Unexpectedly, Root Capital and Kiva have joined forces to create an unprecedented referral system that will cross-pollinate their sustainable-agriculture-finance programs. Root Capital is routing approved applications in the $10,000-$50,000 range to Kiva for zero-percent-interest financing. Once these businesses grow, they can apply for larger amounts of financing at competitive interest rates from Root Capital.
In September, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed AB 2480 into law. This bill established that “source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure.” The conservation think tank Pacific Forest Trust created the bill together with its author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica).
The Conservation Finance Practitioner Roundtable gathered for its third time this year for two days in Washington, DC on Oct. 13-14. The event focused on four topics: the role of government in the creation of well-conceived policies and incentives, the need to increase collaboration between the private and public sectors, the conditions that are necessary to form and scale up conservation markets, and the current state of the soil carbon market.
REDD+ forest conservation funding for developing nations has dropped precipitously over the last two years, according to a report from Overseas Development Institute and Heinrich Boll Stiftung, “10 Things to Know about Climate Finance in 2016.” But according to Mario Boccucci, head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, “The current level of public-sector donor pledging to forest systems and REDD+ is unprecedented. Germany, United Kingdom, and Norway have pledged $5 billion USD for the period 2016 through 2020.” He said REDD+ is taking off now after a challenging few years of development.
A group of young Chileans is working with Reforestemos Patagonia to reverse environmental damage. After more than a century of colonization of its wild and remote landscapes, Patagonia shows the scars of land abuses emerging among impressive mountain peaks, spectacular glaciers, and immense rivers and forests.
District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has created an innovative municipal bond that covers the downside risk of using green infrastructure to control stormwater runoff. Compared with conventional gray infrastructure, green options have a shorter performance record and are more difficult to model. However, they are often cheaper and offer visible community benefits.
The 2016 Global Landscapes Forum: Climate Action for Sustainable Development event “Unlocking Private Finance in Forests, Sustainable Land Use and Restoration,” held during COP22 in Marrakech on Nov. 16, brought landscape and finance experts together to discuss ways to advance private investment in sustainable use of land and forests.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission issued the world’s first bond certified to the Water Climate Bond Standard last May. Market demand for third-party certified green bonds seems to be rising – and now, municipalities have a model. The $240-million bond will fund various wastewater and stormwater management projects in the commission’s Sewer System Improvement Program.
With the rise of impact investing, there has been a jump in investment strategies promoting sustainable
agriculture. This project attempts to understand the subset of farmland investors employing sustainable
agriculture strategies by focusing on the following questions. Do sustainable farmland investments deliver financial, environmental and social returns? If yes, to what extent? How are those returns realized?
When the quality of land degrades, environmental, social and economic opportunities evaporate. The United Nations is working to prevent land degradation globally. In this interview, Simone Quatrini, Land Degradation Neutrality Fund coordinator and team leader at the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said his program is attempting a worldwide conservation finance effort. There is massive work to be done.
How do investment funds build social and environmental priorities into agricultural financing? Several investment funds showcased their strategies for investing in smallholder value chains at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris on Dec. 5-6. While continuing to seek financial returns, investors are supporting and measuring a broader set of environmental, social, and commodity-based outcomes tied to supply chain sustainability.
As conservation finance gains more traction among mainstream investors, discussions about how to evolve early-stage environmental marketplaces to provide more conventional investment opportunities have taken over the halls of conferences. Integrated capital funds may offer one solution.
There has long been a perceived tradeoff between the economic benefits of agriculture and the environmental benefits of conservation. Large-scale implementation of climate-smart agriculture holds promise to harmonize these objectives by integrating crop production with conservation efforts.
The White House has issued a directive to point federal agencies toward building ecosystem-services valuation into their plans, investments and regulations. This directive, released on Oct. 7, will help agencies synthesize conservation’s ecosystem benefits with its value to society.
A new forum has emerged for discussing key issues in the rapidly growing and evolving conservation finance field: the Conservation Finance Practitioner Roundtable. The group met for the first time on Jan. 20 at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.