From the CEO
Two years ago, we launched The Nature Conservancy’s 2030 Goals—a set of clear, measurable targets to guide our work in this critical decade for our planet. They are the most ambitious goals we have ever set, and by working together, we are on the right path to achieve them.
I know this because of the incredible creativity, collaboration, passion and hard work I have witnessed over the past year— even in the face of big challenges. The growing consequences of the biodiversity and climate crises—extreme temperatures, devastating flooding, historic wildfires and global food shortages, to name just a few—make the importance of success feel greater than ever.
Yet everywhere I look I also see signs of hope and progress.
In the U.S., for example, our teams influenced the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is driving unprecedented investments in climate and clean energy. In multiple countries, we launched new tools to help accelerate a renewable-energy buildout that also safeguards nature. And at this year’s U.N. Climate Conference, we worked with partners to ensure that nature is front and center as countries and companies turn their climate pledges into action. These bright spots are collectively bringing TNC closer to our goal of avoiding or sequestering 3 billion metric tons of carbon emissions annually.
We also continue to make good progress toward our land protection goal, which calls for conserving 650 million hectares—or 1.6 billion acres—an area twice the size of India. This will take new levels of partnership, and that’s why we are proud to work with World Wildlife Fund, The Pew Charitable Trusts and ZOMALAB on an unprecedented collaboration called Enduring Earth. By 2030, Enduring Earth aims to protect more than half a billion hectares in partnership with at least 20 nations. And we are off to a strong start. At the December meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity—where nearly every country around the world committed to protect 30% of their lands and waters by 2030—the governments of Gabon and Mongolia announced their intentions to work with TNC and our Enduring Earth partners to implement their ambitious goals. And in a historic announcement, Canada committed to the largest-ever public-private investment in Indigenous led conservation, which will advance large-scale projects with support from TNC, our Canadian affiliate Nature United and the Enduring Earth collaboration.
In the marine realm, we worked with the government of Barbados in September to close the third transaction in our Blue Bonds for Ocean Conservation strategy, one of our signature efforts contributing to our goal of helping conserve 4 billion hectares of ocean—more than 10% of the world’s ocean area. The deal refinances a portion of the country’s sovereign debt, freeing up approximately $50 million that will support the expansion of its marine protected areas from virtually zero to 30% of its marine habitat. There is a huge opportunity right now to support countries’ conservation and climate ambitions by refinancing their sovereign debt, and TNC is uniquely positioned to help people and nature through this approach.
For our freshwater goal, we aim to conserve 1 million kilometers of rivers and 30 million hectares of wetlands and lakes. This year, we launched new water funds in Argentina and Kenya, bringing our total to 43 funds in 13 countries. Designed to help downstream water users invest in upstream conservation to improve water quality and quantity, water funds are one of our signature tools for building resilient watersheds.
Our 2030 Goals also aim to help 100 million people at severe risk of climate-related emergencies and support the leadership of more than 45 million people from local and Indigenous communities, whose well-being and livelihoods depend on nature.
Never has the urgency of supporting our conservation partners been more clear, as local and Indigenous communities have shown tremendous leadership in the future of the planet. I was proud to spend time with many communities on the frontlines of the climate and biodiversity crises over the past year. From the grasslands of Mongolia to the temperate rainforests of Canada, I learned from partners about how we can support their visions for Indigenous and community led conservation.
When I look back on these highlights, it’s clear that we cannot achieve our 2030 Goals alone. It will take partnerships across sectors and geographies. It will take elevating the leadership of the people who are best positioned to take action. And, of course, it will take our incredible community of supporters. Thank you for being part of that community, and for your generous gifts of your time, resources and partnership as together, we find a way.
Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy
Our 2030 Goals
Avoid or sequester 3 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions annually
Using the power of nature and strength of policy and markets to store carbon, support the renewable energy build-out and reduce emissions equivalent to nearly 10% of global emissions from fossil fuels.
Help 100 million people at risk of climate-related emergencies
Protecting and restoring the health of natural habitats—from mangroves and reefs to floodplains and forests—that help protect communities from storm surge, extreme rainfall, severe wildfires and sea level rise.
