RCF expansion supported by the SDG Impact Finance Initiative and Convergence

We are pleased to report that the Responsible Commodities Facility (RCF) is being supported to expand by the SDG Impact Finance Initiative.

The award was made as a result of an open call for proposals by the SDG Impact Finance Initiative (SIFI) with support from Convergence. The aim of the Initiative is to fuel growth and scale by providing catalytic finance to impact funds that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). RCF received the award since it has repeatedly demonstrated its potential to catalyse capital from the private sector. The awards were made to six other initiatives at the same time, which, ‘demonstrated potential to make a meaningful difference in driving progress towards SDG5 – Gender Equality, SDG14 – Life Below Water and/or SDG15 – Life on Land’.

“We are very excited to be working with the SDG Impact Finance Initiative to propel the RCF towards our goal of growing the fund to $1 billion by 2030. This scale would allow the RCF to play a substantive role in supporting verified Deforestation and Conversion free soy supply chains. Our current focus is on engaging with more impact investors from food manufacturing and food service sectors, in order to realise the existing commitments we have from our senior investors.” SIM’s Director of Investor Engagement, Steven Ripley.

“We are excited to support the Responsible Commodities Facility’s innovative approach to sustainable agriculture in Brazil’s Cerrado through our Innovation Window. This program allows for economic development to rhyme with nature conservation. The grant is set to help attract more investment and grow the fund by a factor of almost 10! We look forward to witnessing the substantial environmental and social impacts their innovative efforts will achieve, marking an important step towards sustainable development in the region. We are excited to see the transformative impact of this investment!” Guillaume Bonnel, CEO of the SDG Impact Finance Initiative.

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Eligibility Criteria for Cerrado Programme 1

The following eligibility criteria are required for participation in the Responsible Commodities Facility for Cerrado Programme 1 (see full description here):

Land use

The area of cultivation must not have had any deforestation and conversion of native vegetation since 1 Jan 2020*. Preference will be given to areas converted from abandoned pasture land to soy cultivation after 2008.

Forest Code Compliance

Farm land must be registered with the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR). The farm must contain and maintain areas of native vegetation equivalent to those required for Legal Reserve and Areas of Permanent Protection (APPs) determined by the Forest code or have formally adhered to a Programme of Environmental Regularization (PRA) established by the state environmental agency**. The farm area must not overlap with public protected areas, indigenous lands and other traditional people and community lands (including ‘quilombolas territories’).

Land title

Farmers must have unquestionable right to use the land, be it as land title, land lease agreement, or another legally recognised form of land tenure (e.g., ‘posse’)

Legal Compliance

Farmers must demonstrate that they and their farms do not contravene any environmental or legal requirements, such as embargoes, environmental irregularities, contraventions of the labour legislation (including slave and child labour), non-compliance with the Soy Moratorium (if applicable), and internationally-accepted rules for the use of agrochemicals.

*Farmers occasionally request the conversion of small areas of native vegetation to conduct farm improvements (building storage areas, water reservoirs, etc.). Provided that these areas are small and not for the purpose of expansion of the agricultural area, RCF analyses and considers them eligible. In order to do so, RCF uses the concept of Minimal Level (of deforestation or conversion) as defined by the Accountability Framework Initiative Terms and Definitions, which states “To be considered consistent with no-deforestation or no-conversion commitments, minimal levels must generally meet the following conditions: Not exceed cumulative thresholds that are small both in absolute terms (e.g., no more than a few hectares) and relative to the area in question (e.g., no more than a small proportion of the site).”

**The RCF analyses Forest Code compliance by looking at single farms (defined as the area covered by a CAR) or bundles of individual CARs that, in combination, result in the desired area of native vegetation put under the protective status of the RCF.  This bundling should not be understood as a means of compliance with the Forest Code requirements and is not intended to release the farmer of the regularization process committed under the Forest Code rules (enrolment in the CAR, engagement in a PRA, etc.). In order to differentiate its metrics from those of the Forest Code, the RCF refers to areas of Excess Native Vegetation (ENV) as opposed to Excess Legal Reserve, to avoid confusion with areas legally categorised under the Forest Code.