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How to invest responsibly in land?

Without knowledge of the local context, investing responsibly in land & agriculture is challenging.  Tools and guidelines have been developed to guide private sector actors on how to invest responsibly and how to take proper account of legitimate community land rights, but there is no substitute for practical experience of dealing with tenure issues and the challenges on the ground. This page provides an overview of lessons learned from recent responsible land investment pilot projects. 

Highlighted Tools & Resources

Key thematic lessons from practical experience

The LEGEND Challenge Fund supported a set of pilot projects with civil society and business partners in 2016-2019 to test responsible approaches to agricultural land investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more about the eight key lessons derived from these and other pilot projects:


Proper attention to Land Tenure in Investment Planning & Due Diligence

Fit for purpose tools in due diligence & risk assessments in planning stages to avoid negative impacts.


Recognize & Document Legitimate Tenure Rights

Tools & approaches to map & secure informal rights in the absence of comprehensive government systems.


Establish Fair & Open Community Consultation and Negotiations

Reaching agreement with people directly affected to avoid & resolve land conflicts & gain social licence to operate.


Support Communities to Ensure a Level Playing Field

Legal & other support to address power imbalances with communities and companies.


Mainstream Land in Company Sustainability Practices

Ensuring a focus on land tenure in company operations through clear internal incentives and procedures.


Develop Adaptive & Inclusive Business Models and Plans

Adjust plans to reduce scale of land acquisitions & invest in community-based enterprise and smallholder partnerships as alternatives.


Strengthen Land Governance At Scale through Stakeholder Collaboration

Multi-stakeholder approaches to include all groups, safeguard the environment & access climate & landscape finance for new opportunities.


Improve Company Access to Skills & Services to Address Land Rights

The need for funding mechanisms to enable collaboration to understand & address land issues and engage with local communities.


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Land & Investments on the Land Portal

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Responsible Land Based Investment Navigator
Private sector tool to guide through manuals and best practices on responsible land-based investments


Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND)


Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

University of Greenwich - Natural Resources Institute


UKaid from the British people


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