Timing can make or break a conservation deal. Land trusts and other conservation groups often work with motivated sellers who must divest property by a certain date or are otherwise eager to close deals quickly. The organizations must either gather the required financing on the sellers’ short timelines or forego the projects. When organizations are short on cash but deem projects too important to ignore, conservation loans can bridge the financing gaps.
There is a high level of uncertainty about federal funding for land conservation over the next four years. The recently passed 2017 budget has kept many conservation-related programs and funds intact, but 2018 may be a different story. The administration’s proposed budget calls for broad cuts to conservation funding, but Congress makes the final decision on appropriations.
Consider this: The $400 billion in private environmental finance needed annually, according to Credit Suisse and McKinsey & Company, is eight times even the more generous current estimates of conservation finance. Practitioners and experts gathered last month at the New York City office of Credit Suisse to explore how to bridge that gap and meet the conservation objectives of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Conservation Finance Network cohosted the event. Here are some key insights from the conversation.
Investors and bond issuers must improve communication in order to meet each other’s needs as the green-bond market expands rapidly. Green bonds have the potential to enhance transparency, mitigate risk, and stimulate the market toward reaching a low-carbon economy. The green-bond market is estimated to total $150 billion in 2017. This is an 85 percent increase above 2016, according to data from Climate Bonds Initiative.
Dramatic increases in investment in conservation over the last decade are the focus of a new report authored by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, “State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016.” The report sheds light on the many dimensions that drove growth between 2004 and 2015.
The most recent A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference, which sought to advance science, practice, and decision-making around ecosystem services, exhibited a variety of examples of collaboration between science and finance. The conference was held Dec. 5 - 9 in Jacksonville, Florida.
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.
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.
On Jan. 20, the day before Credit Suisse’s 2016 Conservation Finance Conference, Credit Suisse and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment published a new report aiming to catalyze the expansion of conservation finance. The field has grown substantially in the past two years, according to reports from Credit Suisse.
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.
We are pleased to announce that the Conservation Finance Network’s 2016 Boot Camp training course is being held in partnership with the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University from June 6 to 10.
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.