Launching the Conservation Finance Network Toolkit

Tools on wall

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We are pleased to announce the launch of a new series called the Conservation Finance Network Toolkit. This series of articles focuses on individual tools practitioners can use. Our goal is to span the range of comfort levels our readers have – from simple to challenging.

The toolkit will address conservation finance issues through the framework of “the Wedge,” which organizes tools according to the complexity and size of the funding opportunity.

Traditional methods of raising funding can be limited by the amount of money available. The more complex financing tools require relevant experience and stronger partnerships, but provide access to larger pools of capital.

As our goal is to provide resources for all levels, the toolkit articles will include basic approaches to raising money. In addition, we will delve into newer approaches that use environmental markets and investment principles.

CFN seeks to build readers’ knowledge with the goal of developing and scaling ecosystem services markets through increasing transparency, liquidity, and consistency of projects (Whelpton & Ferri, 2017).

Conservation Finance Diagram

The toolkit articles are co-authored by Yale University graduate students and seasoned experts with deep experience in the field. The series will expand upon how to get started with a tool, when its use may be appropriate, and what common challenges and pitfalls are.

Over the coming months, the toolkit will expand to cover common uses of conservation finance tools and offer perspectives from well-regarded experts with experience using them. Kicking off our series are three articles focused on valuable topics related to raising funding for conservation goals.

3 Tools
  1. Seller financing provides in-depth information on seller-financed transactions for acquiring property. A critical tool for conservation, seller financing allows the buyer to finance a deal through the seller rather than a third party. This strategy lowers costs for both parties and increases the chance of closing a deal.
  2. Ballot measures are an important tool for putting conservation in the public eye. Grassroots initiatives provide support for sustainable, long-term solutions. This piece examines the challenges and opportunities in placing conservation on the ballot.
  3. Bridge financing takes place after a conservation organization has instituted rigorous financial systems and educated board members. Conservation organizations will find tradeoffs between traditional bank or credit union loans and the lower-rate loans offered by mission-aligned nonprofits and foundations.

The conservation toolbox is growing. As we add more tools to the Toolkit, let us know how we’re doing and what tools you would like to learn more about.

References

Credit Suisse, World Wildlife Fund, McKinsey & Co. (2014). Conservation finance: Moving beyond donor funding toward an investor-driven approach. Retrieved from https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/assets/cor-porate/docs/about-us/responsibility/environment/conservation-finance-en.pdf

EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy. (2014.) Investing in conservation. A landscape assessment of an emerging market. Retrieved from http://www.naturevesttnc.org/pdf/InvestingInConser-vation_Report.pdf

Parker, C., Cranford, M., Oakes, N., and Leggett, M. (2016). The little biodiversity finance book. Global Canopy Programme, Retrieved from http://globalcanopy.org/publications/little-biodiversity-finance-book-3rd-edition-2012

Whelpton, L., and Ferri, A. (2017). Private capital for working lands conservation: A market development framework. Conservation Finance Network. Retrieved from http://cbey.yale.edu/sites/default/files/Private_Capital_for_Working_Lands_Conservation.pdf

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