Reporting framework and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for
Sustainable Land Management
There is increasing concern about the effects of farmland investments. Specifically, this
concern has coalesced around the issue of ‘land grabs’ and the impact of investments on the
well being of local peoples and the environment. In response, the “Principles for Responsible
Investment in Farmland” were launched in September 2011, as general guidelines for
institutional investors, farmland asset owners and managers. Various multilateral
organizations have also developed similar principles and guidelines, e.g. “Principles for
Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) that Respects Rights, Livelihoods and Resources”,
by World Bank, FAO, UNCTAD and IFAD (2010), and FAO’s “Voluntary Guidelines on the
Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National
Food Security” (2012). In addition to these general guidelines and principles, various
‘roundtables’ are also developing guidance related specifically to products such as soy, and
palm oil. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) presented in this document are designed to
support greater adherence to, and adoption of, existing standards and best practice.
A. Purpose of these Key Performance Indicators
The various principles and guidelines developed to date provide the foundation for the
creation of a voluntary reporting system for farmland asset owners and managers. The KPIs
presented in this document are a first step towards operationalizing the various principles
for farmland asset owners and managers through voluntary, consistent, and regular
reporting. These KPIs will also help investors, Governments and other relevant groups
distinguish between asset owners and mangers that promote long term investment and
value creation, versus those promoting short-termism and land speculation. For example,
KPI reports may be used by investors to identify ‘best in class’ managers, by Governments to
evaluate investment applications, and by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to inform
advocacy strategies. In summary, the purpose of these KPIs is: To provide a framework for
regularly and consistently collecting and publishing voluntary information from farmland
asset owners and managers to disclose information on the human and environmental
impacts of their activities to the public, governments, CSOs and potential investors.
B. The future of reporting
There is growing concern about the link between a business’ long-term financial success, and
the impacts of that business on the society and environment within which it operates. This
has occurred through increasing awareness of the main shareholders (the public) about their
role in encouraging good business practices, e.g. in terms of who they choose to manage
their pensions, the products they buy, and the politicians they vote for. This trend has
manifested itself in the form of increasing corporate reporting and disclosure, driven both by
regulation and voluntary initiatives, litigation, the rise in demand for ‘impact’, ‘green’ or
‘sustainable’ investing, and increasing shareholder activism. Recent financial crises are
expected to strengthen this trend for transparency and disclosure. Various government
agencies and shareholder groups are also increasingly encouraging differentiation of
products and managers based not just on financial performance, but also social and
environmental impact. It is expected that over time, there will be a ‘grading system’ of asset
owners and managers that rewards good environmental and social stewardship (‘a race to
the top’), and that these KPIs are a first step in this direction.
Public attention has recently been drawn to the impact of farmland investment on local
communities and the environment. However, good quality information about such
investments is poor or non-existent. In the absence of information, it is difficult to make
well-informed assessments of the situation and to create meaningful disclosure initiatives. A
secondary objective of these KPIs are therefore also to create a foundation for building
information systems that can effectively track and monitor international investor activity
with respect to farmland management and ownership.
C. Characterizing different types of investments and investors in farmland
It is important to distinguish between the different types of investors and ‘private sector’
companies engaged in farmland investment, as well as the different forms of investment
related to farmland. Table 1 categorizes and describes different types of investors, for the
purpose of this reporting framework.
Types of Investments: Investors can purchase the stock of companies that are listed on stock
exchanges, and that can be bought and sold publicly, e.g. Archer-Daniel Midland (ADM).
Authorized investors can also invest in underlying commodities (e.g. wheat) and derivatives,
which have this commodity as the underlying asset. Investors can also engage in ‘private
equity’ whereby they invest in unlisted equities (e.g. buy and operate farmland). These
investment forms are not mutually exclusive. Companies, e.g. food producers, can also
investment directly in land. Direct investments in farmland are typically done through
private equity structures. The extent to which an investment is a ‘land grab’ is closely linked
to the type of investor and investment.
