Hiker atop Mt. Washington in the Olympic Mountains, Washington State.
Mt. Washington Hiker atop Mt. Washington in the Olympic Mountains, Washington State. © Ameila Merrick

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NatureVest Announces Winners of 2018 Conservation Investment Accelerator Competition To Promote Environmentally Sustainable Solutions

Second-annual competition uncovers new innovations in financing conservation

NatureVest, the conservation investing unit of The Nature Conservancy, announced today the 2018 award recipients from its Conservation Investment Accelerator program.  Now in the program’s second year, nearly $500,000 in aggregate will be awarded to four winners who each presented a project with the potential to realize meaningful and scalable conservation results by leveraging investment capital.  In addition to financial support, recipients will be offered technical assistance, training and mentorship from the NatureVest team, as well as support from members of the Accelerator Advisory Committee.

“With the second round of the Accelerator, it’s really exciting to see more ideas from more people tackling urgent problems for nature and people around the world,” said Charlotte Kaiser, NatureVest’s Acting Managing Director. “These four were selected from a pool of highly talented applicants and are particularly strong examples of financial innovation. We hope they can serve as models to be replicated in different geographies and perhaps even sectors, while proving the real impact that can be made by focusing on the value of nature.”

Providing important input on the program and feedback on applications, the Accelerator’s Advisory Committee includes representatives from NatureVest founding sponsor JPMorgan Chase & Co., Enterprise Community Partners, FB Heron Foundation, Lyme Timber Company, Rare, The Nature Conservancy, Treehouse Investments and Walmart.

Applications were received from 26 countries and covered sectors as varied as forestry, freshwater management, coastal resilience and more. To qualify, projects were required to align with The Nature Conservancy’s broad conservation priorities and operating geographies, while applications from both non-profits and for-profit organizations were encouraged.

The winners announced today are:

  • Ecological Carbon Offset Partners (EP Carbon) – Forest Carbon Works
    EP Carbon is a California-based organization that commercializes forest carbon projects through efforts like its Forest Carbon Works project, a full-service offering that helps landowners understand and access the carbon markets through smartphone-based measurement technology. Accelerator funding will support improvements to its smartphone app user experience and measurement technology.
  • LegacyWorks Group (LWG)Teton Basin Groundwater Market
    LWG is a non-profit organization that helps communities work together to take on their biggest challenges and opportunities. The Teton Basin Groundwater Market project aims to incentivize new water management practices in the headwaters of the Snake River to store water in aquifers earlier in the season, thereby ensuring sufficient water supplies for agriculture and communities later in the year when they are needed most. Accelerator funding will support the building of groundwater recharge markets and pilot transactions.
  • Fundación Natura BoliviaWatershared
    Fundación Natura Bolivia is a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life of the Bolivian population by helping communities to protect their water through the conservation of their forests. Watershared is an initiative of more than 125 municipal and regional governments across the Andes to protect their upstream water sources by conserving their forests, using Municipal Water Funds, Reciprocal Watershed Agreements and the creation of Protected Areas. Accelerator funding will support the transition of the Watershared business plan to investment capital and establish three new municipal programs that could conserve 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of forest land.
  • The Nature Conservancy, Massachusetts ChapterInnovative Funding for Nature Based Solutions on Cape Cod
    The Accelerator will fund work by the Conservancy’s Massachusetts State program to develop projects that aim to reverse chronic nitrogen pollution impacting coastal ecosystems on Cape Cod, and to protect the vital Cape Cod Aquifer that provides drinking water for communities across the Cape. Accelerator funding will support a feasibility study for a pilot with the Town of Barnstable towards identifying nature-based solutions for wastewater management across the Cape and beyond.

“Working with NatureVest on the Accelerator again this year, I am consistently inspired by the variety of creative and thoughtful structures the applicants are developing to draw more capital into the conservation space,” said Advisory Committee member Anne Amanda Bangasser, Director at Treehouse Investments. “With alarming news coming out every day about climate, it has been particularly heartening to learn more about the work these teams are doing, and to be able to help – in a small way – in their development.”

For more information, please see naturevest.org/2018-Conservation-Investment-Accelerator-Winners

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About NatureVest
The Nature Conservancy launched its impact capital strategy in 2010 with support from the Robertson Foundation that continues today, and built a global network with subsequent support from the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. In early 2014, with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co., NatureVest was launched as a concerted effort to change the way we invest in nature. Visit NatureVest on the Web at www.naturevest.org.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.