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Thriving Communities

Thriving Communities

We work to achieve fair and representative participation for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in decision making that impacts them, to ensure their perspectives are heard and their rights are respected.

At the source of every international supply chain are Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, or IPLCs, who are the most impacted by company practices. These impacts may be both negative and positive. At Earthworm, we aim to make sure they are positive by ensuring that Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights are respected, including their rights to decide what development that impacts them looks like.

The significance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

IPLCs customarily own more than half the world’s land, but have legal ownership rights to only 10%. Closing this gap would be a significant step forward for protecting the resources humanity depends on.*
While the world’s 370 million Indigenous people make up <5% of the total human population, they manage or hold tenure over 25% of the world’s land surface and support about 80% of the global biodiversity.**
1.3 billion people, mostly in developing countries, depend on forests for their livelihoods and income. 28% of the total income of households living in or near forests come from forest and environmental income.***

What we do

We support local people to develop Participatory Land Use Plans, including Participatory Conservation Plans for their resources, and to secure tenure rights through our Landscape and supply chain work.

We mobilise diverse social experts with real-world experience to work with and train companies on how to improve relationships with local people and secure their social license to operate through our Centre of Social Excellence (CSE). We do this through processes such as Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC), High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA), Social Impact Assessments (SIAs), Social Management Plans, Community Engagement plans, conflict resolution and grievance mechanisms.

We help companies to monitor what is happening in their supply chain from the perspective of local actors who are on the ground, flagging environmental and social concerns or successes as they occur through the Kumacaya monitoring platform.

Guinean students practice participatory mapping with local people in a Cameroonian village during a field session.

Why we're unique

Earthworm Foundation brings an expansive suite of tools and approaches to progressing respect for IPLC rights in supply chains and landscapes. We work with many of the worlds’ largest buyers of agriculture and forest-linked products who are dedicated to respecting human rights in their supply chains. By leveraging their role in international supply chains, the companies operating in forested regions around the world hear directly from their customers about the importance of respecting IPLC rights.

Additionally, Earthworm Foundation has staff and partners who live and work in the regions where the communities we serve are located. We work hand in hand with IPLCs to understand their priorities, their struggles, and their customary ways of working. We support them to secure recognition of their rights with the companies and government agencies who impact them, and collaborate on monitoring of these impacts.

Our approach

Centre of Social Excellence

Through our Centre of Social Excellence (CSE), we offer best-in-class trainings and resources on Community Relations, Conflict Resolution, Workers’ Rights, Respect for Indigenous Peoples, Social Management Systems, and Multi-stakeholder Land Use Planning, as well as access to a dynamic CSE alumni network.


With Kumacaya, our innovative monitoring programme, we work with local civil society to build trust and to strengthen the capacity of local organisations, individuals and communities to monitor and report on the impacts of international supply chains, and help company and government leaders to have actionable intelligence about the issues local people want them to act on.


Through our Landscape work, we work hand-in-hand with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in forested regions to carry out participative mapping of their lands and resources, develop participatory conservation and land use plans, and secure tenure rights.

Our impact

Nearly 400 CSE Graduates from >20 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America report supporting FPIC processes involving >200,000 community members.

We work with around 145 companies on improving respect for IPLC rights, with each company typically impacting between 5,000 to 1 million community members.

Kumacaya, our participatory monitoring platform, covers >22 million hectares and has received over 3,100 signals on environment, community and labour concerns.


News & Stories

Jun 27, 2022

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