Innovative Finance

Supporting biodiversity conservation ventures: Assessing the Impact Investing sector for an investment strategy to support environmental entrepreneurism

The purpose of this report is twofold. First, we assess the current state of the impact investment sector with respect to its focus on the environment. We do so by assessing environmentally focused investment funds. We review their financial and legal structures, along with the foci of their investments. We also analyze the standards and ratings currently present in the sector, and identify broad levels of risk to those investment funds. Our main purpose is to provide snapshot of the impact investment space as it relates broadly to environmental conservation.

Building on this assessment, the second purpose of this report is to scope a preliminary strategy around the creation of an investment vehicle that supports ventures that have the potential for high biodiversity impacts, while also being financially profitable. We refer to this potential vehicle as a biodiversity conservation venture fund (BCVF), since its goal would be to support high risk-high return investments with respect to biodiversity benefits. We refer to the types of investments the fund would support as biodiversity conservation ventures (BCV): for-profit organizations that are necessarily entrepreneurial in spirit, and exist explicitly to produce high-impact biodiversity conservation benefits while being financially sustainable. Our assessment hopes to provide a viable roadmap to inform the next steps in developing an investment vehicle that supports BCVs.

Author(s): Conservation Finance Alliance
February 2014

Financing Marine Conservation: A Menu of Options

This guide describes over 30 mechanisms for financing the conservation of marine biodiversity, both within and outside of MPAs. Its main purpose is to familiarize conservation professionals i.e., the managers and staff of government conservation agencies, international donors, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)with a menu of options for financing the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity.

Author(s): Barry Spergel and Melissa Moye
January 2004

Finance Guide for Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge Design Teams

The purpose of this guide is to assist design teams that are part of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge (RbD) by providing a funding and financing reference guide for resilient infrastructure along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. 1 The specific scope and scale of each team’s project design is not known at this time. Thus, the Guide provides a strategic perspective and descriptive overview of funding and financing options to help orient design ideas towards more feasible, fundable projects.

The Guide describes the broad range of traditional funding sources and financing mechanisms used for infrastructure development in California, with a focus on the State’s unique constraints and approval requirements. The guide focuses on the need for support from local voters and landowners as a prerequisite for implementation of a Bay Area-wide resilient infrastructure program. Finally, the guide includes several alternative revenue sources that have not been used, or rarely used, to fund infrastructure in California.

Author(s): NHA Advisors
Monday, Jan 22nd 2018

Marine Conservation Finance: The Need For and Scope of an Emerging Field

This paper reviews the state of marine conservation funding, identifies associated challenges, and recommends possible ways forward. It identifies five challenges: 1) funding for marine conservation is inadequate in terms of the size, duration, and diversity of revenue, 2) finance mechanisms are under-developed and under-utilised, 3) finance is often disconnected from conservation planning, 4) the environmental side-effects of economic activity increase the gap in global conservation funding, and 5) few individuals and programmes specialise in marine conservation finance and integrate its disparate lines of thinking. It proposes five solutions: 1) financial strategies for marine conservation, 2) increased research on and development of finance mechanisms, 3) integration of financial planning into conservation planning, 4) engagement of businesses in reducing the gap in conservation funding for marine ecosystems, and 5) definition, focus, and specialists for the emerging field of marine conservation finance. Multi-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to reduce the marine conservation-funding gap and sustain marine ecosystem services.

Author(s): Melissa Bos, Robert L. Pressey, Natalie Stoeckl
Wednesday, Jul 1st 2015

Sourcebook of Opportunities for Enhancing Cooperation Among the Biodiversity- Related Conventions at National and Regional Level

The Sourcebook provides an overview of the possibilities for enhancing the coherent implementation of the biodiversity-related conventions within five thematic areas (National Reporting and Information Management; Science-Policy Interface; Capacity Building; The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and NBSAPs and; Financial resource mobilisation and utilisation ) and through institutional arrangements. It is intended as a guidance document for country actors and highlights case studies of cooperation among national focal points and agencies responsible for implementing the conventions.

Author(s): United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Sunday, May 31 2015

Revaluing Ecosystems: Pathways for Scaling up the Inclusion of Ecosystems Value in Decision Making

Ecosystems provide essential services to society, from pollination and filtering of pollution to climate and water regulation. These services are often treated as though they have no value, with ecosystems too frequently managed for short-term gain at the expense of broader, longer-term societal benefits. There is an increasing array of tools to evaluate the tradeoffs associated with these developments, as well as a growing body of ecosystem service assessments which highlight the changes in value. Efforts to incorporate ecosystem values in decision making are growing through partnerships, in government, and in the private sector. This issue brief highlights barriers, opportunities, and pathways to broader consideration of ecosystem services in decision making.

