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Problems and impediments in conservation finance

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Presentation given by Terry Sunderland, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia

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Problems and impediments in conservation finance

  1. 1. Problems and impediments in conservation finance International Research Roundtable: Conservation Finance: Engaging Private Capital in Sustainability Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Sudies UBC, Vancouver Terry Sunderland Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia 23rd March 2018
  2. 2. Background • Green finance is very attractive but there is weak evidence of effectiveness of projects aligned with climate action and sustainable development—both in terms of measurable performance and value for money • Apparent disconnect between the purported available, or required, finance and the actual finance currently invested in sustainable development • What are the barriers to mobilizing private finance and how can they be overcome? • Numerous claims of the potential to ‘unlock’ trillions of dollars of private finance for investment
  3. 3. “The future is sustainable development, and sustainable landscapes. And frankly, that’s going to be a five to seven trillion-dollar investment space within 10 to 15 years. Every bank, every institutional investor, is now turning its attention to this space”. Mark Burrows, Credit Suisse, speaking at Global Landscapes Forum, London, July 2016
  4. 4. And there’s more… • To meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community needs to move the discussion from “billions” in ODA to “trillions” in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity (ADB, 2015) • Without a more rapid, scaled redeployment of financing, we will lock in development trajectories that hinder the realization of the global goals and take us beyond the tipping points for life-supporting climate and wider ecosystems (Robins & Zadek, UNEP, 2016)
  5. 5. There are examples out there
  6. 6. However…. • Natural capital remains chronically under-valued • Enabling political, regulatory and economic conditions that would stimulate private sector support to sustainable development are largely missing • While it’s often touted that trillions of dollars are available for investment, literature providing empirical evidence or actual figures are scarce
  7. 7. • Based on series existing systematic reviews on “landscape approaches” and conservation finance • Used snowballing methods to access additional literature • First author had previous experience of the global financial sector
  8. 8. Key findings (1)
  9. 9. Key findings (2)
  10. 10. Key findings (3) • “……….over the next 25 years the costs of investment is nearly identical for a low carbon future of BAU and the low-carbon scenario is actually less expensive. Even without factoring in the cost savings from avoided climate- related damages, the ‘action’ scenario implies a total spend on energy of $190.2 trillion while the ‘inaction’ scenario is actually marginally larger at $192 trillion”
  11. 11. Summary of findings • Policy reform needed to value natural capital and incentivise green investments • Centralised system that connects projects to investors would build capacity and financial literacy • Information gaps persist in reporting, monitoring and impact assessment
  12. 12. Recommendations • Government and policy reform to create an enabling investment environment and move beyond voluntary financial commitments • Develop an international convening informational body to synthesize evidence and connect project and investors to resources (c.f. Global Landscapes Forum?) • Bridging finance gaps and enhancing cost effectiveness of projects through – monitoring, reporting, impact assessment (addressing information gaps)
  13. 13. Thank you! terry.sunderland@ubc.ca @TCHSunderland

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