Conserve 4 billion hectares of ocean
Making sure the oceans thrive through new and better-managed protected areas, global-scale sustainable fishing, innovative financing and positive policy changes to how the world governs the seas.
Conserve 650 million hectares of land
Partnering with communities across the globe to restore & improve management of working lands, support the leadership of Indigenous peoples as land stewards, & conserve critical forests, grasslands and other habitats rich in carbon & biodiversity.
Conserve 30M hectares of lakes & wetlands, 1M kilometers of river systems
Promoting innovative solutions and policies that improve the quality and amount of water available in freshwater ecosystems and to communities.
Support 45 million people, partnering with local and Indigenous communities
Partnering with Indigenous peoples and other communities to learn from and support their leadership in stewarding the environment, securing rights to resources, improving economic opportunities and shaping their future.
Highlights of our Conservation Work in 2022
Learn about our successful efforts to help protect the climate, oceans, freshwater, lands and people.
Global Gains on Climate
The U.S. Takes Critical Action Toward a Low-Carbon Future
The world saw a number of significant gains on climate action in 2022, including momentum from international negotiations in Egypt and an unanticipated surge in the growth of renewable energy driven partly by a global energy crisis.
Perhaps the most significant progress this year was the passage in the U.S. of major new legislation that rearmed the country’s commitment to leading e. orts to tackle climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act, which delivers on a long list of TNC climate priorities, invests $370 billion in renewable energy, zero-carbon transportation, coastal and community resilience, and natural climate solutions. The legislation also begins to address the disproportionate effects of air pollution and climate change on historically marginalized communities.
“This is a game-changing moment for people and nature in the U.S. and beyond,” says Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy.
The new law, together with passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in 2021—which included significant investments in climate adaptation and resilience—signals the U.S.’ renewed commitment to international climate goals. The upshot will be an estimated reduction in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions of around 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, which will put the country on track to hit net-zero emissions by mid-century.
“We have a long way to go to implement this law effectively,” Morris says, “but we now have the momentum we need for a rapid transition to a clean energy economy.”
Clean Energy Siting
In a partnership with Microsoft, TNC scientists are using artificial intelligence to map the global growth of renewable energy, a key step in directing energy development away from natural areas.
Nature can deliver one third of the needed global emissions reductions, according to TNC scientists. Protecting forests, planting trees, stewarding healthy farmland soils and other conservation efforts are vital climate actions.
Growing Green Cities
TNC is partnering with a growing number of cities, including New York City, Phoenix, Arizona, and Berlin, Germany, to develop nature-based solutions that lessen the most severe effects of climate change, such as extreme heat and flooding.
Cleaning the Air Saves Lives
TNC Is Helping Farmers in India Boost Soil Health While Reducing Pollution
Northwest India has become a vast agricultural breadbasket in recent decades in part by embracing a double crop planting of summer rice and winter wheat. At harvest time, however, many farmers set fires to clear their fields of rice stalks to quickly prepare fields for planting wheat, which has contributed significantly to the region’s dangerously polluted air, most notably in nearby New Delhi.
With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, TNC is helping many of these farmers make a shift to technologies that eliminate the need for crop burning, reducing air pollution and helping to protect soil health by storing more carbon in the soil and relying less on costly fertilizer.
Twenty-three-year-old farmer Amandeep Kaur has led her own family to adopt new, cleaner farming methods on their 18-hectare farm while working in her community to advocate for reduced dependence on agricultural fires. “We don’t get to see the sun for days—a thick haze hangs over the village,” she says.
The skies may soon be a little clearer, thanks in large part to TNC’s education efforts to help farmers embrace new farm equipment designed to chop rice stubble into a beneficial mulch—replacing field burning—while at the same time planting the next crop. The program aims for at least 250,000 farmers to adopt a new no-burn approach on 1 million hectares of cropland over four years—clearing the air and keeping at least 6 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
TNC is working with community partners on O’ahu to revive a traditional Native Hawaiian land management system that supports healthy habitats and communities from the mountains to the sea.