Table 1: Investor classification
D. Who should use the KPIs?
Primary users: Only Primary Users should complete these KPIs. These are organizations that
own and, or, manage farmland:
Fund managers that own and, or, manage farmland
Companies that own and, or, manage farmland
Institutional investors investing directly in farmland (independently or through co-
Secondary users: Organizations that have an interest in farmland asset owners and, or,
Institutional investors that invest in managers and, or, owners of farmland
Banks that lends capital to farmland asset owners or that can promote such
investments to its clients
Retailers that can push companies to disclose information about their supply chains
The public who can influence reporting through their choice of pension fund, and
Governments legislating on reporting, disclosure and listing requirements
III. The Reporting Framework
A. Primary user: What should you know before starting?
Primary users should first complete the ‘Guidelines’ matrix (Table 2) to identify the Sections
that they should answer. The responses are distinguished at the fund level, and at a specific
investment level relevant where responders directly own and, or, manage farmland. Not all
responders should answer all questions, only the sections that are relevant. Note that ESG
refers to ‘Environmental and Social Governance’. For each section, we have indicated
current best practice, and a brief explanation of how the responders should approach the
specific question. Responders should indicate where they already apply best practice. Also:
KPIs should only be completed once a year,
KPIs are to be applied at the asset owner / manager level rather than investment-by-
Revised and updated versions of the KPIs will be released if and when the need arises
B. Guidelines and determining relevant sections
Please use the following questionnaire to determine the reporting requirements that are
relevant for your organization. Where your organization does both, e.g. both invests as a
lead and a minority investor, answer both sections. Color and number indicate reporting
categories. Guidance on how to report on the indicator is provided separately in each
section. Note that it is recommended that you type your answer in this word document.
Table 2: Determining your relevant reporting categories
A Name, position and contact information of This should be the name of the person / people
person responsible for reporting. who are responsible for completing this reporting
framework, as well as the person / people
responsible for ESG / reporting issues within your
B Estimate total assets under management in Indicate approximate size range (US$):
the last reporting year (US$). Indicate • $0 – 50m
approximate percentage of portfolio in • $50m – 100m
direct investments vs. indirect (fund of • $100m - $500mn
funds, listed equities). • Over $500mn
C Describe how your company operates, and For example, if you are an asset manager /
how these guidelines might be relevant. owner, fund-of-funds or minority investor, how
are these guidelines relevant. Fund of funds
might use these to assess and track their
A Are ESG issues considered in fund selection? State if ESG criteria exist, and if they do, describe
If yes, describe them (or provide as an attachment), and describe
how they are applied.
B Are ESG issues integrated in investment State if ESG issues are integrated in investment
management? If yes, describe. Describe any management, and if so, describe how. Describe if
processes for ESG issue escalation. ESG issue escalation processes exist, when they
might be instigated and how issues are
C Where you invest in listed equities or take State if ESG criteria are used to screen listed
minority positions, describe any ESG issues equity or minority private equity positions.
related to selection and management.
A Describe general ESG relevant policies and State if an ESG policy and process exists. Describe
processes procedures regarding manager selection,
monitoring and reporting procedures, staff
training, and Issue escalation and dispute
B Describe general ESG relevant goals and State if goals and indicators exist. If they yes,
performance indicators describe institution-wide goals, specific goals
(e.g. by sectors), KPIs, monitoring frequency and
C Information collection and management Describe processes to collect information from
investment managers, procedures to verify
D Indicate in which region your organization In a table, to be inserted below, list regional
has farmland under management, and per categories, hectares managed, and state if green
region estimate hectares managed. For each or brownfield or both:
region indicate if you have brownfield or
greenfield investments, or both. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) / Sub
Saharan Africa (SSA) / Latin America, Caribbean,
Pacific Islands (LACP) (note that this includes
Mexico, Belize) / North America (NA) / Europe
(EU countries, plus Switzerland and Norway) /
Europe, non-EU/ Asia – Central / Asia – Eastern/
Asia – Northern/ Asia – Southern/ Asia – South
Eastern/ Oceania (Australia, New Zealand,
excludes Pacific Isles)
E Indicate types of commodities your In a table, list commodity category, and indicate
organization is currently invested in. where in the value chain you are involved:
Livestock (meat & milk) / oil seeds / grains / cash
crops / cereals / non-consumables (e.g. rubber /
cotton) / perennials / Aquaculture / tree crops
Please also indicate which categories you are
involved in in the production process: Primary
Production, Processing, Distribution, Retail
F List certifications, principles achieved and E.g. UN PRI, organic certification, any commodity
applied round table certification, Fair Trade, ISO – this
includes all certifications achieved on any form of
operation. Note, you may choose to include this
in the table for the question above (e.g. list
beside the commodity category).
