Our approach: the 4 Returns framework

We offer a practical, holistic approach to landscape restoration that everyone can understand and use: the 4 Returns framework. This approach delivers returns to all landscape stakeholders: people, nature, communities and businesses.

Return of inspiration

Planting seeds of hope for a better future and giving PEOPLE a sense of purpose

Social return

Bringing back jobs, education and social connections: the building blocks of thriving COMMUNITIES

Natural return

Restoring biodiversity for healthy and resilient landscapes: reviving NATURE

Financial return

Creating long-term, sustainable income for communities: new BUSINESS models tailored to each landscape

Our offerings

We facilitate landscape restoration from the ground up. From farmers to business owners, policymakers to NGOs, we collaborate with a diverse range of partners to restore landscapes across the world. To make the greatest impact, we are also building a global movement to accelerate holistic landscape restoration via our 4 Returns framework.

Restoring landscapes

We provide landscape practitioners with the tools, funding, knowledge, and networks to restore their landscape for future generations.

Financing restoration

We offer our local partners access to funding opportunities. We help them to create and roll out regenerative business models and carbon methodologies.

Global learning network

We connect people working in landscape restoration worldwide through the 4 Returns learning network – so that knowledge can be exchanged across landscapes. 

Policy and campaigns

We influence policymaking and raise public awareness of the need to scale landscape restoration through advocacy and campaigning. 

Highlighted process: 4 Returns Labs

4 Returns Labs are a series of workshops that bring stakeholders together to learn from and alongside each other. The emphasis is on learning as a mutual experience as all participants explore the underlying causes of land degradation, create a shared vision and formulate action plans for their landscapes together. 4 Returns Labs combine our practical 4 Returns framework with Theory U, an awareness-based method that enables systems change developed by the Presencing Institute.

Our global and regional partnerships

Collaborative action increases our impact, enables us to support more people and organisations, and leads to the system changes that allow landscapes to flourish. In some landscapes, we co-initiate and co-develop projects with our partners in long term landscape partnerships. In other cases, building on the lessons learned from these partnerships, we connect and enhance the existing work of local initiatives through our global and regional partnerships.

4 Returns Products

The 4 Returns framework has sparked regenerative businesses across the world – from South Africa to Spain. These businesses produce healthy products and offer a sustainable income for local communities. They show us that healthy landscapes can provide a foundation for more nature-positive economies. Regenerative practices at farm-scale eventually become regenerative economies at landscape-level – leading to systems change. Find out more about the products made by our landscape partners by clicking the link below.

“When my father died, I really wanted to start to regenerate the land we’ve farmed for generations in Almeria. I am very grateful to Commonland. They put their trust in the local people and were the first to initiate the change we were looking for. They make our work visible and are here to change the system.”

Antonio Maurandi, farmer and board member, AlVelAl Association, Spain

Our impact

Our practical approach – the 4 Returns framework – is being used by people all over the world to restore their local landscape and keep it healthy for generations to come.

>20

countries where we are active

12,000

people have taken our online courses

>78,000

tonnes of CO2 emissions reduced in 2022

>44,000

hectares of land under direct restoration

Latest news

Explore Commonland's latest news, publications and events, and get inspired to restore the Earth.

A Greener Narrative in Africa: Insights from Community-Centered Research

Revitalising degraded land in Africa is a frontline strategy for mitigating climate change both at the local and the global level. Restoration efforts are not only crucial for local communities but pi ...

Turning ruin into regeneration: 10 ways landscape restoration tackles interrelated crises

Phoebe Weston’s November Guardian article 10 ways in which the climate crisis and nature loss are linked demonstrates the interrelation of the biodiversity and climate crises. From destroyed landsca ...

Reuters reports on Wide Open Agriculture Lupin production

At the end of 2023, Reuters covered the work of our partners Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) as pioneers in lupin production in Western Australia. The item presents the potential role of Lupins in the fut ...

Dive into 2024 with our New Year book recommendations

What better way to start the New Year than with a carefully curated list of books designed to deepen your understanding of yourself and the world around you? We’ve got together with the whole Common ...