The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. As one of the world’s largest financial institutions, Bank of America understands the powerful role it can play in addressing the private-sector financing and economic factors needed to build low-carbon economic solutions. Recent commitments from Bank of America will align their financial products and services to the burgeoning market for low-carbon energy, including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear and other emerging technologies, with a goal is to serve all customer audiences — from large corporate clients and institutional investors to individual clients and small businesses. In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation supports global nonprofit organizations through philanthropic funding and volunteerism, donating more than $14 million and with employees dedicating more than 48,000 hours to environmental activities in 2011.
As part of its commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen helping to finance the environmental movement, Bank of America has been a strong supporter of the Nature Conservancy for more than 20 years. Over those two decades, Bank of America has supported a wide range of Conservancy projects. To date, Bank of America has contributed over $18 million to help fund the Conservancy conservation efforts at sites throughout the United States and around the world.
As part of their generous support, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is providing $2 million in grant funding to The Nature Conservancy to support conservation projects that will protect forests in Brazil, China and Indonesia.
Bank of America’s support has led to worldwide conservation successes including:
China – In the fall of 2010, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave a $1 million grant of seed money to the Conservancy to begin testing a new model for land protection and conservation financing in China’s Sichuan Province. The goal of the project is to overcome barriers to conservation in China by introducing the Land Trust model which enables participation by all sectors of society (non-governmental as well as government) in protecting critical lands while also incorporating sustainable development opportunities for struggling local communities.
In addition to formally establishing China’s first-ever land trust reserve foundation – the Sichuan Nature Conservation Foundation, which is the primary fundraising body for the new reserve, the Conservancy has also worked to convene local conservation, government, and private sector stakeholders to develop tools and models for environmental efforts in China. In March 2011, the Conservancy co-hosted a land-protection conference in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Forest Carbon in Indonesia and Brazil – Support from Bank of America has been helping the Conservancy build capacity and broaden our impact as global efforts to measure, monitor and protect our forest ecosystems continue to progress. Aided by the bank’s generosity, the Conservancy has been working to ensure that the approach called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) is effective in practice, not just on paper.
In Indonesia, the Berau Forest Carbon Program aims to enable a 5.4-million-acre district on the island of Borneo to protect tropical forests, reduce carbon emissions, and generate tangible economic benefits for indigenous peoples and local communities. The District of Berau — a microcosm of Indonesia, with a wide range of economic activities, forest types, and threats — is ideal as a model for Indonesia and other developing nations seeking sustainable, low-carbon pathways to economic development.
In Brazil, the Conservancy is applying Bank of America’s support to its work to counter deforestation in the Amazon by developing a landscape-scale REDD+ pilot program. With the support of municipal and state government agencies and local NGOs, we are designing a program in the municipality of São Félix do Xingu, to measure improved-land-management’s contributions to reducing carbon pollution. This program will also help provide new incentives to landowners to conserve their properties and to manage them sustainably. In 2011 we registered nearly 80 percent of the eligible land in São Félix do Xingu to comply with Brazil’s Forest Code, began a study of timber supply chains to provide recommendations on the establishment of a sustainable timber industry, and completed a preliminary baseline carbon study for São Félix that lays the foundation for a robust carbon accounting system.
The projects mentioned above help advance Bank of America’s commitment to the environment and reflects our shared belief that we do not have to lose the world’s remarkable forests and all that they provide — that we can responsibly manage natural resources to benefit nature and people.
Other philanthropic gifts from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation have included donations to Forest Protection in Maine, Alternative Energy Projects in China and a contribution for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Forest Initiative. Additionally, Bank of America has been a member of the Conservancy’s Business Council for over 10 years, seeking solutions to conservation challenges through corporate cooperation.