Shared Ambition For Sustainability

The Duchy of Lancaster is inviting farming tenants across of its rural estates to commit to a shared ambition for sustainability by signing up to individual Memoranda of Understanding developed in partnership with each holding.

The initiative is the latest in a series of measures introduced over the past 24 months to keep tenants informed about the latest thinking in regenerative farming practices and encourage them to embrace sustainable farming practices wherever possible. Previous initiatives have included a comprehensive biodiversity audit of each holding, invitations to a series of soil management workshops, grant funding for capital equipment, membership of a practical knowledge-sharing forum and even copies of inspirational books and media articles.

Members of the Duchy’s rural team will now work with individual farmers to identify and agree specific content which will be incorporated into a tailored version for their holding.

To further reinforce the principle and drive progress across all areas of the business in delivering the Duchy’s 12-point sustainability plan, the Duchy has engaged Dr. David Cope, from 600 strategy Ltd, to support the team on a part-time basis. David is a strategy and change consultant whose speciality is sustainability. Since gaining his MSc in Environmental Management Systems and PhD in Ecology, his career has moved towards organisational strategy and change, but never strayed far from the environment. He was a Senior Civil Servant at DEFRA and served as Director of Strategy and External Affairs at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In 2019 he set up his consultancy, 600 strategy Ltd, working with clients such as the Natural History Museum, the Country Land and Business Association and the Duchy of Cornwall. During this time, David also worked for UK100, where he set up the Countryside Climate Network, a network for rural Local Authorities with ambitious goals around net zero to help them tackle the distinctive issues they face.

Commenting on David’s appointment and the draft Memorandum of Understanding, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson CVO said: “Sustainability has been a consistent area of focus for the Duchy of Lancaster for many years and we are now at the stage where we are making measurable progress against our 12-point plan. However, we need to do more and we need to make quicker progress towards the goals we have set ourselves. The combination of these new partnership agreements and David’s leadership and experience will help us to achieve our shared ambition of ensuring that the Duchy’s estates continue to survive and thrive in harmony with nature for generations to come.”