U.S. Department of State’s Forest Investor Club Releases Inaugural Annual Report, Encouraging Billions in Nature-Based Investments

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13 September, 2023




  • Apple launched the Restore Fund with Goldman Sachs and Conservation International in 2021, committing up to an initial $200 million to restore degraded areas and invest in sustainable working forests, generating attractive returns while removing carbon. In 2023, Apple expanded the Restore Fund in partnership with Climate Asset Management through an additional commitment of up to $200 million, creating a novel blended strategy focused on nature-forward agriculture combined with the restoration of critical ecosystems.
  • New Forests, a global investment manager of nature-based real assets and natural capital strategies, has partnered with DFIs to launch the African Forestry Impact Platform (AFIP), which invests in sustainable forestry operating companies and related assets in sub-Saharan Africa. With an initial USD $200 million signed in investment from its DFI partners and a goal to scale to $500 million through follow-on investment from long-term institutional investors, it aims to deliver commercial returns alongside conservation and sustainable development outcomes at scale.
  • An impact-first investment program managed by the globally recognized non-profit Conservation International (CI), CI Ventures combines 36 years of climate and conservation science to design, showcase, and mainstream mechanisms to address the investment gap in biodiversity and climate concerns, while acting as a catalytic force to bring further funding to the space. Through its venture philanthropy model, CI Ventures has leveraged USD $19 million in risk-tolerant capital to attract and mobilize an additional USD $86 million in co-financing and follow-on investments.

FIC member organizations include (alphabetical): Apple, BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group (TIG), Conservation International, Deutsche Bank, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Finnfund, Goldman Sachs, Lombard Odier Investment Managers (LOIM), Manulife Investment Management, Mirova, The Nature Conservancy, New Forests, Norfund, Pollination, SAIL Ventures, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Along with network partners Convergence and the Natural Capital Investment Alliance (NCIA), FIC members began cooperative activities under the FIC umbrella in 2022.

Mark Wishnie, Chief Sustainability Officer, BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group, said in response to the report“There is a growing demand for investments that have a positive impact on climate, nature, and society. Yet, there is a shortage of high-quality, scalable investment opportunities in this area.” He added: “We need new approaches to investing if we want to address these urgent challenges. The Forest Investor Club exemplifies how collaboration can facilitate partnerships that increase access to capital and lead to new investment opportunities.”

Emily Kreps, Head of ESG and Sustainable Finance, Investment Bank Origination & Advisory and Head of ESG, Americas, Deutsche Bank, said: “The financial sector has a critical role to play in developing innovative investment models that can help conserve, manage, and restore forests and nature. The access to expertise, networks, and partnerships facilitated by the Forest Investor Club are crucial to helping investors unlock and scale investment opportunities in this asset class across the globe.”

Agustin Silvani, Senior Vice President, Conservation International, said: “Protecting natural ecosystems could deliver nearly a third of the global emissions reductions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Yet, nature-based solutions get only 3 percent of global climate funding. While public and private-sector investments in forests and nature are increasing, we need to close an $11 trillion financing gap by 2050 to meet agreed-to climate and biodiversity goals. This Forest Investor Club report highlights what can be done to overcome the investment barriers and accelerate the flow of capital required for conserving essential ecosystems.”

Additionally, Johnny Brom, Founder and CIO, SAIL Ventures, remarked that: “The Forest Investor Club provides a great platform for SAIL Ventures to join forces with other industry leaders to drive the growth of natural capital and highlight the benefits of this asset class to institutional investors.”