In our first episode of "Voices of Conservation Finance," we are excited to welcome Patrick Holmes, a Conservation Finance Network advisory committee member who shared stories of how his own professional development dovetailed with the expansion of the conservation finance field.
Simply put, business in its current form is a disaster for the environment. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine businesses that make money by improving the land and communities around them. Imagine an economy that rewards those who nourish and restore the environment, instead of those who plunder and degrade it. What would those businesses look like?
LegacyWorks Group was founded to help donors and investors who are interested in achieving community and conservation goals to mobilize their capital in highly collaborative, impactful ways. In this interview, LegacyWorks Group’s founder, Carl Palmer, discusses the mindsets that allow philanthropic giving and impact investing to expand their horizons, accelerate their results, and reach broader goals.
While the field of resiliency investing is continuing to innovate, emerge and mature, it was incredibly clear from these conference participants and field practitioners that we covered measurable and significant ground since we gathered one year ago.
From its present stance as the only nation that is not a member of the Paris Agreement to its reduction of public lands protections at the federal and state level, the United States appears be failing to lead on environmental causes when compared to other developed nations. But while voters elected the officials who implemented many of these policies, the public seems to care deeply about conservation, as shown by popular voting behaviors for ballot measures.
Forward-thinking nonprofits and environmentally driven investors are increasingly using blueprint reports to help develop conservation finance markets. Blueprints are in-depth proposals designed to provide investors and stakeholders with creative ways to source cash flows and investment opportunities within key conservation areas.
As more investors are investing in “green” sectors like sustainable agriculture, the lack of traction of small-scale conservation initiatives is unfortunate. After all, food security and livelihood creation are at the core of the agriculture sector’s influence on developing economies.
In addition to benefiting the environment, on-farm conservation practices tend to create economic value for farmers and surrounding communities. Anecdotal examples of these benefits abound – fertilizer efficiency saves farmers money, no-till agriculture lowers labor and fuel expenses, and buffers and wetlands reduce downstream flood risks and drinking-water-treatment costs.
This article by Story Clark and Maki Tazawa is part of the Conservation Finance Network Toolkit, a resource designed for professionals who want to learn or communicate about the industry. Voluntary surcharge programs have raised millions of dollars for local land preservation. They are a financial tool for conservation in areas working to balance the draw of recreational and natural areas for visitors and the development pressures on those places.
The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) stands out as a valuable tool for innovative conservation projects to gain access to startup capital and to meet the demand for private investment on working lands. In June 2017, NRCS announced a new cohort of CIG awardees in the Conservation Finance category with a total of $8.8 million in funding across 11 projects.
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.
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.
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.