Author(s): Lauretta Burke, Janet Ranganathan and Robert Winterbottom (Editors) - World Resources Institute (WRI)
Monday, Apr 20 2015

Building Inclusive Green Economies in Africa

This report summarizes the key findings of a series of assessment reports recently carried out by the Green Economy in Africa project supported by the European Union and led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in close collaboration with national partners. While each country is forging its own pathway, the report presents an array of examples that show how countries at the forefront of this transition recognize the potential of shifting to a green, low carbon and inclusive economy. Building on a strong endowment of natural resources, skills and cultures, Africa is well-poised to benefit from a global shift to more sustainable models of economic growth.

Author(s): United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Thursday, Mar 5 2015

Getting Financed: 9 Tips for Community Joint Ventures in Tourism

Many community joint venture partnerships contain high levels of risk and that this risk usually is too high for banks to assume. It could be reduced to more acceptable levels in a number of ways notably through better market-orientation and a more competitive enabling environment. This guide provides nine tips for all actors involved in this arena including governments, the private sector, communities, banks, and nongovernmental organizations to reduce risk and greatly improve joint ventures access to commercial finance.

Author(s): The World Bank Group (WBG) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Sunday, Nov 30 2014

Investing in Conservation: A landscape assessment of an emerging market

A new first-ever survey of conservation impact investing reveals a market of approximately $23 billion across just the last five years, and finds that investments in this space are expected to more than triple over the next five years (2014-2018). However, the report also finds that a substantial amount of potential private capital has not been deployed, demonstrating a need for a significant increase in the number of risk-adjusted investment opportunities.

Author(s): EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy's NatureVest
Monday, Nov 10 2014

The BIOFIN Workbook: A Tool to Mobilize Financial Resources for Biodiversity and Development

The goal of the BIOFIN (The Biodiversity Finance Initiative) Workbook is to enable partner countries to transform the trajectory of biodiversity, finance and development, and to chart a pathway to a sustainable future.



Author(s): BIOFIN (UNDP)
Tuesday, Oct 14 2014

Integrated Governance: A New Model of Governance for Sustainability

The focus of this report is to identify corporate governance practices that could promote a durable culture of sustainability within corporations. As companies increasingly recognize the need to develop a sustainable strategy, where sustainability issues are integrated into the core of the business model, a respective need is created for a governance model that is able to supervise the formulation and execution of such a strategy.

Author(s): UNEP FI
Sunday, Jun 15 2014

Investing in Sustainable Fishing: California Fisheries Fund

Author(s): California Fisheries Fund (CFF)
June 2014

Conservation Finance Moving beyond donor funding toward an investor-driven approach

This report shows existing unexploited private sector investment opportunities to increase conservation finance and deliver maximum conservation impacts while, at the same time, generating returns for investors. In order to develop appropriate financing structures and ensure that private sector conservation finance results in measurable conservation outcomes, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations must experiment and define their respective roles and approaches.

Author(s): Credit Suisse AG, World Wildlife Fund, Inc. & McKinsey & Company
Wednesday, Jan 15 2014

Social Impact Bonds: Using Impact Investment to Expand Effective Social Programs

This article focuses on how impact investors in SIBs can help drive improved performance in the U.S. social sector while providing growth capital to effective nonprofit or social enterprises.

Author(s): Luther Ragin, Jr. e Tracy Palandjian
Tuesday, Apr 16 2013

Reshaping contracts for quality natural resource investments

Investment contracts are agreements between an investor and a host state that set the terms of an investment project. Together with applicable national and international law, these contracts define the way risks, costs and benefits are distributed.

Author(s): IIED
Saturday, Mar 09 2013

Accion’s Frontier Investments Group: Drive Efficiency Through Centralization

This paper delivers a new impact measurement program that seeks to increase centralization and take a data-driven approach to portfolio management in order to expand financial inclusion.

Author(s): Global Impact Investing Network
Thursday, Oct 25 2012

Accelerating Impact : Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry

The report examines the evolution of Impact Investing over the past four years as well as its current status, reflecting that the field has moved decisively from a phase of “uncoordinated innovation” to one of sustained “marketplace-building.”

Author(s): E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd.
Sunday, Jul 15 2012

Tomorrow’s Capital Markets

This report argues that change needs to be created and owned by those in the system and those who are resposible for the system. Interventions need to be carefully judged, and require both a systemic and collaborative approach.

