Pacific Community Ventures spent much of the summer working with Nuveen, a global investment manager and subsidiary of TIAA, in developing their annual Farmland Sustainability Report. As the world population and global consumption continue to rise at a rapid pace, Nuveen understands that there is an urgent need for more efficient agriculture to meet increasing demand for food, animal feed, clothing fiber, biofuels, and other farm-related products. Nuveen’s long-term goal is to encourage good environmental sustainability practices among farmers.
Nuveen’s approach to farmland investing is directly aligned with the company’s overall investment portfolio. They consider themselves to be long-term investors helping to create successful financial outcomes for their clients. Through its farmland investments, Nuveen is committed to farmland preservation in the long term. This includes conserving water, minimizing chemical use and nutrient runoff, and respecting the rights of their tenants, partners, and local communities. Nuveen’s approach to managing its farmland assets includes the following, which is further outlined in their report How We Invest in Farmland:
- Acquire farmland assets generally with long-term investment horizons
- Emphasize the purchase of existing agricultural land rather than converting virgin land or forest into farmland
- Respect local laws and best practices for protecting sensitive environmental or cultural areas
- Diversify land holdings by geography, climate factors, crop types and agricultural markets
- Apply capital and technology to increase productivity and minimize environmental impact
In 2011, Nuveen worked with other farmland investors to develop the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Farmland Guidelines. These guidelines include 12 key performance metrics, which Nuveen has been tracking since 2012; Nuveen has also committed to deepening its reporting on progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To that end, Nuveen developed and released its 2019 Farmland Sustainability Report this summer.
This year’s report highlights Nuveen’s alignment with the SDGs, as well as both the positive and negative impacts of their farmland activities. In addition, it outlines the impacts of Nuveen’s Zero Deforestation Policy in Brazil, water and soil health as it relates to farm operators in Australia and protection of threatened species of fish in California, and worker health and safety through a case study in Poland.
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