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2021 Farmland Report
Chronicling our commitment to sustainable farmland management
As we mark the 10th anniversary of our Farmland Report, we reflect on the journey of embedding sustainability into our farmland management philosophy.
We have never seen a time when the forces of change have been stronger or more aligned. Crop protection and seed companies are seeking to find innovative ways to increase efficiency and reduce inputs, while food companies are responding to consumer demands to reduce the impact the food value chain has on the environment and to increase transparency. At the same time, governments and institutional investors are intensifying their scrutiny of sustainability factors across longer time horizons, and consulting firms are creating advanced tools for measuring ESG progress. These converging forces are aligned with Westchester’s efforts to continue to advance our sustainability initiatives. The long-term nature of farmland investments and the ability to implement practices on the ground, allows us to protect and enhance natural capital while also delivering stable investment returns.
This report provides a range of examples of our sustainability initiatives, including these highlights:
- We are pleased to introduce the first round of our new ESG KPIs, part of the ESG Framework that will replace the set developed in 2013.
- In the U.S., we achieved a major milestone with California Almond Sustainability Program certification across all managed almond orchards, expanded solar energy initiatives, launched a project employing riparian buffers, and explored the use of falconry to deter pest bird flocks.
- In Europe, we undertook significant projects to improve water management and harness renewable energy, and partnered with tenants to enhance worker health and safety.
- In South America, we launched projects to monitor fire dynamics and enhance biodiversity, while supporting lessees’ pioneering work in sustainable financing, decarbonization credit and soil capital.
- In Australia, we continued our efforts with soil health and water resource management, installed more solar panels to reduce energy use on irrigation bores, and supported impacted rural communities in the wake of historic drought and bushfires.
We hope you enjoy this review of our farmland sustainability efforts.
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Farmland investments are less developed, more illiquid and less transparent compared to traditional asset classes. Investments will be subject to risks generally associated with the ownership of real estate-related assets and foreign investing, including changes in economic conditions, currency values, environmental risks, the cost of and ability to obtain insurance and risks related to leasing of properties.
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