Additional resources to inform company efforts to support the VGGT

Several international development agencies have been working to secure land rights of poor households and communities over the past several decades. 16 Some of these organizations are now translating their experience into guidance notes for companies and investors interested in responsible land-based investments. These guidance notes contain useful information for a company’s operations and sustainability teams. For example, the USAID booklet provides detailed guidance on the procedures that land tenure experts might follow to understand tenure dynamics in a country and an investment site, including information on mapping and participatory processes. The AFD handbook, which is part of the French government’s commitments to the VGGT, provides guidance for investment officers evaluating agribusiness projects. FAO has stewarded the VGGT process and is now producing several guidance notes for difference stakeholder groups, including investors.

Additionally, the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability are frequently used by companies to guide their project design and consultations with host communities (particularly Performance Standards 1, 5, 6 and 7). Though the Performance Standards are not explicitly linked to the VGGT, the standards can provide useful information beyond the scope of this Guide. 17

Companies can use these guides as a source of information and ideas to promote better tenure governance and improved smallholder agriculture in the areas that they operate. In addition, it must be emphasized that no guide can replace the official VGGT text. All companies with operations impacting land and forest rights should be aware of the complete VGGT and their responsibilities thereunder.

Guide Highlights
USAID Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment Detailed questions to ask during due diligence, consultation, and contract negotiation phases. Organized chronologically along the project lifecycle.
AFD Guide to Due Diligence of Agribusiness Projects That Affect Land and Property Rights Focuses on contracts between companies, the state, and communities. Identifies “red lines” that would require a project to stop. The French government now requires any company receiving French public funding, in the form of concessional lending for example, to uphold the VGGT. a
FAO VGGT Implementation Guides (gender, forestry, Indigenous Peoples, fisheries) available now. Private sector guide available in early 2016.
IFC Performance Standards Trusted by many companies and governments. Rather than a guide, the Performance Standards present criteria to evaluate a proposed project’s environmental and social suitability. Particularly strong on the matters of displacement, Indigenous Peoples, and bio-diversity.
New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Will be published in mid-2015.