Conservation finance has won the lottery. The approach summarized by Fabian Huwyler, Juerg Kaeppeli, Katharina Serafimova, Eric Swanson, and John Tobin holds the potential to push conservation finance to a new level. It is now the time to organize the economic benefits of conservation across the spectrum of conservation needs: oceans, fresh water, forests, all species including the well being of the human species.
Ten years ago, I was frustrated that the land trust I helped found could not pursue the priority projects we identified for lack of appropriate funding (scale and availability). Much has been accomplished but reaching that next level has been slow.
Investment bankers (I am one) are notorious for taking on projects that are large, profitable, and can close in six months. The call to support the important field of conservation finance, while realizing the challenges to design and structure, signals an assessment that conservation finance can enter the mainstream.
Having the team of Credit Suisse, World Wide Fund for Nature, and McKinsey & Company produce a framework of optimism and a road map to move forward gives the field the credibility it needs and should have. We must start writing the next report on the details of producing investable deals. We now have a well thought out “to do” list.