Training Veterans to Farm Sustainably
In Kansas, the nonprofit group SAVE is training U.S. veterans to farm sustainably. TNC is the group’s partner for teaching how farmers can maintain clean water and healthy soil.
Growing Education and Sustainability in Kenya
The new Amani School—which means “peace” in Swahili—is now a beacon of learning in Kenya’s rural Laikipia County thanks to a gift from TNC’s Africa Affinity Group for Women and Girls.
Barbados Protects Its Oceans While Reducing Debt
Innovative Deal With TNC Will Protect 30% of the Country’s Waters
For a small Caribbean nation like Barbados, the pressing weight of national debt in the billions of dollars means there’s less government spending on critical basics like health care and schools. Also out of reach is the cost of preparing for increasingly powerful hurricanes and sustaining the ocean reefs that anchor a tourism-reliant economy.
Which helps to explain why Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley in 2022 struck an innovative new debt-for-nature deal with TNC. The deal, a little like refinancing a mortgage, provides the country with a significantly reduced interest rate on $150 million of its debt in exchange for an agreement to protect 30% of its ocean territory and spend $50 million of its savings on sustainably managing its marine resources.
“This Blue Bonds project will allow Barbados to secure and protect our marine environment and also help us expand our blue economy, both of which are of critical importance to our people and our very way of life,” said Prime Minister Mottley. “Our government will commit to protecting and effectively managing up to 30% of Barbados’ waters. In short, this is a game changer.”
Blue Bonds support global goals to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Similar deals in Belize and Seychelles have now generated more than $200 million for conservation and protected an area of ocean spanning more than 150,000 square miles—an area larger than Japan or Germany.
As Henry Mooney, an expert on the Caribbean economy at the Inter-American Development Bank, a partner in the Blue Bonds deal in Barbados, told the New York Times, “This is money for conservation that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
Saving Sea Turtles
Thanks to TNC’s efforts in the Solomon Islands, women are for the first time joining the ranks of rangers hired to watch over leatherback turtles—and in the process helping to reshape the role of women in the community.
New Insights for Rescuing Reefs
TNC scientists and their collaborators are working to propagate “super reefs”—corals more naturally resilient to a changing climate and warmer seas—which could provide new opportunities for restoring threatened reefs.
Coastal Resilience in the Northeast U.S.
Rising sea levels and strong storms are hurting coastlines—washing away beaches and flooding homes and businesses. Now, with TNC expertise, communities are investing in nature as a crucial line of defense.
Protecting Mongolia’s Grasslands
New Partnership Supports Large-Scale Conservation
Mongolia’s vast, 108,000-square-mile Eastern Steppe is a land of grass, great migrations and tremendous opportunity.
These grasslands are home to far-ranging animals like Mongolian gazelles. Raptors and flocks of migrating cranes soar overhead. The traditional pastoral culture of Mongolia’s 200,000 herding families—some of the last major nomadic communities on Earth—count on a seemingly endless supply of grass. While the grasslands of the Eastern Steppe are 10 times larger than Africa’s iconic Serengeti, a large share of those lands have not been protected from development.
But that’s changing, as Mongolia has pledged to protect 30% of its lands by 2030. The Mongolian government is working with TNC to meet this goal through a powerful new collaborative conservation venture called Enduring Earth.
Through broad partnerships, a commitment to permanent funding and working on a vast scale, Enduring Earth brings local communities together with governments and four leading conservation groups and foundations: The Pew Charitable Trusts, World Wildlife Fund, ZOMALAB and TNC. In Mongolia, TNC and its Enduring Earth partners are developing a $198 million initiative to help the country protect 35 million acres and deepen support for conservation on an additional 69 million acres of existing protected areas—all critical for sustaining the future of carbon-storing peatlands, free-flowing rivers and boreal forests, as well as legendary grasslands.
This Enduring Earth project in Mongolia is just one of 20 planned for priority conservation regions around the world. In every case, Enduring Earth harnesses local support and brings finance principles from the private sector to ensure lasting conservation commitments at the biggest possible scale.
