Commonland had the ambition to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land worldwide by 2040 – 5% of the then 2 billion hectares of degraded land on the planet. Encompassing 1 million hectares, Altiplano Estepario in Southern Spain was one of its successful restoration initiatives. However, in order to scale up the existing projects in Spain and in other parts of the world, Commonland first needed to convince local farmers that it was financially attractive for them to switch from conventional farming to sustainable farming combined with reforestation.

Only after analysing the farmers’ financials could Commonland approach public and private investors with a concrete proposal for long-term funding. What should the financials for the farmers look like? What proposal could Commonland make to investors?

This case is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) case series, developed by Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University. With a focus on SDG 15 (Life on Land), the case is also related to SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). Video learning materials and other resources about these SDGs are available at <www.rsm.nl/sdgs>.


1. Financially evaluate a landscape restoration project on the local level. 2. Strategically analyze a landscape restoration project from investors’ perspective. 3. Identify where the intersection between sustainability – in particular, landscape restoration – and finance lies. 4. Explore ways to incorporate environmental and social gains into current finance models. 5. Understand the concept of systemic change and explore the barriers, risks and opportunities of responsible / impact investment.

Citation Note

Based on field research; 8 pages.

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Case Study