G Indicate how many separate land areas / Categories:
investments that you have majority 0-5
ownership / management of 6-10
A Per region – number or percentage of local Using the table from Section 3 above, indicate
leaseholders (using categories from Section number or percentage of local leaseholders.
B Qualifying process for selecting leaseholders Describe what processes and criteria exist for
/ out growers? identifying and selecting leaseholders / out
C Describe the support provided to contracted Describe the support provided to contracted
leaseholders / out growers? leaseholders / out growers, e.g. credit, type of
training provided, access to agricultural
D Indicate average duration of contract with State average duration of contract (years) and
leaseholder / out grower (years). range.
E Please disclose the general content of a Please provide details, which are non-
lease / out grower contract commercial.
F Please describe steps taken to ensure and State if processes exist and how implementation
promote that the leaseholder / out grower is is monitored.
farming in a sustainable way
II. Human Rights Indicators
A Describe any requirements with respect to For example, refer to the Voluntary Guidelines on
land acquisition and long term concession the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land,
processes of investees and reporting on this. Fisheries and Forests (FAO).
B Existence of ‘good governance’ criteria for For example, refer to the UN Global Compact ten
investees, and reporting requirements (e.g. principles, Equator Principles, IFC Guidelines and
anti-corruption, slave labor) Performance Standards, FAO Voluntary
Guidelines, OECD Guidelines.
C Human resource management reporting For example, refer to the International Labour
required from investees. Standards (ILO)
D Requirements for investees with respect to Are there any requirements to assess and
assessing and monitoring social impacts. monitor social impacts (e.g. workers rights,
access to food, indigenous groups).
A List governance and human rights-related State if specific governance and human rights
issues checked prior to investment, describe issues are checked prior to investment and in the
Due Diligence (DD) process. DD process.
B Indicate which types of counterparties you Indicate if and where you have done business
have engaged with in terms of purchasing / with in terms of access to land: Government,
leasing land from. Communities, Private company (local), Private
C State and describe steps taken to assess and State if your organization has steps to assess and
monitor the local economic impacts of monitor local economic impact of investment,
investment. and if you do, state what factors you monitor and
how often, e.g. refer to Global Reporting
Initiative HR2 and LA1 and 2.
D State and describe procedures to identify State if you have procedures in place to monitor
and monitor local social impacts (positive specific social impacts, and if so describe these.
and negative) of investments. State how Issues could include: child labor, indigenous
issues can be escalated if there is non- peoples rights (e.g. access to cultural sites),
compliance. access to food. Monitoring could include regular
social impact assessments, tracking of local GDP,
employment rates. Management could include
establishment of local dispute resolution
processes, pro-active community programs.
A Describe general Health & Safety (H&S) State if you have any H&S management and
management systems and training applied. training systems implemented, and describe
these. E.g. refer to Global Reporting Initiative
B Describe systems for collecting H&S data, State if you have a system for collecting H&S
monitoring and resolution (e.g. number of data, describe data collected, and frequency of
accidents, fatalities). data collection. Describe processes for dealing
A Do you have a local manager-training State if you have a local manager-training
program? If yes, please describe this program. If so, please attach details (description
program and how candidates are selected. of program, e.g. what they are trained on, over
what period, qualifications achieved, numbers
trained and how candidates are selected).
