Hacienda San Jose (HSJ) is an innovative cattle business that cultivates and disseminates superior genetics and beef production in the Vichada region of the eastern Colombian plains. On 31 December 2021, &Green and HSJ concluded a COP 30 Billion (approximately USD 7.7 Million at the time of execution) 12-year long-term senior secured loan to support HSJ’s ambition to disrupt the cattle sector in Colombia and become the market leader in sustainable deforestation-free beef production. As of 31 December 2022 HSJ has access to a USD 7.7 Million facility as they unwound the hedge provided the previous year.

This transaction marks &Green’s first investment in Colombia and in a sector which is associated with poor land management, deforestation, and inefficient farming practices across the country, including in and around the Amazon biome.

Hacienda San Jose (HSJ)
E&S Risk Category
&Green Investment
USD 7.7 Million
Investment Term
12 years
Financial Structure
&Green provided a 12-year long term senior secured loan
Impact Targets
Up to 180,000 hectares of land sustainably intensified
Up to 27,000 hectares of forest protected and restored
Knowledge sharing with other farmers, employment creation, community engagement


&Green’s investment in HSJ aims to help transform the Colombian cattle sector, which is characterized by inefficient management practices, and associated with deforestation and ecosystem degradation. HSJ was operating on approximately 8,800 hectares of land at the time of investment from &Green, and during the period of the loan, the business intends to expand to have influence over up to 180,000 hectares of productive land.

HSJ’s expansion strategy involves acquiring land, implementing its sustainable development model, and then selling productive land in approximately 1,000-hectare units to private buyers. Buyers must commit to long-term operational and sustainability management under HSJ’s guidance.

HSJ commits to protect all forest areas under its current and future management; an area of up to 13,500 hectares of gallery forest. In addition, HSJ will set aside an equal number of hectares for forest restoration, promoting the natural regeneration of savannah next to the gallery forest. This allows for forest regrowth and serves as a buffer for the conservation areas.

HSJ will catalyze the development of the cattle sector in Colombia by expanding its sustainable intensification model, protecting and restoring forest, and fostering social inclusion and knowledge sharing.

HSJ’s production blueprint exemplifies how regenerative agriculture practices can be adopted in &Green’s investments:

Cattle ranching in Colombia’s Vichada region typically follows an extensive and low-intensity management approach, on large areas of land, with seasonal burning practices. This has led to detrimental effects on soil health, water management, and CO2 emissions from savannah grasslands. Data on fire incidents is alarming, with every hectare of grassland experiencing repeated burning, hindering the natural progression of the ecosystem. Over the past decade, more than 70,000 fires have been recorded in the project landscape.

HSJ’s Landscape Protection Plan, targets, developed together with &Green, include:

See how regenerative agriculture practices were adopted on Roncador’s farm:


&Green supported HSJ using the Technical Assistance (TA) budget to support its (prospective) clients design the Land Acquisition Tool (LAT) in collaboration with three organisations: Climate Focus, GANSO, and AMPLO.

Climate Focus is an international green advisory company who partnered with International Center for Tropical Agriculture CIAT to form GANSO . GANSO focuses on transforming degraded pastures into sustainable landscapes. AMPLO is a Colombian Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consultancy who contributed to the LAT social component by conducting a social risk assessment and stakeholder mapping exercise.

The LAT is designed to guide HSJ in its land acquisition processes. The LAT integrates the IFC PS , Aval GANSO requirements, and additional social safeguards, including screening for connections to armed groups, into a comprehensive checklist. LAT checks are made in a two-step process: an initial GO/NO GO on a desktop quick-screen which requires minimal resources, followed by a more thorough investment evaluation process. The evaluation requires site visits, stakeholder consultations, and a cost/benefit analysis to inform HSJ’s acquisition decision. The LAT tool has been integrated into HSJ’s existing systems, covering operational, financial, and legal checks.


ESMS Development

HSJ has worked in 2022 to develop an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) that enables the company to scale up its sustainable management as they acquire new land. Key ESMS building blocks include a grievance mechanism, integrated pest management programme, biodiversity monitoring plan, and an Emergency Preparedness and Response System. These items are key for IFC PS compliance.

Land acquisition

HSJ has ambitious expansion plans to acquire land, implementing its sustainable development model, and then selling productive land in approximately 1,000-hectare units to private buyers. In 2022, HSJ acquired four new properties in Nueva Antioquia, totalling 4,800 hectares. The Land Acquisition Tool (LAT) was used to assess each property to ensure that the land is situated within the agricultural frontier and outside protected natural parks, RAMSAR zones, and indigenous reservations. Over 5.5% of the properties are covered with gallery forest which will be set aside for protection. An additional 585 hectares (12%) will be allocated for restoration.

Sustainable livestock production certification

HSJ committed to certify their operations against a credible independent certification standard. They adopted the Aval GANSO certificate, which is a Colombian certification programme developed by GANSO in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Aval GANSO aims to convert degraded pastures and soils into sustainable and productive landscapes. The certification offers a guarantee to consumers of zero-deforestation products in line with international sustainability requirements. HSJ achieved the highest, ‘advanced’, level of GANSO certification in 2022, and has sold their first Aval GANSO-certified beef to Colombia’s largest supermarket chain.

Financial Update

During 4Q 23, the HSJ transaction was restructured from being denominated in Colombian pesos to a US Dollar loan, and from bearing a floating interest rate to a fixed interest rate. The COP 18 Billion already disbursed was converted into a loan of USD 3.7 Million and the undrawn facility was converted to an amount of USD 4 Million. The cross currency interest rate swap (CCIRS) was terminated at the same time.

2022 was an exciting year for HSJ; we were able to sell our first cow-calf farms, and bring in new investors for our sustainable farming model. These are key steps towards realizing our expansion strategy, and achieving the ambitious impact targets we set out in our Landscape Protection Plan.



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