As we are an organisation in the scale-up phase, we need to balance between our core activities of supporting our landscape partners, building relationships with our funders and strategic partners as well as building our own internal organisation. In 2019 we dedicated much of our time to build the fundaments of our organisation through developing our strategy, culture and structure. We are very proud of what our team achieved last year internally while keeping up externally.
The great challenge of our time is to restore massively Earths ecosystems and create resilient landscapes. We need to re-establish a new balance between the ecological foundation, human wellbeing and economics.
We believe that integrated landscape management and restoration offers tremendous untapped opportunities for sustainable economic development. We know it is technically and scientifically possible
to restore the natural functions of ecosystems in rural landscapes, while increasing regenerative agricultural productivity, creating jobs, improving social systems and improving the attractiveness of rural landscapes for different generations to live and do business.
Commonland supports changemakers in setting up large-scale holistic landscape partnerships that deliver 4 returns, in 3 zones on a minimum 20-year horizon. We are therefore an enabler working with long-term committed local partners. We believe that this partnership-based approach, also with our funding partners, gives us the greatest chance of reaching landscape restoration at a scale of 100 million hectares by 2040.
We want to realise this through a three-scale approach:
- as an initiator of 8 core landscapes
- as a catalyst for others of 50 landscape programs
- and, as an enabler restoring 1000 landscapes through a platform
Among the biggest challenges we see in sustainably managing and restoring landscapes, are how to inspire people to commit to a shared vision, align all stakeholders on the land and develop new sound business cases. As an impact organisation, we seek to empower strong local partners that know and live in the landscape with sound business cases. They are continuously ‘sensing into’ the landscape, have their ‘boots on the ground’, and they help achieve holistic restoration of landscapes across the world.
We focus on four key areas of activity:
Landscape development and support: We work with local partners, farmers, land users and other stakeholders on the ground, to establish landscape restoration initiatives and generate 4 returns.
Knowledge exchange and innovation: We provide practitioners and professionals with knowledge, tools, communities, networks and training through online and offline offerings enabling them to initiate and sustain their own 4 Returns landscape restoration initiative.
Mobilization of funds (grants and commercial): We mobilize different funding streams for 4 Returns landscape restoration initiatives to give them access to the resources needed to implement landscape-level interventions and setting up and running local 4 Returns businesses.
Building influence: We develop partnerships with and engage businesses, investors, governments, NGOs and practitioners to break through silos and work, invest and think holistically in restoring landscapes to deliver 4 Returns.
In 2019, we also laid the basis to refresh our organisational values.
We had two inspirational internal culture days and focused on our team bonding. During these two days we have worked through a programme to reconnect with colleagues and explore together:
- What connects and drives us in our work
- Our personal and collective work challenges
- What the work culture is and could become
These culture days, together with the organisation design process, also started a process of internal cohesion. The second half of 2019 marked
a transition phase towards the new organisational structure and culture. Our overall co-created and agreed values are:
We empower each other
We take care of each other and our partners by enhancing potential, embracing diversity and valuing performance.
We are honest and compassionate
We treat each other and our partners with respect, openness and curiosity.
We put words into action
We put words into action by being a reliable partner.
The culture development is an ongoing process, and we have monthly check-ins with the whole team to make sure we keep the collaborative effort going of defining and living our values and culture.