Author(s): The Centre for Tomorrow's Company
Wednesday, Jul 11 2012

Expanding Financing for Biodiversity Conservation: Experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean

This publication signals that conservation can build on the success of experienced institutions and programs to seek the public-private partnerships necessary to mobilize more funding and citizen action for biodiversity conservation. The experiences reviewed recognize the role of civil society and private sector.

Author(s): The World Bank
Friday, Oct 19 2012

The Little Forest Finance Book: 14 catalysts to scale up forest-friendly finance

The Little Forest Finance Book’s overarching aim is to catalyse an increase in the finance flowing towards forest-friendly development. It is a reference for decision makers and project stakeholders within governments, NGOs, the private sector, and forest communities who want to understand where forest finance can be raised, how it can best be managed, and the types of activities that it enables.

Author(s): Nick Oakes, Matt Leggett, Matthew Cranford and Harry Vickers
Thursday, Oct 18 2012

Catalysing Ocean Finance

This publication argues that, far from being an intractable problem, sustainable ocean management could become a successful legacy of today’s generation of decision-makers. It shows how the challenges facing the ocean stem from widely understood market and policy failures.

Volume 2

Author(s): UNDP and GEF
Sunday, Sep 09 2012

International Guidebook of Environmental Finance Tools

The Guidebook provides guidance on developing and implementing the most commonly used, widely applicable, and potentially high-impact environmental finance tools. It aims to define and analyse the primary tools that are already in use and that can be applied globally to advance sustainable development.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Author(s): United Nations Development Programme
Wednesday, Aug 22 2012

Accelerating Impact : Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry

The report examines the evolution of Impact Investing over the past four years as well as its current status, reflecting that the field has moved decisively from a phase of “uncoordinated innovation” to one of sustained “marketplace-building.”

Author(s): E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd.
Sunday, Jul 15 2012

A Big Deal for Conservation

A group of conservationinsts, former bankers, and management consultants have imported ideas from Wall Street to create a new way to protect large ecosystems — an approach that may work for other large-scale social projects as well.

Author(s): Larry Linden, Steve McCormick, Ivan Barkhorn, Roger Ullman, Guillermo Castilleja, Dan Winterson, & Lee Green
Sunday, Jul 1st 2012

Integración de la Sostenibilidad en las Instituciones Financieras Latinoamericanas

Este estudio regional hace un análisis de las tendencias del sector y ofrece un panorama del avance en la gestión de la sostenibilidad del sector financiero latinoamericano, con un énfasis en temas ambientales.

Author(s): UNEP FI y Felaban
Saturday, Jun 30 2012

Principles for Sustainable Insurance

Developed by the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative, the Principles are a framework for the global insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities.


Author(s): United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative
Saturday, Jun 30 2012

Lenses and Clocks - Financial stability clocks and systemic risk

This paper highlights how thinking that underpins sustainable finance and responsible investment can inform the financial stability debate. The paper urges financial policy-makers to integrate measures that promote the values of transparency, accountability, responsibility and trust as they seek to formulate policies that deliver resilient financial system to support globalized markets.

Author(s): Paul Clements-Hunt, The Blended Capital Group
Monday, Jun 18 2012

Community Action for the Global Environment

This publication highlights the results and lessons learned in the past 20 years of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and reflects on the contributions of communities to sustainable development.

Author(s): GEF and UNDP
Tuesday, Jun 12 2012

From Rio to Rio - A 20-Year Journey to Green the World’s Economies

By gathering compelling evidence about the impact of its efforts and the complex interrelationships of conservation, development, land use, and climate change, the GEF positions itself to catalyze far-reaching changes in the actions of both individuals and governments. This report illustrates how far the GEF has come over the past 20 years, and how far it still may go.



Author(s): GEF - Global Environment Facility
Thursday, May 31 2012

Insights from the Field: Forests for Water

This issue brief describes analyses in support of emerging payments for watershed services programs in two major watersheds in Maine and North Carolina and insights gleaned from work in progress.

Author(s): John Talberth, Erin Gray, Evan Branosky and Todd Gartner
Wednesday, Feb 1st 2012

Feed-in Tariffs as a Policy Instrument for Promoting Renewable Energies and Green Economies in Developing Countries

This report is intended as a resource for policy makers in developing countries to make informed policy decisions about the 'whether', 'when' and 'how' of FITs and to support nationally appropriate policy measures to scale up renewable energy.