California’s New Wildlife Corridor
At more than 70,000 acres, TNC’s new Frank and Joan Randall Preserve in the foothills of California’s Tehachapi Mountains protects a critical link in a West Coast wildlife corridor.
Kenya’s Black Rhino Refuge
TNC helped support the installation of 25 miles of fencing at the 57,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy in central Kenya, providing a refuge for critically endangered eastern black rhinos.
A new TNC project in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru will help farmers and ranchers sustainably increase yields while restoring soils, securing water and protecting biodiversity.
Saving Water by Saving Nature
New TNC Partnerships Quicken the Pace of Watershed Protection
Alongside partners in Cape Town, South Africa, TNC has been working to bring water back to the city’s reservoirs after drought led to terrible shortages. The work includes training local crews to clear invasive plants like acacia trees from the watershed that supplies the city—a step shown to save enough water to supply the city for two months. But this project is only the beginning in a promising new global partnership.
For more than two decades, TNC has worked with dozens of cities and communities on four continents to create water funds that bolster natural systems to protect water supplies. Now, TNC and Pegasys, a global sustainable infrastructure consulting group, are advancing more than 50 watershed projects in the next four years.
The collaboration, called the Nature for Water Facility, aims to deliver best-in-class technical assistance to local efforts.
“If we’re to meet our 2030 goals and make tangible, on-the-ground impacts for people and nature at a meaningful scale, we need to leverage the enthusiasm, local connections and capabilities of place-based partners interested in championing their own programs,” says TNC’s Justus Raepple, who directs the Nature for Water Facility.
While traditional water projects tend to focus on more costly downstream infrastructure, such as filtration plants, water funds help cities look upstream to find nature-based solutions to keep clean water flowing. This frequently involves conserving forests to protect water supplies, restoring wetlands to filter pollutants and implementing better farming practices to stop pollution at its source. Often nature can deliver better results at significantly less cost.
In cities like Nairobi, Kenya, Medellin, Colombia, Quito, Ecuador and many others, the conservation work is largely paid for by downstream utilities, local governments and industry—such as breweries and bottling plants—spurring more investment in nature-positive solutions.
Supporting Alaska’s Bristol Bay
TNC helped gather and submit more than 31,000 signatures to the EPA in support of protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the world’s largest remaining salmon fishery, from the threat of the proposed Pebble Mine.
The Value of Water
Throughout the American West, which faces a worsening drought, TNC is partnering with communities in innovative ways to conserve water for people and wildlife.
Bringing a Lake Back to Life
A TNC project in India is helping to restore the city of Chennai’s Sembakkam Lake. City residents are once again strolling its banks to watch migrating pelicans and shorebirds.
Partnering With Indigenous Communities in the Emerald Edge
A New Fund Invests in Sustainable Alternatives to Old-Growth Logging in Alaska
The Emerald Edge—the vast temperate rainforests flanking a large portion of the Pacific coasts of Canada and the U.S.—teems with a diversity of life and cultures. Its thriving forests and estuaries sustain hundreds of communities, many of them Indigenous, and stunning wildlife, including bears, salmon, wolves and whales. The region’s more than 35,000 miles of coastline and 100 million acres of lush rainforest reach from Oregon, through Washington state and British Columbia and up into the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska. Thanks to their immense carbon-storage capacity, these forests play a tremendous role in regulating the Earth’s climate.
In 2021, Sealaska, an Alaska Native corporation and the largest owner of private timberlands in Southeast Alaska, and the Tongass National Forest began to shift away from old-growth logging, which the region’s economy relied on for decades. Since then, the region’s Indigenous and community leaders and TNC have come together to create a permanent funding mechanism—the Seacoast Trust—to support the transition to sustainable economic development focused on healthy communities, forest restoration, restoring salmon runs and more. To establish the trust, Sealaska committed $10 million and TNC provided $8 million in funding from the Bezos Earth Fund and Tiffany & Co.
