Conservation Finance Network
The Challenge: Increasingly, the conservation community has recognized that traditional models and sources of capital cannot keep pace with the scale of social, environmental, and economic problems, as evidenced by the $700 million annual biodiversity finance gap. Further, it is abundantly clear that a more holistic, systems approach is needed for conservation impact which better centers human health and equity considerations.
The emerging field of conservation finance offers critical ways to leverage public, private, and philanthropic dollars for the projects that matter. Yet there are few opportunities for practitioners to learn about these tools and techniques and how to put them to use. At the same time, capital providers are looking for new opportunities to put their resources to work in social, environmental, and equity-oriented projects. However, evidence suggests that the field is not impeded by the availability of capital, but by a multitude of other factors. These include a shortage of investable deals with appropriate risk and return profiles, a shortage of familiarity and expertise among investors and practitioners, small transaction sizes, difficult exit strategies, high transaction costs, and limited commercial support for early-stage projects. As such, progress against the finance gap depends on building sector-wide infrastructure and growing sophistication among practitioners.
What can be done: Expanding the use of blended finance strategies offers our best hope to achieve meaningful impact for human health and equity, climate change, land and water conservation, and biodiversity. By increasing capacity, confidence, and connections among a growing network of public, private, and nonprofit professionals, we can increase the amount of capital available for innovative—and effective—projects and efforts. Targeted convenings, technical assistance, and insight can bolster the work of land trusts, conservation organizations, community groups, investors and financial managers, foundations, public agencies, and academic institutions.
How The Conservation Finance Network is meeting the challenge: Conservation Finance Network (CFN) was founded in 2012 to accelerate the pace and scale of land and resource conservation, restoration, and stewardship by expanding the use of innovative and effective funding and financing strategies. As a trusted community of practice, we help practitioners develop and scale conservation finance approaches that increase their access to capital and environmental markets. CFN builds and supports a growing practitioner network through convenings, technical assistance, intensive workshops, and timely and actionable insight to increase the financial resources deployed for conservation. We accomplish this by employing the following goals and strategies:
- Expand the use of innovative and effective conservation finance strategies
- Build a networked community of practice
- Increase the financial resources deployed for land and resource conservation
- Train: provide a sustained learning environment for practitioners
- Convene: create opportunities that allow for the sharing of actionable knowledge
- Incubate: foster the development of new techniques and strategies
- Partner: leverage the impact of the network through strategic and creative partnerships with people and institutions
- Disseminate: capture and disseminate innovative and cutting-edge approaches to funding and financing
- Build: sustain and build upon the Conservation Finance Network’s overall effort
- Elevate and Empower: Better center equity and justice considerations across the field by contributing to and elevating the efforts of practitioners, organizations, and coalitions.