Author(s): Wilson Rickerson
Wednesday, Jan 18 2012

Collaborating to Harmonize Standardized Metrics for Impact Investors

This paper aims to demonstrate how a collaboration to align the NCIF Social Performance Metrics and IRIS metrics benefits institutional impact investors interested in community banking. This paper also shares the experiences of two investors and one CDFI bank.

Author(s): National Community Investment Fund, IRIS
Wednesday, Jan 11 2012

Decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth

The IRP plans to carry out a series of investigations on decoupling, each of which will result in a report. The reports will aim to support the Green Economy Initiative and also to stimulate appropriate policies and action at global, national and local levels. This first report is simply an attempt to scope the challenges.

Author(s): Fischer-Kowalski, M.; Swilling, M.; von Weizsäcker, E.U.; Ren, Y.; Moriguchi, Y.; Crane, W.; Krausmann, F.; Eisenmenger, N.; Giljum, S.; Hennicke, P.
Saturday, Dec 31 2011

Rumo a uma Economia Verde: Caminhos para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável e a Erradicação da Pobreza

This study argues that rewards for greening the world's economies are tangible and relevant, and that means are available for governments and private sector.

Author(s): UNEP
Saturday, Dec 31 2011

Skills for Green Jobs: A Global View

This study argues that efforts to tackle climate change could result in the creation of millions of new “green jobs” in the coming decades. The report has assembled case studies, documenting a broad array of approaches to promote the transition to greener workplaces with sustainable, productive and decent employment.

Author(s): Strietska-Ilina, Olga; Hofmann, Christine; Durán Haro, Mercedes and Jeon, Shinyoung
Saturday, Dec 31 2011

Insurance in a Changing Risk Landscape: Local Lessons from the Southern Cape of South Africa

We live in a time of unprecedented risk. This has led some social commentators to label our society as the ‘Risk Society’, a concept founded on the link between growing globalisation and environmental risk.

Author(s): Santam Group, CSIR, UCT’s Centre of Criminology, WWF and UNEP-FI
Saturday, Dec 31 2011

Endowment Spending: Goals, Rates, and Rules

Nearly three-quarters of colleges and universities today target their endowment spending at about 5 percent of a three-year rolling average of total endowment market value. During the favorable investment conditions of the 1990s, many institutions saw their endowments and endowment spending soar, and became more dependent on endowment spending than they had been. More recent volatile market conditions, however, have constrained endowment spending—especially for the many institutions using a spending rule based on a three-year rolling average. As a result, many institutions are reexamining how they manage endowment spending. Perry Mehrling, professor of economics at Barnard College; Paul Goldstein, director of financial and strategic studies in the University Budget Office at Stanford University; and Verne Sedlacek, president and chief executive officer of Commonfund, discuss the goals and purposes of institutional endowments and various approaches to establishing endowment payout rates and rules. 

Author(s): Perry Mehrling, Paul Goldstein, and Verne Sedlacek 

Roadmap for a Green Economy in the Heart of Borneo: A Scoping Study

This paper analyses the current situation in the Heart of Borneo and the global response to green growth.

Author(s): WWF and PwC

Monday, Jan 3 2011

Habitat Banking in Latin America and Caribbean: A Feasibility Assessment

Adopting habitat banking in LAC is feasible and can balance economic growth with conservation priorities. This UNDP and PwC report has found that habitat banking is feasible in Latin America and the Caribbean and can balance economic growth with conservation priorities.

Author(s): Bovarnick A, Knight C & Stephonson J.
Friday, Oct 29 2010

The Little Biodiversity Finance Book

This book charts the current status of biodiversity finance globally, and is also a guide for the ‘Proactive Investment in Natural Capital’. PINC gives a conceptual framework for future financing for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides which underpin wealth creation.

Author(s): Charlie Parker, Matthew Cranford
Friday, Oct 15 2010

Demystifying Materiality - Hardwiring biodiversity and ecosystem services into finance

This CEO Briefing underscores the critical natural capital that underpins our economic activity and financial capital.






Author(s): UNEP FI Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Work Stream
Friday, Oct 1 2010

Mitigation & Conservation Banking in the United States: An Emerging Biodiversity-based Asset Class

The US has been a pioneer in the development of regulatory environmental markets for ecosystem services. Regulated markets for the conservation of threatened species and the mitigation of wetland impacts, under the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, represent a growing biodiversity-based asset class with reported turnover in excess of US$1 billion per year.

Author(s): New Forests Advisory Inc
Friday, Apr 30 2010