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Farmland sustainability report | 2019

Executive message

We are pleased to present this annual report, which details Nuveen’s progress in achieving a range of sustainability goals across our farmland assets globally.

The report complements a companion publication that offers a high-level overview of our work: How we invest in farmland: An introduction to Nuveen’s global agricultural sustainability approach. Taken together, the documents intend to provide our investors and other stakeholders with clear insight into what we do and how we do it.

Nuveen is committed to pursuing the UN- backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Farmland Guidelines, which we developed in 2011 in partnership with other farmland investors. Since 2012, we have been tracking our progress in this effort by measuring 12 Key Performance Metrics from year to year. We are pleased to have achieved results of 95% or higher on nearly every KPI.

Building upon our pioneering work on meeting the PRI Farmland Guidelines, we are expanding our depth of reporting on Nuveen’s advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which were adopted by United Nations member states in 2015. This year’s report features a new Logic Model that details how our sustainability practices impact specific SDGs, and sets the stage for numerous articles that explore how we measure and manage the positive and potential negative impacts of our investment and farmland management activities.

In the pages of this report, you will discover how our sustainability work takes shape in these areas:

  • Deforestation prevention – our Zero Deforestation Policy is part of our broad-based commitment to preventing deforestation in the delicate biomes of Brazil. 
  • Water and soil health – the manifold efforts of our staff and farm operators to encourage both sustainability and productivity goals come to life in stories about two innovative farm operators in Australia and a vital effort to protect threatened fish species in California. 
  • Worker health and safety – our focus on the well-being of farm workers is captured in a story about efforts to address environmental risks in Poland. 
  • Making an impact – our enduring commitment to investing responsibly is revealed in stories about the exciting momentum of two sponsored Nuffield Scholars and efforts in Brazil to engage people in rural communities and to preserve a historical landmark. We also highlight efforts to advance inclusive and productive work through our ongoing program that engages workers with disabilities in the western U.S. 

We hope you enjoy this in-depth look at our extensive farmland sustainability efforts. All of us at Nuveen and Westchester will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to drive productivity, transparency and sustainability in our operations and investments, now and in the future.

If you would like to discuss the content of this report, please contact Nuveen’s Head of Real Assets Sustainability, Sanaz Raczynski and Westchester’s Sustainability Director, André Chaves.

Sustainability by the numbers
  • SDGs targeted
  • 16 Scholars supported through individual or multi-sponsor international leadership programs 
  • 900K Acres carrying third-party sustainability certification

Snapshot of Nuveen farmland portfolio

At the end of 2018, Nuveen managed more than 2.1 million gross acres of globally diversified farmland with properties ranging in size from seven acres to 50,000 acres. During the year, Nuveen acquired more than 205,000 acres of farmland across Australia, Brazil, Chile, Poland, and the United States.

We continue to implement our core investment strategy, which targets the acquisition of high-quality, row crop-producing assets in the world’s principal grain-, sugarcane-, oil seed- and cotton- exporting regions. We also seek additional diversification through investment in farmland for specialty row crops, such as berries and vegetables, and permanent crop investments in premier growing regions, such as wine grapes, tree nuts, and tree fruits.

As we expand our portfolio into new geographies, we apply our existing pre- and post-acquisition due diligence and management procedures in accordance with each country’s laws and practices, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. We treat new geographies with the same care and scrutiny as our core geographies and expect the same level of performance and adherence to our guidelines as we do from our existing properties.

Check out Nuveen’s interactive farmland map.


agricultural acreage


farmland holdings
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Risks and other important considerations

Farmland investments are less developed, more illiquid and less transparent compared to traditional asset classes. Investments will be subject to risks generally associated with the ownership of real estate-related assets and foreign investing, including changes in economic conditions, currency values, environmental risks, the cost of and ability to obtain insurance and risks related to leasing of properties.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Investment involves risk, including loss of principal. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Changes in the rates of exchange between currencies may cause the value of investments to fluctuate.

This material is provided for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation in any jurisdiction. Moreover, it neither constitutes an offer to enter into an investment agreement with the recipient of this document nor an invitation to respond to it by making an offer to enter into an investment agreement.

This material may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include, among other things, projections, forecasts, estimates of yields or returns, and proposed or expected portfolio composition. Moreover, certain historical performance information of other investment vehicles or composite accounts managed by Nuveen has been included in this material and such performance information is presented by way of example only. No representation is made that the performance presented will be achieved by any Nuveen funds, or that every assumption made in achieving, calculating or presenting either the forward-looking information or the historical performance information herein has been considered or stated in preparing this material. Any changes to assumptions that may have been made in preparing this material could have a material impact on the investment returns that are presented herein by way of example.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources deemed by Nuveen to be reliable, and not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. Company name is only for explanatory purposes and does not constitute as investment advice and is subject to change. Any investments named within this material may not necessarily be held in any funds/accounts managed by Nuveen. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any company in the Nuveen Group or any part thereof and no assurances are made as to their accuracy.

Nuveen Asset Management, LLC is an indirect subsidiary of Nuveen, LLC and a U.S.-based investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who has not represented and will not represent that it is otherwise registered with any other regulator or regulatory body. This information should not be considered a solicitation or an offer to purchase shares of any Nuveen Asset Management sponsored or advised product or a solicitation or an offer by Nuveen Asset Management to provide any services in any jurisdiction. This document is not a prospectus and does not constitute an offer to the public. No advertising of investment services or securities is intended to have taken effect through the provision of this document. These materials are intended for informational and discussion purposes only. To the extent that these materials are circulated outside the United States, it is intended that they be circulated only to persons to whom they may lawfully be distributed and any recipient of these materials outside the United States should inform themselves about and observe any applicable legal requirements. Persons who do not fall within such descriptions may not act upon the information contained in these materials. The information presented in these materials is believed to be materially correct as of the date hereof, but no representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any of this information.

Nothing set out in these materials is or shall be relied upon as a promise or representation as to the past or future.

This material is presented for informational purposes only and may change in response to changing economic and market conditions. This material is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Financial professionals should independently evaluate the risks associated with products or services and exercise independent judgment with respect to their clients. Certain products and services may not be available to all entities or persons. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC.

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