2017 Conservation Investment Accelerator Winners Announced
The world can always use good ideas. But today, the world urgently needs innovative, game-changing work that leverages investment capital for our most pressing issues. From climate resiliency to sustainable food sources, The Nature Conservancy believes that investment in conservation and other natural solutions can help realize a future where people and nature not only survive but thrive together.
To this end, the Conservation Investment Accelerator (the Accelerator) is a competitive grant program administered by NatureVest – the conservation investing unit of The Nature Conservancy. The Accelerator is intended to catalyze the development of new conservation impact investment opportunities, to help recipients position themselves for follow-on investments and to attract additional supporters to the field.
We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the Accelerator’s pilot round:
- Terras App Solutions – Sustainable Rural Credit for Agriculture Development and Zero Deforestation
Constructed in the early 1970s, the Trans-Amazonian Highway represents one of the largest indirect contributors to the rapid deforestation of the Amazon rainforest as it has facilitated timber access and transport. Terras – a Brazilian technology company that develops apps for land management, socioenvironmental risk monitoring and traceability of rural properties – proposes to address socioeconomic development and conservation in this region by expanding access to technology that connects smallholder farmers to supply chains. Accelerator funding will support a pilot program intended to expand access to credit for smallholder cacao farmers along the Trans-Amazonian Highway who comply with zero deforestation policies.
- Environmental Defense Fund – Louisiana Coastal Wetland Restoration and Resilience Environmental Impact Bond
Land loss due to storm erosion, other natural processes and human activities in Louisiana poses a direct risk to as much as $3.6 billion in assets that support $7.6 billion in economic activity each year. To address these growing concerns, Louisiana has developed a robust plan that is guiding actions to sustain their coastal ecosystem, safeguard coastal populations, and protect vital economic and cultural resources. With Accelerator funding, EDF – a US-based non-profit environmental advocacy group – is developing a bond that brings together government, corporate and non-profit resources to accelerate Louisiana’s coastal restoration and resiliency plans and could save the state millions of dollars over the next ten years.
- The Nature Conservancy in Washington – Yakima Basin Water Sharing Investment Partnership
The Yakima River Basin is one of the most intensively irrigated areas in the United States. Increasing demands for water for municipal, fisheries, agricultural, industrial, and recreational uses will affect the ground-water resources of the basin. The Accelerator will fund work by the Conservancy’s Washington State program for conservation and business assessments for water rights investments that will be managed to support watershed restoration, water use mitigation and long-term water provision for sustainable economic development.
- The Nature Conservancy, Mexico and Northern Central America – Sustainable Intensification of the Dairy Industry in Chiapas, Mexico
Extensive cattle ranching is the main driver of deforestation in Chiapas, Mexico, where pastureland currently covers 38% of the state (2.9 million hectares) and is expanding. Current ranching practices are inefficient, with low stocking density and milk production. The Accelerator will fund work by the Conservancy’s Mexico program for development of a business plan to convert one of the largest dairy cooperatives in Chiapas to sustainable intensification via silvopastoral cattle ranching.
“Congratulations to the Accelerator winners! Serving on the Advisory Committee, it was exciting to see both the number and quality of conservation efforts that are being contemplated, and I am enthusiastic about the good outcomes and learnings that are sure to result from them. I also want to add my congratulations and thanks to the NatureVest team, whose thoughtful framework and rigorous vetting of candidates drove the results. I look forward to seeing this model expanded to provide both technical assistance and impact capital to more and more entrepreneurs and project developers in the space.” – Julia Shin, Vice President, Innovation, Enterprise Community Partners
In addition to the funding, the recipients will be offered technical assistance, training and mentorship opportunities as they proceed in their respective project development. The Accelerator’s Advisory Committee includes representatives from Enterprise Community Partners, FB Heron Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Lyme Timber Company, Rare, The Nature Conservancy, Treehouse Investments, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Walmart.