Press Release

IUCN and partners launch novel fund to drive investment to nature-based solutions

November 4, 2020

Plant seedling
Photo: kram-9/Shutterstock

IUCN today announces the launch of the Nature+ Accelerator Fund, a first-of-its-kind private sector-focused nature conservation accelerator fund providing measurable conservation and social benefits while delivering financial returns for investors.

The Accelerator Fund offers investment capital to early-stage as well as more mature nature-based solutions projects (NbS) with high potential for growth and positive conservation impacts, mainly in emerging markets. The fund is complemented by technical assistance and capacity-building offered to project developers to help them maximize the environmental, social, and financial potential and identify and secure complementary and follow-on funding.

With the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as an anchor investor, the Nature+ Accelerator Fund has already secured $8 million in risk-tolerant financing. The commercially-operated fund, which will be managed by asset management company Mirova, aims to raise further investment to create a $200 million portfolio of projects ranging from the seed investment phase through to the sustainable growth phase. The Accelerator is now ready to accept committments from public and private professional investors.

“There is a growing case for why investing in nature should be a viable proposition for the private sector. The Nature+ Accelerator Fund is designed to create a sizable pipeline of attractive nature-based investment deals to be offered on the market. The fund will accelerate the growth of mature and near-mature investment plans in nature-based solutions and help prepare them to access commercial financing,” said Stewart Maginnis, IUCN Global Director of the Nature-based Solutions Group. "This fund, operated by Mirova, is supported by a mix of private and public funding with the ambition of growing a $200 million portfolio.”

To ensure the rigor of conservation outcomes for both public and private investments, the Nature+ Accelerator Fund relies on the best practice and growing evidence from nature-based solutions approaches spearheaded by IUCN, its Commissions, and its Members. For instance, the Accelerator will apply the newly created Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions and the Species Threat Abatement and Recovery (STAR) metric within its investment portfolio.

This unique collaboration of major global institutions to advance investment in nature draws from the work of the Coalition of Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC), which supports the Accelerator through a working group focused on investment structuring. The Accelerator relies on investment blueprints from the 80+ member CPIC community (a group of leading civil society organizations, private and public sector financial institutions, and academia working to deliver a material increase in private, return-seeking investment in conservation).

“The Nature+ Accelerator Fund is the result of years of fruitful engagement and work of the members of the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation. This fund will help identify investable projects in natural capital and conservation at a critical moment,” said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs at the GEF. ”While public funds remain insufficient to reverse biodiversity loss, this fund will help create a needed track record of new business models that protect and promote nature. We look forward to seeing its results and working to bring the most successful projects to scale.”

Mirova has been selected to structure and operate the Nature+ Accelerator Fund, with the aim of ensuring that the projects benefiting from the fund’s investments generate added value and are well-positioned to qualify for follow-up investments from other existing funds and capital available for conservation finance. The fund will be managed by Mirova Natural Capital, a subsidiary fully owned by Mirova.

“As an early mover in the natural capital space, innovation and additionality remains in Mirova’s DNA. We believe this accelerator focuses on the real funding gaps. It is also central in our growth strategy and ambition to scale up investments in natural capital,” said Vincent Gradt, Managing Director, Mirova Natural Capital.

Through the expertise of IUCN, CPIC, and others, the Nature+ Accelerator Fund will remain robust and agile to deliver on needed inovations in the sector while maximising sustainability and conservation outcomes.

Notes to editors

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About the approach

The Accelerator concentrates in the following areas: Marine conservation and coastal resilience; smallholder production systems and sustainable agriculture; ecosystem conservation and restoration; and innovation in services, finance and technology.

The Accelerator is offering investmement money to early stage pilots and project ideas, impact enterprises with high potential for scalability, complemented by technical assistance and capacity building in three complementary investment windows: Seed, Early Venture (together defined as Incubation period) and Venture windows.

Click here to learn more on the Nature+ Accelerator Fund.

This press release was originally posted by IUCN.