TNC is working throughout the Emerald Edge, including Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia, where Indigenous partners have invited TNC to help support sustainable economies and protect ecologically important areas.
“Sustainable communities make sustainable decisions. Communities at risk make short-term decisions based on immediate need,” says Anthony Mallott, president and CEO of Sealaska. “The Seacoast Trust will help create sustainability across the region through proven Indigenous stewardship.”
Buffalo Return to a Texas Tribe
A member of the Lipan Apache tribe in Texas set out to reconnect her community with its heritage. The return of bison is now helping to initiate cultural healing and restoring a timeless connection for future generations.
Elevating Indigenous Voices
TNC published a new “Voice, Choice and Action Framework” for collaboration with Indigenous and local communities that aims to guide equitable approaches to building lasting relationships and successful outcomes for people and nature.
Minnesota Partners Lead the Way
The climate action plan of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa shows how investing in renewable energy and carbon-storing trees encourages community self-reliance and nature-positive solutions.
Financial Overview for Fiscal Year 2022
Letter From the Chief Finance and Administrative Officer
In fiscal year 2022, The Nature Conservancy’s operations transitioned to a “new normal” in the third year of a global pandemic. Our staff began to return to offices, we relaxed some of the constraints on spending introduced during the pandemic, and staff and volunteers around the globe accelerated the push for decisive action in this critical decade for conservation.
This year’s financial report highlights several themes that will continue in 2023 and beyond: expanded investment in our conservation activities, innovative funding strategies and ongoing capacity building in our core operations.
Spending on conservation activities increased substantially in 2022, and purchases of land and easements more than doubled from 2021. These activities, which included large transactions in Belize and California, focused on protecting some of the most biodiverse and least conserved land, ocean and freshwater habitats on the planet; capturing carbon in forests, wetlands, grasslands and soils; and creating habitat corridors and linkages that enable myriad species to adapt to a changing climate. Investments in enabling functions such as technology, talent management and fundraising also increased to support our conservation efforts. The growth in spending reflects the organization’s commitment to maximizing our impact during this decade of heightened urgency for our mission.
As always, contributions from generous supporters are critical to making this work possible. Private fundraising of $827 million nearly matched the prior year’s record of $849 million, which included a $100 million gift from the Bezos Earth Fund, indicating growth in core fundraising. Government revenue increased by $22 million to $126 million.
Recognizing the time-sensitive threats facing our planet, TNC’s Global Board of Directors approved new financing strategies to accelerate our impact. These included a $350 million Green Bond, which provides funds enabling us to pursue urgent opportunities quickly, and new loan-financing mechanisms within our related entities to support the expansion of our innovative debt-for-nature strategy. These activities are visible on our consolidated balance sheet as an increase in notes payable, partially offset by an increase in notes receivable.
Despite a challenging market environment for stocks and bonds that, in absolute terms, decreased the value of our long term investment portfolio, returns on that portfolio outperformed our policy benchmark by 1.6% during the fiscal year. We also strategically aligned the portfolio with TNC’s 2030 Goals by avoiding investments in carbon-intensive sectors and partnering with a diverse group of leading investors in climate technology and environmental sustainability.
In the year ahead, our momentum will continue to build as we mobilize all the resources we can to achieve our ambitious 2030 Goals. Again, we are grateful for the partnership and commitment of supporters like you, who give life and energy to our quest for a healthy, resilient planet.
Chief Finance and Administrative Officer
For the fiscal years ending on June 30, 2022 & 2021 (in thousands)
Note: The figures that appear in the financial summary shown are derived from the 2022 & 2021 consolidated financial statements that have been audited and have received an unmodified opinion.
|Dues and private contributions
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|Land sales and gifts
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|Conservation activities and actions
|Purchases of conservation land and easements1
|Total Conservation Program Expenses & Purchases of Conservation Land & Easements
|General and administrative
|Fundraising and membership
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|Total Expenses & Purchases of Conservation Land & Easements
|Net Result—Support & Revenue Less Expenses & Purchases of Conservation Land & Easements2
* % of each dollar spent
|Investments held for conservation projects
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