To scale up landscape solutions, philanthropy is not enough, says leading humanitarian

23243779180_49a18893e0_zNo one kind of investment can hope to turn around environmental and social problems. Instead, we need to aim for a virtuous circle of sustainable investments, with solutions fertilizing more solutions.

PARIS – Addressing the 5th Global Landscapes Forum, banker, businesswoman and philanthropist Ariane de Rothschild has called for combined charitable, profitable and public investment in sustainable development. “Philanthropy on its own is not enough because there has to be a return, there has to be a profit,” said Baroness de Rothschild. “We have to have experiences that are fertile.”

The Rothschild Group took a long-term view, she said, investing in soil reclamation, sustainable urban development, and agroforestry ventures worth more than US $400 million, over ten- to twenty-year time horizons. “These projects offer local communities an outgrowing, cooperative approach and gives them the tools for their own development.”

Baroness de Rothschild acknowledged timelines or one or two decades are challenging to investors, but said, “Even though the risks are high, it is our responsibility.” What is needed is a “virtuous circle” of sustainable development, with solutions leading to more solutions, including new technologies. She concluded with a call to be proactive and optimistic, saying that not just our quality of life but life itself is at stake.

Read the full transcript of her speech and watch the video here