At The Nature Conservancy (TNC), we’re expanding our toolbox of investment strategies and seeing some good results. In the past few years, we’ve done six major deals through NatureVest, our in-house investment unit. These include a debt-for-nature swap to fund marine conservation and climate adaptation in the Seychelles and an LBO for nature to purchase 160,000 acres of forestland in Montana and Washington, to protect wildlife habitat and sequester carbon. We recently developed the world’s first insurance policy to protect a coral reef. We’ve partnered with Bunge and Santander to provide long-term loans to soy farmerswilling to commit to agricultural techniques that reduce deforestation and conversion of native land in the Brazilian Cerrado. And we’ve demonstrated how tropical forest countries can finance their climate commitments throughsustainable land bonds tied to results-based payment agreements for achieving national emissions reduction targets.

NGOs can’t close these deals alone – there are big opportunities here for investors to partner with organizations like TNC and engineer smart deals that benefit both nature and portfolio performance.

Investors have led before – they can lead again

We’re not asking investors to do anything they haven’t done before. Consider the role they’ve played in dramatically reducing the cost of wind and solar, ending apartheid, and curbing predatory tactics from the tobacco industry.

When it comes to addressing climate change, we are in the race of our lives – and we have an enormous way to go. The financial sector can make a big difference. The positive trends I’ve noted here are reason to be encouraged, but much work remains to accelerate these efforts and take them to scale. If you’re interested in getting involved, please let me know. The environmental movement needs more people – and more resources – on our side.


This article was originally published on the World Economic Forum.

Mark Tercek is CEO, The Nature Conservancy.