The traditional landscape of farmland ownership and financing in the United States thwarts the adoption of regenerative agriculture. First, farmland is expensive. Farm real estate prices have doubled in the last decade. But models have emerged to power regenerative practices forward. These include concessionary capital, financing from real estate investment trusts, and dollars from larger investors who treat farmland as a hedge to other asset classes.
Across the political spectrum, most Americans have favorable opinions of farmers and are happy with the idea that the federal government provides financial assistance to help pay for crop insurance. If they knew crop insurance's full cost, that might change. This system, while well-intentioned, leaves out the majority of farmers and encourages the degradation of precious soil and water reserves by rewarding consolidated monoculture crop production.
This article is the second of a two-part series focusing on the challenges and opportunities of incorporating conservation finance into traditional investment portfolios. CFN spoke to investment advisors about strategies for overcoming major barriers. Increased interest in impact opens opportunities for greater incorporation of conservation finance into traditional investment portfolios across a variety of scales, from small retail to large institutional.
This two-part article series explores the challenges of and opportunities for incorporating conservation finance into traditional investment portfolios. In Part 1, various current and former investment advisors with deep knowledge of impact finance discuss the challenges of integrating conservation investments into traditional investment portfolios.
In September, The Conservation Fund announced the closing of its $150 million green bond. The environmental nonprofit offered the 10-year notes in order to expand its Working Forest Fund. CFN spoke to Conservation Fund CEO Larry Selzer about how the organization will use bond funds, the experience of offering a bond as a nonprofit, and the significance of the project for the conservation finance field.
Experts predict that, by weight, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. A 2016 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. With the health of ocean ecosystems threatened by marine plastic pollution, what opportunities are there for private capital to become part of the solution?
As food companies look to lower supply chain risk and reduce their ecological footprint, new strategies are emerging to increase adoption of sustainability practices among farmers. Several companies have begun using long-term contracts — purchase agreements guaranteeing offtake beyond an annual time horizon — to stabilize costs and allow both grower and buyer to plan further into the future.
Traditionally, conservation efforts raise funding for projects and actions in the hope that those activities will result in desired outcomes. This Toolkit explores Pay-for-success financing, an alternative approach. This model ties funding for conservation to project outcomes, incentivizing the achievement of objectives and shifting risk away from public agencies and conservation organizations that implement on-the-ground work.
Impact Capital Managers (ICM), a network of impact-focused venture capital and private equity funds, is out to disprove the notion that investing for impact requires sacrificing financial return. On the contrary, ICM members aim to match or exceed the overall performance of the market, and they believe social and environmental objectives contribute to their success.
Less than one percent of United States farms had an organic certification in 2017, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Due to its environmental and health benefits, organic agriculture is one of the sustainable agriculture methods many farmers are hoping to adopt.