Coalition Launched to Scale up Conservation Finance

This announcement promotes a coalition in which Conservation Finance Network and Yale Center for Business and the Environment are participating.

The current conservation finance gap is estimated to be $200-300 billion per year. As public and philanthropic investment in conservation are in decline, private investment has the potential to bridge it. That was the key message conveyed by the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC) launched at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2016 World Conservation Congress on Sept. 2, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The event where the coalition was launched, “Private Finance for Public Good,” was moderated by Inger Andersen, director general of IUCN. It had a range of high-level panelists representing the public, private, government, nonprofit and academic sectors. CPIC’s founding members are Credit Suisse, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), IUCN, and Cornell University. The Conservation Finance Network and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment support the CPIC.

Overarching Goals for the Coalition

An increasing number of investors and financial institutions are recognizing the role that healthy ecosystems play in locations where they operate or where their clients work.

However, private finance is still on the sideline, since there isn’t an adequate pipeline of investable deals for conservation today.

In response, CPIC is trying to understand what the pipeline of opportunity looks like and identify where conservation opportunities can provide cash flows.

CPIC is concentrating on collaboration and cooperation between NGOs, project developers, public stakeholders, private actors, and the corporate and investment communities.

The coalition is seeking to answer the question of how we can move beyond the small current market to the big, robust and mature market that is needed to drive conservation investment forward.

CPIC will function as a hub, building on expertise from its diverse group of partners and contracting services when needed.

Blueprints for Scaling Investments

In order to facilitate scaling of conservation investments, CPIC is creating blueprints to figure out what a successful delivery of investable priority conservation projects would look like.

According to John Tobin-de la Puente, professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, thinking about the right blueprints is key to make these efforts “scalable, repeatable and investable.” The returns have to be financial and environmental, with the environmental side equally or more important.

In order to develop the blueprints, CPIC identified the following five priority investment sectors:

  1. forest landscape restoration
  2. sustainable agricultural intensification
  3. coastal resilience
  4. watershed management
  5. sustainable coastal fisheries

CPIC is also committed to increasing private investment by facilitating the combination of investable projects with transaction expertise. It plans to connect a pipeline of providers with resources that enable investment.

In addition, the coalition will seek to convene and connect potential investors with project delivery parties, such as NGOs, government agencies, businesses and more, to implement the deals that come out of the pipeline and determine the required resources.

CPIC will also continue to communicate important private investments to conservation nonprofits. It will work on integrating the conservation community and the finance industry by sharing information.

Targets for the Near Future

The coalition has delineated a work plan and a path forward. By the end of 2016, it aims to establish working groups and priority areas for individual blueprints; identify background research and white papers to be developed by partners; secure additional commitments of financial and non-financial resources; develop a resourcing strategy and a communication plan; and agree on a governance model.

In five years, CPIC aims to arrive at the next IUCN World Conservation Congress with concrete and effective standards and metrics on how to scale up private finance towards conservation. CPIC encourages interested parties to join the group.

For more information, you can read the CPIC statement of intent here and the Coalition Roadmap for 2016 here.

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