How LENs works

Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) bring together businesses, public bodies, NGOs, farmers and land managers, to finance and implement nature-based and agricultural initiatives to improve the health, productivity and resilience of landscapes they all rely on.

In each region, the LENs Operator brings together businesses to identify shared commercial land management needs that would be difficult to tackle within their own supply chain in isolation, such mitigating flood risk; improving the resilience of crop production; meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; protecting nature & increasing biodiversity; improving water quality; and protecting rivers and other bodies of water. Once the needs are identified, businesses then invest jointly, sharing the cost and the risk of investment.

What is needed in a particular geography will go beyond individually-owned boundaries, so implementing measures in isolation from others in the area is unlikely to achieve the required impact. Therefore, farmers and land managers bid together for the investment to implement the solutions across multiple farms/land enterprises that will improve the resilience and health of a local landscape.

This system is established through three steps:

Step 1

Network Opportunity Analysis

This involves a systematic process for understanding which sectors in a region have most at stake as a result of landscape performance, which landscape assets underpin that performance, and where there are cross- overs in interest for different businesses or sectors in the same landscape assets. Importantly, the objective here isn’t about building up a comprehensive picture or plan.  It’s about using data, intelligence and insight to identify the most promising place to start building a network.


Step 2

The Basic Operating Unit – a collaborative value chain

This step focuses on building a first ‘anchor’ value chain.  In essence, the process involves working with ‘demand side’ interests to define a common specification for services; with the ‘supply side’ to define a service proposition; and then working with both to broker a deal. In our experience the supply side can work best when coordinated through ‘supply aggregators’, who help land enterprises to work together as a group and create a joined-up proposition.

Step 3

Growing and formalising the regional network

Building a functioning first anchor value chain creates momentum and interest, and leads naturally to both extending the first value chain – by attracting more customers and suppliers – and building the next. It is at this point that some form of organisational infrastructure, and governance, is required to manage and broker trades in an equitable, transparent, and locally accountable manner.  This is an active area of development for the LENs programme.


Need LENs facts in an easy-to-use format? Then visit our Resources page and download our Factfiles.

Where It's Happening

Following the success of the first LENs in Cumbria which first started trading in 2017, LENs have grown extensively and are now actively trading across the UK and Europe.

How to get involved

Interested in finding out if a LENs is being developed near you, or want to get involved in an existing LENs? Please get in touch.