B Please state if you have any other training or Please indicate where these are part of
educational support programs, and briefly mandated operating requirements, vs. where
describe (e.g. for out-growers, for workers these are part of a Corporate Social
on HIV prevention, scholarship Responsibility (CSR) programs.
A Describe steps taken to survey existing rights State if you have company procedures in place
(e.g. of communities with no formal tenure). for surveying existing rights prior to investment,
and describe these.
B If communities were on the land previously, State if you have any standard company
what, if any, processes are there to engage procedures in place, and describe these (for
them? example, the application of Free, Prior and
C Describe any steps taken prior to investment State if such standard steps exist within your
to identify particular social needs, and if company, if so, describe these, e.g. they could be
activities designed to address these. linked to health, education, women's rights.
A Requirements for investees with respect to State if you have any specific environmental
assessing and monitoring environmental assessment and monitoring requirements of
impacts. investees, and what these are, e.g. for freshwater
use, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions. State
if investees are required to adhere to any
particular standards or principles, e.g. the
roundtables or formal disclosure programs.
B Do you have any investments in animal State if you have any investments in animal
production? If so, requirements for investees producers. If so describe any specific health and
with respect to animal health and welfare. welfare standards they must adhere to, and how
these are monitored.
A List which environmental factors are State which environmental factors are checked
assessed prior to investment, and how? prior to investment, e.g. soils, fresh water,
climatic factors, existence of high value species
B Which environmental factors are monitored State if you monitor any environmental impacts
and how? of your investment, how these are monitored
(metrics) and how regularly these are monitored,
e.g. soil quality, water quality and availability,
climatic factors (greenhouse gas emissions,
sequestration), biodiversity (monitoring of key
species). State if you adhere to any roundtables
or formal disclosure programs, and indicate
which ones (e.g. Roundtable on Responsible Soy).
C Describe steps taken to minimize adverse State if you have steps in place to minimize
environmental impacts. environmental impacts at sites (e.g. set-asides for
key species, sequestration programs).
D If there is any animal production, describe State if you have any animal production
practices with respect to maintaining animal investments, what these are, and how animal
health & welfare. health and welfare is maintained.
A Describe general steps taken to manage State if you have any company-wide policies on
freshwater sources. If there are locations freshwater management. Describe how you
where this is a particular issue, describe identify areas that need special attention, and
specific steps. describe specific steps taken in this context.
B Describe general steps taken to manage soil State if you have any company-wide policies on
quality and prevent degradation. If there are soil quality management. Describe how you
locations where this is a particular issue, identify areas that need special attention, and
describe specific steps. describe specific steps taken in this context.
C Describe your company’s processes to State if you have any company-wide policies on
manage energy use (amount and source). If energy. Describe how you identify areas that
there are locations where this is a particular need special attention, and describe specific steps
issue, describe specific steps. taken in this context.
D Describe your company’s processes to State if you have any company-wide policies on
manage greenhouse gas emissions (amount climate change and Greenhouse Gases (GHGs).
and source). Describe GHG emission Describe how GHG emissions and impacts of
reduction commitments your organization climate change are monitored and managed.
has made. State if you have made any formal commitments
to a low carbon strategy (e.g. Carbon Disclosure
Project, or engagement in a carbon credit
E Describe general steps taken to manage State if you have any company-wide policies on
biodiversity. If there are locations where this biodiversity. Describe how you identify areas that
is a particular issue, describe specific steps. need special attention, and describe specific steps
taken in this context.
F Describe the types of livestock production State if you have any company-wide policies on
your organization is involved with (if any). animal health and welfare. Describe how you
Describe steps taken to ensure animal health identify areas that need special attention, and
and welfare. describe specific steps taken in this context.