A new first-of-its-kind survey of conservation impact investing has revealed a market of nearly $23 billion
Impact investing in conservation is one of the most effective ways to tackle the existing global deficit in conservation finance. According to the Global Canopy Program, an estimated $300 billion is required annually to meet the world’s conservation challenges. However, at present the investment in this area is only about $50 billion a year, which comes primarily from governments, multilateral agencies and nonprofits.
A report, "Investing in Conservation: A Landscape Assessment of an Emerging Market," has been co-authored by EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy's NatureVest division. The survey was overseen by a steering committee, which included the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The results of the survey show that from 2009 to 2013, nearly $23 billion committed to conservation impact investments can be divided into three major categories. The first category is water quantity and quality conservation. This includes investments in water conservation and storm water management, watershed protection, and trading in credits related to watershed management.
The second category covers production of sustainable food and fiber, including investments in sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, timber production, and wild-caught fisheries. The third category relates to habitat conservation. This covers investments in the protection of shorelines to reduce coastal erosion, projects to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), land easements, and mitigation banking.
The report also found that among the three categories of conservation investment, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) invested mainly in water conservation projects to the tune of $15 billion, while private investors made the bulk of their $1.2 billion in investments in sustainable food and fiber production. Private investors are expected to deploy $1.5 billion of already-raised capital over the next five years, and to raise and invest an additional $4.1 billion.
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