Attracting private investments for sustainable landscapes

Attracting private investments for sustainable landscapes 

To improve farmers’ livelihoods and restore and protect ecosystems, promising pilot projects need investment to be scaled up. Organizations like IDH and WWF can help manage and support project developers in getting landscape projects off the ground. However, investors need projects to be set up in a certain way for a project to be acceptable for investment. With the right support, project developers can prepare their projects to be bankable and investment-ready.  

In Indonesia we have supported an approach that has used agroforestry to rehabilitate 4,000 hectares of degraded land with fast growing trees and cash crops. This innovative form of restoration finance has now developed into a for-profit social venture that is set to scale up with significant private investment.  

In Cameroon, we have been developing a landscape strategy that creates the right conditions to attract new sources of funding and which builds on the commitments of companies to support deforestation-free cocoa. 

In Zambia, WWF worked with a local sugar cane business to carry out the necessary environmental, social, technical and financial assessment needed to access funding of around €5 million to install drip irrigation, a system that makes much better use of the region’s scarce water supply then traditional methods of watering. This project, Kafue Flats, shows the level of preparation needed to attract investors. 

Earlier this year, we worked with the WWF to create an in-depth guide to landscape finance. The guide sets out to rectify this by providing project organisers with a clear approach about how to identify landscape projects and, crucially, how to make them investment-ready and capable of attracting the funding needed to support truly sustainable landscapes. 

As Nachilala Nkombo, WWF Country Director Zambia, puts it: “A bankable nature-based solution is an initiative that mobilizes private sector investment into sustainable development. It provides a win-win outcome to build more climate-resilient ecosystems for people, nature and economies, while simultaneously providing a financially viable project that is able to be scaled up and replicated.”  

Nienke Stam, IDH Program Director for Landscape Finance said: “Although they can have shared interests, green investors and NGOs often struggle to work together. This guide can bring shared language, and step-by-step approach, so that more projects can be developed up to the level where they are investment-ready and capable of attracting the funding needed to support truly sustainable landscapes.”

The guide will also form the backdrop to a workshop we are holding at November’s Sustainable Landscapes and Commodities Forum in Amsterdam. Designed for professionals in areas such as supply chain development and conservation, as well as investors, the workshop will provide guidance on the design of landscape finance projects. It will also flag up how to avoid some of the common pitfalls of project development, such as spending valuable time and resources on preparing projects that could have been identified as un-bankable at a much earlier stage. 

As well as a panel of key speakers, break-out sessions will drill down on some of the biggest challenges in developing bankable landscape finance projects, and the role that different organizations can play in solving them. Investors and project developers will also be encouraged to share their experiences of the kind of trade-offs needed to deliver projects that meet business goals, while also delivering landscape-level impact. 

By unpacking and exploring the guide and joining the workshop, we hope that those attending this year’s Innovation Forum will be better equipped to develop and scale up an even more widespread portfolio of landscape wide projects, that are sustained by private finance and managed with NGO expertise. 

IDH partners can receive a discount on the registration fee with the discount code IDH20.  

For more information about the Sustainable Landscapes and Innovation Forum, please click here.   

You can read the guide here: Attracting Private Investments for Sustainable Landscapes: A Guide