Results 6 January webinar: New green shoots

The webinar ‘New green shoots – the latest innovations in nature finance’ (6 January) was one of the two webinars organised by the FfB Foundation in collaboration with UNEP FI, the PRI and the Finance@Biodiversity Community to kickstart 2022. 

The latest innovations in nature finance

The webinar showcased positive stories and the latest innovations for financing nature. After an introduction on the state of finance for nature by Ivo Mulder, Head of the Climate Finance Unit at UN Environment Programme (UNEP), five finance projects and mechanisms towards the protection, recovery and resilience of nature were presented.

  • Watch the ‘New green shoots’ webinar recording
  • Download the ‘New green shoots’ slides
  • Download the ‘New green shoots’ annex with an inventory of over 50 nature finance innovations

Ivo Mulder presented the key findings of the State of Finance for Nature report, a yearly study that tracks global trends in public and private investment in nature-based solutions. If the world is to meet the climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation targets, we need to close a USD 4.1 trillion financing gap in nature by 2050. The report highlights the need to scale up finance and to strengthen the business case to invest into nature-based solutions (NbS). To meet global goals, investments in NbS need to be tripled by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 from the current level. The report shows that currently both the volume of capital directed to NbS-relevant assets and activities and the share of private finance, are insufficient to stay in line with the 1.5°C scenario.

The following innovations were presented: 

  • Pinwheel, presented by Rob Cheesewright, is a start-up to mobilise capital for planet repair, moving from compensation towards a crowdfunding model. The platform targets both consumers and private sector clients tapping into their investors’ love for nature and wilderness. Pinwheel tries to capitalise on the fact that people are more likely to fund biodiversity instead of carbon, while ensuring return to their investors.
  • The new Landscape Capital’s reforestation strategy in Latin America, presented by Mark Wishnie from BTG Pactual, the largest investment bank in Latin America, aims to address both climate change and the biodiversity crisis through the recuperation and restoration of landscapes. It seeks to mobilize one billion US dollars over five years and to deliver climate, environmental and social benefits at scale, alongside financial returns. The strategy recognises the biophysical potential of the land sector to contribute to solving the climate crisis. Putting nature at the heart of climate mitigation strategies will accelerate green transition. It highlights the environmental and socio-economic benefits for local communities and aims to leverage the potential of the forest sector. Financial returns to investors are required to scale up action and to create high-quality forest carbon offsets.  
  • The Sovereign Debt Conversion for Marine Conservation, presented by Kevin Bender from The Nature Conservancy, is the largest blue bond for Ocean Conservation to date. The programme was a collaboration between the Government of Belize, the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Nature Conservancy. It enabled Belize to convert its existing Eurobond, with low international rating, into blue debt used to implement Belize’s marine conservation agenda. As part of a global TNC Blue Bond for Conservation program, developing countries are supported to retire from harmful investment strategies, while reinvesting the savings from the restructuring in nature conservation and restoration. The debt conversion provided a range of positive conservation outputs, financial benefits and additional finance for conservation. It helped Belize, among others, to reduce their debt with US$190m while increasing their marine protection targets from 15.9% to 330% by 2026. Involving the Nature Conservancy provides investors with a strong confidence that the conservation activities will take place over the coming years. 
  • The Livelihoods Funds, presented by Bernard Giraud, supported by One Planet business for biodiversity, are impact investment funds designed to support the efforts of agricultural and rural communities to live in sustainable ecosystems which serve as the foundation for their food security and provide the necessary resources for their livelihoods. The Funds are funded by private finance from large corporations that have strong climate and biodiversity commitments and understand the need to transform their supply chain. The 21 current investors committed to agriculture transformation include Danone, Mars, Scheinder Electric, McCain and others. Financial returns are invested in the rural communities to improve their livelihoods, supporting the farmers to increase production and reducing the pressure on biodiversity. It brings together multiple stakeholders to co-design the project, but also to share the risks.
  • The recently adopted Natural Capital Transition Strategy of Aviva Investors is a global equity strategy focusing on large, listed companies that either (i) provide solutions to the climate crisis or (ii) lead by example on reducing impact on nature. The strategy is developed around four themes and linked to the UN SDGs: circular economy, sustainable land, sustainable ocean and climate change. Aviva Investors come in where markets are not properly pricing in the consequences of natural capital erosion and the necessary measures to reduce biodiversity loss, transforming the economy a nature-positive one. Companies from their portfolio are required to (i) carry out a biodiversity assessment, (ii) set quantified, timebound targets to reduce key biodiversity impacts and (iii) address a company-specific ask linked to the materiality of their business model and key sector risks. Those failing to meet their targets will be divested from the fund. 

In an open discussion that followed, all speakers confirmed their confidence in the potential to scale up and growing demand over the coming years thanks to the growing appetite for finance for nature and the better products available.

  • Watch the ‘New green shoots’ webinar recording
  • Download the ‘New green shoots’ slides
  • Download the ‘New green shoots’ annex with an inventory of over 50 nature finance innovations

To continue, learn more about the webinar ‘Getting started in nature, biodiversity and finance’ (11 January), one of the two webinars organised by the FfB Foundation in collaboration with UNEP FI, the PRI and the Finance@Biodiversity Community to kickstart 2022. 

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