NatureVest is the conservation investing unit of The Nature Conservancy. While philanthropy and public funding have long been essential to conserving our natural resources, the massive scale of today’s environmental challenges requires additional sources of financing. NatureVest’s mission is to engage private capital to rapidly scale critical conservation work around the world by creatinginvestment opportunities in a wide variety of sectors that deliver environmental results and financial returns for investors.
To achieve this, we source and structure investments that support the Conservancy’s mission, raise capital from investors looking to generate both financial returns and conservation outcomes, and share our experience with the investment and conservation communities to accelerate the growth of the conservation investing marketplace.
How We Got Started
The Nature Conservancy continues to be at the forefront of achieving lasting conservation outcomes. Throughout its history, the Conservancy has achieved results through innovative transaction-based structures, such as fishing quota acquisition, debt restructuring, water funds, New Markets Tax Credits and others.
As the impact investing market began to take shape and grow, the Conservancy saw an opportunity to leverage private capital for conservation. With support from the Robertson Foundation in 2010, the Conservancy launched its impact capital strategy and created a deal team charged with developing investable conservation deals in North America.
In 2012, the Conservancy launched three additional efforts to advance impact investing for conservation.
With subsequent funding from the Robertson Foundation, the Conservancy launched Conservation Note—the organization’s first broad investment offering, providing all types of investors with a way to support conservation through investment. The response from investors was swift and positive, and the Note was fully subscribed within a year.
The Conservancy also founded NatLab with its partners Nature Resources Defense Council and Encourage Capital (formerly EKO Asset Management). NatLab received funding from The Rockefeller Foundation to work with the City of Philadelphia on a private investment vehicle for funding green infrastructure. Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, and Margot Brandenburg highlighted the Notes and the NatLab’s green infrastructure work in their definitive introduction to the field of impact investing, The Power of Impact Investing.
And, with support from the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, the Conservancy created an international deal team focused on sourcing deals from around the world, including forest carbon finance, mitigation and debt restructuring for climate adaptation.
In 2014, with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Conservancy formed NatureVest, a dedicated and more comprehensive conservation finance platform. This allowed us to bring the two deal teams together and to leverage the combined expertise, scope and scale of both teams and of JPMorgan Chase & Co. NatureVest’s founding also enabled us to add additional expertise to build thought leadership for the growing conservation investing space.
We plan to source and put to work at least $1 billion of investment capital for measurable conservation outcomes in the next three years. In order to achieve this goal, NatureVest does three things:
Our team members work with our colleagues in The Nature Conservancy’s operating units, as well as with conservation collaborators around the world, to source and structure investment products that support the Conservancy’s mission.
We engage impact investors to source impact capital in effective, scalable ways—using the Conservancy’s deep insights in science, policy and practice and its relationships with the capital markets, businesses and government.
We share our knowledge and experience broadly to build a stronger community of support for investing in nature.
Our Advisory Board
The Nature Conservancy launched its impact capital strategy in 2010 with support from the Robertson Foundation that continues today, and built a global network with subsequent support from the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. In early 2014, with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co., NatureVest was launched as a concerted effort to change the way we invest in nature.
Top image: © Tim Calver.