A systemic approach to innovation in land use and nature-based solutions

Daniel Zimmer, Director of Sustainable Land Use at EIT Climate-KIC, shares his view below on how systemic thinking should be centred within innovation on land use and nature-based solutions. 

Systems innovation is an integrated and coordinated intervention in economic, political and social systems through a portfolio of connected innovation experiments. In a way, it reproduces the way each part of a natural ecosystem works in perfect coordination with each other, even through perpetual change. So where better to test this concept than in innovation related to land use and nature-based solutions?

As stressed in the session organised by EIT Climate-KIC at COP24 in Katowice, land use and nature-based solutions represent a large part of the answer to climate change. Land use solutions also feature heavily in most Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the post-2020 climate actions at the heart of the Paris Agreement that each signatory country is required to prepare and communicate. Yet, these solutions have remained, until now, under-represented in the mainstream debate on climate change. The number of concrete actions in land use and nature-based solutions, that are currently implemented and visible to the public eye, are still too small. 

But 2018 has seen a significant development: Land use and nature-based solutions are becoming increasingly high-profile and their role in addressing climate change started to be recognised more broadly, with articles on the topic published in major media outlets such as Le Monde and the New York Times

To live up to these new expectations, EIT Climate-KIC has decided to develop a more coherent portfolio of solutions.  We are convinced that bringing together technological innovation, new business models, and behavioural and regulatory changes, has the potential to induce the transformation of rural landscapes at scale. Only a portfolio of deliberate and connected innovation experiments can generate the wide-ranging transformations which are required to tap our forest’s and soil potential for mitigation, adaptation and carbon sequestration. 

To reforest degraded landscapes and increase trees and soil’s natural capacity to store carbon, one has to work with the organisations and NGOs willing to protect remarkable landscapes threatened by deforestation in Europe and beyond. But a systemic approach goes beyond this, it involves whole value chains which often contribute to the economic development of smallholder farmers and foresters, and it facilitates the selection and implementation of sustainable and climate-smart agricultural practices.

This level of action requires profound and disruptive transformation in economies and societies. It can only work through innovation at the systems level – or systems innovation for short. EIT Climate-KIC currently manages a portfolio of 41 programmes, or projects, in sustainable land use. These programmes combine in a system where integrated landscapes connect value chains to the external world. For our partners from the private sector, this means that protecting landscapes is a way to secure the sustainability of their supply chain. Through EIT Climate-KIC and its partners’ combined efforts, small farmers at the foundation of value-chains of land-based commodities can increase their resilience, notably through financial engineering.   

Such financial tools have the potential to de-risk climate related hazards for the benefit of farmers in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Coupled with automation of monitoring and predictions of climate impact, providing data for index-based microinsurance, this becomes a fantastic tool where all sides can win. If one adds to this mix the promotion of sustainable, yet innovation-based farming practices that will help trap carbon in our forests and crops, you will manage to create real, scalable solutions to tackle climate change.

Such a portfolio approach has now entered its testing phase, and it starts with a new selection process that complements the assessment by external experts of the submitted projects, which will receive EIT funding in 2019.

Beyond this initial step, our intention is to develop with our partners a common view of the systems we wish to transform. This will also be used to assess the relevance and potential of all activities . This portfolio approach will progressively become an open and transparent process that will strengthen our community.

Daniel Zimmer is Director Sustainable Land Use at EIT Climate-KIC.

 
Location
Related Focus Area
Sustainable Land Use
Related Goal
Goal 6: Nurture forests in integrated landscapes
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?

On 22 and 23 April, the first conference dedicated...

New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?
In The News
Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase

EIT Climate-KIC supported Estonian start-up Sympower has raised €5.2...

Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list

Twelve entrepreneurs from across the EIT community have been...

Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list
In The News
These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe

Google, in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, launched the €10...

These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe
In The News
New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups

Found by us, funded by you, a new start-up...

New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups
In The News
From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching ...

It’s a beverage revolution: Healthy hydration while fooling your...

From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching in new markets
In The News
#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enabl...

As part of the fifth SDG Global festival of...

#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enablers
In The News
New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is...

New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education
In The News
Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik

“We are preparing plans for the next decade. Mentality is...

Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik
In The News
Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience

The new Urban Action Kit, launched by the International...

Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience
In The News
Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists

The DigiEduHack, supported by EIT Climate-KIC as well as...

Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists
In The News
GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 

GreeMko (for Green Management Technology), a Spanish start-up that...

GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 
In The News
What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?

EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop addressed the...

What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?
In The News
Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change

Starting today, the seventh edition of the global green...

Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change
In The News
Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable...

Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution
In The News
Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation

The European Commission released the new EU Climate Adaptation...

Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation...

EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change
In The News
Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities

A labyrinth of cobblestone streets, dimly lit and presided...

Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities
In The News
Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neig...

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven...

Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood
In The News
Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience

Start Park, a project led by citizens from Florence,...

Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience
In The News
New accelerator programme geared towards systemic change secures key partners

Following its Open Call, the New Accelerator programme has...

New accelerator programme geared towards systemic change secures key partners
In The News
New videogame builds climate awareness among players

Change Game, a videogame financed by EIT Climate-KIC and...

New videogame builds climate awareness among players
In The News
Organic and homemade food brought to the dining rooms of large corporations

Carlota Mateos and Juan Vila, co-founders of PlenEat have...

Organic and homemade food brought to the dining rooms of large corporations
In The News
Climeworks added to Microsoft’s climate portfolio

EIT Climate-KIC supported Climeworks, a carbon capture technology, is...

Climeworks added to Microsoft’s climate portfolio
In The News
Circular Slovenia named in 100 Climate Policy Breakthroughs

The peer-to-peer learning platform for governments, Apolitical, included EIT...

Circular Slovenia named in 100 Climate Policy Breakthroughs
In The News
New tool uses satellite imagery to accelerate sustainable agriculture

Supported by EIT Climate-KIC and developed by its partner...

New tool uses satellite imagery to accelerate sustainable agriculture
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021

EIT Climate-KIC will be taking part in the Climate...

EIT Climate-KIC at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021
In The News
Green Invest from Stuttgart and Start Park from Florence win Climathon Awards ...

A total of 140 teams of citizen finalists applied...

Green Invest from Stuttgart and Start Park from Florence win Climathon Awards 2020
In The News
Biden’s Opportunity for Reinventing Climate Innovation

Joe Biden will be sworn in today as 46th...

Biden’s Opportunity for Reinventing Climate Innovation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC’s Open Accelerator: collaboration, not competition

It is no secret that to tackle climate change...

EIT Climate-KIC’s Open Accelerator: collaboration, not competition