing UK policy on agri-environment schemes and payments;The inability of LEN partners to negotiate and/or achieve fair, transparent and locally accountable trading contract outcomes
Formal and informal relationships in existing supply chains;Existence of entities, such as co-operatives and small processors, that can represent farmers and negotiate with aggregators of supply and demand on behalf of farmers and landowners;Awareness among UK farmers, farmer co-operatives and land managers of the importance of soil health in securing ecosystem functions;The emergence of a UK agricultural soil carbon market;Increasing pressure on UK businesses to contribute to the UK’s pathway to net zero by 2050.
Cumbria LENs: Nestlé, United Utilities, First Milk, Eden Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Eden District Council, and the National TrustEast Anglia LENs: Affinity Water, Anglian Water, Cargill, Cereal Partners UK, Essex and Suffolk Water, Nestlé Purina, and West Northamptonshire County Council
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