Our Mission

About the Interlaken Group

The Interlaken Group is an informal network of individual leaders from influential companies, investors, CSOs, government and international organizations. The purpose of the Group is to expand and leverage private sector action to secure community land rights. Together they develop, adopt and disseminate new tools and advance new “pre-competitive” mechanisms to accelerate private sector learning on responsible land rights practices.

Co-chaired by Andy White of RRI and Mark Constantine of the IFC, the Interlaken Group first came together at the 2013 International Conference sponsored by RRI, Helvetas, Oxfam, and IUCN on Scaling-Up Strategies to Secure Community Land and Resource Rights. They have met regularly since. Members are committed to a "race to the top" for companies and their investors to support improved land governance and the land rights of rural people. Minutes are prepared for every meeting following Chatham House Rule and are made publically available.

The Interlaken Group is a self-selected group of strategic actors and is not representative of stakeholders. It complements existing public and representative fora by discussing contentious issues, and developing and encouraging solutions. The first collaborative product of the Interlaken Group is the Land and Forest Rights Guide for companies that have committed to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT). It provides a manageable presentation of the VGGT, along with steps to ensure that a company – both senior leadership and operational teams in the field - acts consistently with highest international standards. This Guide complements others developed for the VGGT, but is unique in that it was produced with the collaboration of, and for, the private sector.

The following individuals have participated in the Interlaken Group process:

  • Andy White (co-chair), Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)
  • Mark Constantine (co-chair), International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Avrim Lazar (facilitator), Independent consultant
  • Duncan Pollard, Nestlé
  • Megan MacInnes, Global Witness
  • Olaf Brugman, Rabobank and Round Table of Responsible Soy
  • Terhi Koipijarvi, Stora Enso
  • Eleni Kyrou, European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • Rachel Cowburn-Walden and Marcela Manubens, Unilever
  • Mark Eckstein, CDC Group
  • David Bledsoe and Darryl Vhugen, Landesa
  • Chris Brett, Olam
  • Iris Krebber, Department for International Development UK
  • Stuart Kyle, Coca-Cola
  • John Nelson, Forest Peoples Programme
  • J. Chris Anderson, Yirri Global (formerly with Rio Tinto)
  • Chris Jochnick and Chloe Christman, Oxfam
  • Lou Munden and Benedick Bowie, The Munden Project
  • Scott Poynton, The Forest Trust
  • Peter Rabley, Omidyar Network
  • Shahila Perumalpillai, Environmental Resources Management
  • Sunrita Sarkar, IFC
  • Annie Thompson, RRI
This Guidance Tool has been developed to provide senior-level and operational teams in leading companies an entry point to understanding the VGGT. The intent is to provide a more manageable presentation of the VGGT, along with steps to take to ensure that a company acts consistently with them.