Momentum from the COP21 continues: Firmenich and Veolia to join Danone and Mars in a new fund that creates mutual benefits for smallholder farmers, business and the environment

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Press release: Livelihoods Fund. Paris, January 21, 2016 (206.39 KB)

PARIS- Jan. 21, 2016 — The historic global climate agreement struck at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) last month in Paris sent a strong signal to governments, as well as to the private sector and civil society, of the need for more green investment and innovative models.

The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) is a concrete example of one such model that tackles environmental degradation, poverty and development, all while taking action to prevent climate catastrophe. Firmenich, the largest privately owned company in the fragrance and flavor business, and Veolia, the global leader in resource management that provides water, waste and energy solutions, announced today that they would join this fund, which allows business to play its part alongside government in preserving our planet.

The challenge facing world agriculture today is to produce enough to meets the demands of our growing population despite the depletion of natural resources. Climate change impacts the food chain through pressures on natural ecosystem services essential for agriculture and water cycles. It also impacts the livelihoods of the 500 million smallholder farmers who produce raw materials. Launched in February 2014 with founding investors Danone and Mars, Incorporated, the fund aims to help companies sustainably source natural materials from smallholder famers while delivering large-scale social and economic impact to those farmers.

Livelihoods 3F will invest 120 million euros in its first phase to convert 200,000 farms to sustainable farming across Africa, Asia and Latin America. It will provide upfront financing and technical support to NGOs/farmers’ cooperatives that will implement projects in the field.

For Firmenich, the sustainable sourcing of ingredients from nature like vanilla, patchouli or mint is vital to its business. “Firmenich partners with smallholder farmers around the world to protect the best that nature can offer, while sharing its expertise to positively improve their livelihoods,” says Gilbert Ghostine, Chief Executive Officer of Firmenich. “Investing in the fund gives us the opportunity to scale up the impact of our responsible sourcing, building on the fund’s extensive network of likeminded NGOs and corporate partners.”

Veolia provides circular economy based solutions that enable the preservation of water resources and soil quality. It supports climate change mitigation, food security and helping farmers become more resilient. “Livelihoods 3F offers Veolia the opportunity to support high impact and empowering projects, sponsored by a community of local and international stakeholders,” says Antoine Frérot, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veolia. “Veolia will support Livelihoods 3F thanks to its worldwide know-how on water management and natural resources conservation and will have the opportunity to continue to work, through this coalition, on sustainable farming and watershed management challenges.”

Livelihoods 3F will operate as a mutual investment fund with shared risks and results-based returns. Financial return for the fund’s investors will be provided by a coalition of private and public third party companies, public utilities, governments, development institutions, etc. that will purchase the goods and positive impacts (such as carbon credits or water savings) generated by the projects. Livelihoods’ public-private multi-actor coalition minimizes risks
and decreases costs to each of its partners and provides a platform for knowledge exchange. 

“Livelihoods 3F is an open investment fund. All businesses that want to source agricultural and natural goods in a sustainable way are encouraged to join us to increase the breadth of our learning and impact” says Bernard Giraud, President of Livelihoods Venture, the company that conceived the fund’s original idea and is now running it with its corporate partners.

Livelihoods 3F is set to launch its first project in 2016. It is actively structuring projects around key crops threatened by climate change like milk, vanilla, mint, cocoa and sugar.

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Press Contact:

Leona Liu
Director of Communications, Livelihoods
Phone: +33 (0) 623101221/ Email: lliu@livelihoods-venture.com

About Livelihoods
The mission of Livelihoods is to support the efforts of rural communities in developing countries to restore their ecosystems, which ensures their food security, increases their incomes, and improves their living conditions. It offers a collaborative platform that facilitates the exchange of information and resources between the private sector, public institutions, NGOs, and experts. Livelihoods identifies projects with strong environmental, economic and social impact and deploys these programs in tandem with local NGOs to serve rural communities. The first Livelihoods Fund, a carbon investment fund, was created in 2011, and offers investors a tangible return in the form of the highquality certified carbon credits, which they can use to compensate their environmental footprints. The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming is the second fund to be created and offers a unique solution for companies seeking to secure sustainable sourcing. Visit: www.livelihoods.eu

About Danone
With its mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible, Danone is a world leading food company built on four business lines: Fresh Dairy Products, Early Life Nutrition, Waters and Medical Nutrition. Through its dual economic and social project, and its mission, the company aims to create shared value for all its stakeholders: its 100,000 employees, consumers, customers, suppliers and shareholders. Present in over 130 markets, the company generated sales of €21.1 billion in 2014, with more than half in emerging countries.
The company's brand portfolio features international brands (Activia, Actimel, Danette, Danonino, Danio, Evian, Volvic, Nutrilon/Aptamil, Nutricia) and local brands (Prostokvashino, Aqua, Bonafont, Mizone, Blédina, Cow & Gate, Dumex). Listed on Euronext Paris and on the OTCQX market via an ADR (American Depositary Receipt) program, Danone is a component stock of leading social responsibility indexes including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Vigeo and the Ethibel Sustainability Index. Visit: www.danone.com

About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world, including M&M’S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN’S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 75,000 Associates across 73 countries are united by the company’s Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company. Visit: www.mars.com

About Firmenich
Firmenich is the world’s largest privately owned company in the flavor and fragrance industry. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, it has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes and flavors that billions of consumers enjoy each day. Its passion for smell and taste is at the heart of its success. It is renowned for its creativity and innovation, as well as its exceptional understanding of consumer trends. Each year, it invests around 10% of its turnover in R&D, reflecting its continuous desire to understand, share and sublimate the best that nature has
to offer. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.0 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2015. Visit: www.firmenich.com

About Veolia
Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 179,000 employees* worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2014, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 60 million people with wastewater service, produced 52 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 31 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia 
Environment (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.4 billion in 2014. Visit: www.veolia.com
(*) 2014 pro-forma figures, including Dalkia International (100%) and excluding Dalkia France.