In this episode of "Voices of Conservation Finance," our guest was Bethany Olmstead, Conservation Manager with Working Forest Fund, a program of The Conservation Fund. She shared how her background in land conservation guides her work with The Conservation Fund to finance the acquisition and protection of forestland in the United States. She discussed how her passion for protecting land for wildlife habitat and public access can also provide economic benefits for local communities.
Sustainable forestry represents a major portion of conservation finance’s investable landscape. According to a 2016 Forest Trends report, “State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016,” sustainable timberland investments accounted for approximately 34 percent of all private conservation investments from 2004 to 2015.
Conservation managers and entrepreneurs who are looking to make their projects stand out as investment opportunities should be sure to supply the information that investors want. Impact investing experts interviewed by Conservation Finance Network expressed a surprising lack of interest in most impact metrics and measurements aside from carbon sequestration. They instead indicated that they prioritize honest assessments of risk. They also value an understanding of how an investment opportunity can fit into a larger portfolio.
There is a growing gap between available impact capital and conservation investments. This has become a major focal point for investment professionals in the field. One reason for this trend may be that conservation investments are not meeting investor expectations due to a lack of quality opportunities.
The community of Ixtlán de Juárez in Oaxaca, Mexico is a great example of the multiple economic, ecological and social benefits of a sustainably managed community forest. Forest management and ownership has fostered social and economic prosperity in this community while protecting the unique environmental values of its land. It is an indigenous Zapotec community located in one of the poorest areas of Mexico in the rugged mountains of the Sierra Juarez. Revenues from forest management have been reinvested over the years in the creation and growth of different community-owned enterprises.
A total of 31.4 percent of global fisheries are being fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. However, a 2016 study by Costello and others said the application of sound management reforms to global fisheries will increase biomass by 619 million metric tons relative to a business-as-usual scenario. One way to enable sustainable fisheries management is to target the activities of small-scale coastal fishing businesses.
In this episode of the podcast "Voices of Conservation Finance," our guest was David Meyers, Senior Technical Advisor to the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) at the United Nations Development Programme. He was also recently hired as the first Executive Director of Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA).
Among the piping plovers and marsh grasses of New Jersey’s scenic coast, environmentalists and communities are busy creating green infrastructure to shield the shorelines from storm damage while supporting local economies. The Coastal Resilience Collaborative, the New Jersey Resilient Coastlines Initiative, and the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance are bringing financial and tactical resources to bear on restoring reefs, wetlands, marshes and dunes.
What does it take to make a forest collapse ecologically? How can the corporate sector prevent this collapse of its natural capital? According to Kerry Cesareo, vice president of the Forests Program at World Wildlife Fund, there are threats to the natural capital of the private sector that lie outside its current practices and need to be addressed. Along with traditional conservation programs and partnerships, the private sector is seeking to play a larger role in investing in programs that keep forests from reaching their ecological tipping points.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that communities must invest $150 billion nationally in the next 20 years in infrastructure to effectively manage stormwater. A 2017 report from the Willamette Partnership outlines economic instruments that can drive investment or create action to meet federal and state environmental goals. Incentives, subsidies, trading and mitigation hold particular promise.
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.