Allan Savory Wins Prestigious Buckminster Fuller Challenge!

 

We are delighted to congratulate Capital Institute Advisory Board member Allan Savory and his team at the Savory Institute for their well deserved recognition. Savory’s work fighting desertification, building soil, biodiversity and sustainable human well-being is a story to behold.

I would like to use this occasion to connect Allan’s work to the work of Capital Institute. A couple years ago, a paper I wrote on the relevance of E. F. Schumacher in the 21st century found its way to Allan’s desk in Zimbabwe. It resulted in a series of communications, a visit to NY, and earlier this year, together with my partner Armonia, LLC, the creation of a new business implementing Savory’s holistic management practices on 14,000 acres in western South Dakota. Our goal is to scale this effort toward a million acres around the world in the years ahead.

Holistic management is relevant to Capital Institute on at least two levels. First, Allan and his team have perfected over the past forty years, an ingenious practice to manage grasslands holistically, a beautiful example of biomimicry, building permanent wealth in the process. Not simply the money kind of wealth, but wealth in healthy ecosystems, communities and families that otherwise were on a path to collapse, like so many dry, brittle grassland habitats that are turning slowly, but determinately into desert. We believe these practices that build soil, sequester carbon, and enhance grass productivity and therefore ranch profitability in the process represent the foundation of an attractive hard asset investment opportunity across much of the neglected grasslands of the world. Note: grasslands comprise over half of the land based planet, and their degradation is one of the leading sources of climate change while proper care turns them into a massive carbon sink as nature designed them to be.

So this is a classic, high impact, triple bottom line business opportunity. It directly responds to our question, “what is the purpose of capital?” As we face increasing social and ecological stress, stewards of capital must think systemically about the responsibility that comes with capital. This is a complex topic, central to our work, and a topic we will be exploring in depth. But rather than simply think about it, we try to learn through practical implementation of theories on the ground, in this case literally on the ground.