The global livestock sector today faces a significant challenge: How to continue contributing to the development of societies and at the same time contribute to environmental sustainability? While development institutions around the world are making higher levels of commitment to environmental objectives, project teams often lack information and tools to do the same in livestock investment projects on the ground.


Providing this support to teams is the aim of the Investing in Sustainable Livestock (ISL) Guide.


WHAT IS IT? The ISL Guide offers a structured, flexible, web-based approach to “guide” project teams to embed environmental objectives into livestock projects. This inaugural version of the guide focuses on environmental aspects of sustainability and is based on the identification of seven principles of environmental sustainability in livestock production and processing. Drawing on these principles, the guide provides practical advice for six categories of livestock farming systems. The guide also links to resources and tools from partners that provide more detailed guidance on designing, implementing, and measuring environmental interventions in livestock projects. Over time, the guide will be expanded to include recommendations addressing the public health and equity dimensions of sustainability.


WHY DO WE NEED IT? Environmental performance largely depends on production and processing decisions, such as the choice of specie, feeding system or equipment. Consequently, choices made during the design and implementation of investment projects have a major influence on the future environmental impacts of livestock value chains: environmental categories, intensity, and positive/negative nature of the impact. In making these decisions, the options project teams can select from - and the implications of these choices- vary widely according to contexts: from smallholder and pastoralist systems to larger-scale, commercial production. Economic and institutional conditions and climatic zones are also factors.

The guide helps teams navigate this diversity and complexity. Together, investors can address the growing global demand for livestock products while also addressing sustainability. The below figure illustrates the ISL Guide’s theory of change: how a user utilizes the tool with expected results and outcomes.


WHO IS IT FOR? The intended users of the ISL Guide are project designers, managers, and implementers in both public and private sector institutions who are either preparing new projects or implementing existing projects that involve livestock.

ISL Theory of Change
Figure: ISL Guide Theory of Change



WHERE IS IT APPLICABLE? The ISL Guide is relevant globally and includes guidance for each of the world’s major livestock systems and broad livestock operations objectives and interventions. It can be accessed with an internet connection from anywhere in the world and offers downloadable PDFs to be printed and used offline. The below figure illustrates how the ISL Guide can be used at different stages of the project’s cycle.


ISL Project Cycle



Figure: Use of the ISL Guide along the project cycle