Guatemalan forest communities living within Central America’s most intact rainforest are on a journey to become sustainable and self-reliant, and they’re relying on the Maya nut, long treated as a staple food across Latin America and even beyond, to help them achieve both.
More than 220,000 Americans work in the $25 billion Restoration Economy, but few outside the sector understand how it works. Here’s how one Texas rancher tapped environmental finance to pay off debt from the expansion of his ranch and revive a degraded river that runs through it.
Contaminated water has long been part of every urban area’s growing pains, and it’s a major health hazard in rapidly industrializing parts of the developing world, which is why it’s the theme of this year’s World Water Day. Here’s how people are using nature-based solutions to manage it.
As the world celebrates the UN’s International Day of Forests, let’s pause for a moment to look just at national forests – namely, those of this nation we call the United States.
Deforestation still generates about 10 percent of all greenhouse gasses, and it’s also concentrated in certain countries, districts, and provinces. That’s why the Tropical Forest Alliance is marking the UN’s International Day of Forests with a deep dive into efforts to create forest-friendly jurisdictions.
US President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget deals the environment death by a thousand cuts scattered across at least seven and probably more agencies. Here is a list of the cuts we’ve identified so far, and an open invitation to let us know if we’ve missed anything or gotten anything wrong.
Hundreds of the world’s largest companies have publicly committed to remove deforestation from their commodity production and supply chains, but until recently they only disclosed progress on one out of three pledges. New findings from Supply Change, a Forest Trends initiative, shows a dramatic increase in disclosure and clear recognition on their part for the need to work with small farmers.
As the deadline for the lion’s share of corporate deforestation commitments looms ever closer, consumers and investors among other groups are wondering how companies are faring. Forest Trends’ Supply Change initiative and the Tropical Forest Alliance attempt to answer this question with new analyses and a webinar this Wednesday showcasing key findings.
The Forest Trends Supply Change initiative has identified more than 100 companies that plan to include smallholder farmers in their sustainability efforts, but such inclusion is easier to conceive than to achieve. Here’s how Danone, Mars, and a handful of other companies are teaming up with regional NGOs to deliver on that promise.
Thirty-eight investors representing $617.5 billion in assets have ratcheted up pressure on companies to make zero-deforestation commitments, while the UK government has seen a threefold increase in sustainable palm purchases, and the French National Assembly recently adopted a corporate supply-chain monitoring law. Here is a quick round-up of supply-chain stories you may have missed.
While there isn’t much disagreement that America’s infrastructure needs fixing, determining which areas to prioritize remains a challenge. Which investments will deliver the most bang for our buck? Steve Cochran of the Environmental Defense Fund says investing in coastal restoration presents huge cost-effective opportunities to create new jobs and safeguard national security.
In 2015, the Peruvian capital of Lima made a significant financial commitment to restore the region’s natural infrastructure to help manage its many water woes. Committing is one thing, however, deploying the finance and implementing nature based projects is quite another. To help them figure out how this should work, Lima’s water utility continues to enlist help and is creating a first-of-its-kind master plan for green infrastructure.
Two key committees of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on the “social cost of carbon” this week, but they ended up focusing more on the cost of fixing the mess than on the cost of letting it run rampant. Rachel Cleetus of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains why that’s a big mistake that could cost us all dearly.
Imagine a world where African farmers raise their standard of living by shifting towards sustainable agriculture that mitigates climate change – while cashing in on this shift via ecosystem service payments. If you can’t imagine it, drop in on the real deal: in the Kiambu District of Central Kenya, where a groundbreaking pilot project is testing new financing mechanisms that capture carbon in soil.
From 2010 through 2015, environmental NGO VI Agroforestry leveraged carbon finance to help 30,000 Kenyan farmers develop more sustainable practices. With millions of others still in poverty, however, the organization needed to scale up further, yet it was leery of taking on market risk to do so. Could a for-profit impact investment fund be the solution?
Tata Yawanawa was a spiritual leader of Brazil’s Yawanawa indigenous people championing conservation and sustainability while maintaining cultural and spiritual traditions. He passed away in December at the age of 103. Here, Forest Trends’ President Michael Jenkins reflects on his life and legacy.
Makanda Khisa needed to recruit 60,000 farmers for the new Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project, and he knew that the early movers would set the tone for those to follow. Here’s how two of those early movers, Ignatius Sifuna Nabutola and Prisca Mayende, helped him get the project off the ground.
Canada’s forests have long provided timber for all of North America, and they still do. But with the advent of climate change, they can also serve another function: carbon sequestration. Here’s how one small town and two indigenous peoples tapped carbon markets to manage their forest sustainably for generations to come.
Aggressive farming devours topsoil and depletes the naturally-occurring carbon and nitrogen, while agroforestry infuses those nutrients into the ground. In 2010, the environmental NGO VI Agroforestry embarked on a groundbreaking experiment to see if it could tap carbon markets to promote sustainable agriculture.
A group of leading Republicans, including former secretaries of State and Treasury, have called for a carbon tax on fossil fuels, and they even had a meeting last week with President Trump, whose own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also advocated a carbon tax while running Exxon. The president himself hasn’t weighed in on the issue, and Congressional Republicans don’t seem enthused, but it’s a proposal we should all be reading.
Almost all procurement managers now look for sustainably-produced material in their purchases, according to a new survey – which comes as analysis of corporate deforestation commitments shows a dramatic rise in disclosure. Also, companies that hopped early onto the sustainability bandwagon say it’s paying off financially.
The Skoll Foundation is enlisting leading social entrepreneurs to sign an open letter to President Trump urging him to rescind his Executive Order banning individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. Here is the letter, and how you can sign.
President Donald Trump and many Congressional Republicans say they’ll create jobs by rolling back environmental regulation, but their current trajectory could have the opposite effect: killing more than 220,000 jobs while eradicating endangered species, poisoning water, and accelerating climate change. There is, however, a proven way to reduce regulations without hurting jobs or the environment.
Dozens of climate and conservation initiatives are now working their way through the US court system, and some are destined to land in the Supreme Court. That means Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s high-court nominee, could play a major role in determining US policy. His environmental record is thin, but he’s expressed a clear distrust of government agencies.
This month’s Carbon Chronicle showcases Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report, which reveals steep growth in private investments for conservation. Meanwhile, South Pole Group acquired an Australian carbon offset business growing its global sustainability presence, and an Alaska Native group gets active in California’s carbon market.
Private investment in conservation grew 62% in the last two years but it’s still a drop in the bucket considering the size of capital markets. Mandates enforcing protections for nature can help these investments grow, but the United States’ current political administration appears more interested in unraveling environmental regulation than enforcing it.
US President Donald Trump wants to launch an infrastructure building binge, and he even says he’ll “expedite” important projects by eliminating environmental checks. Without proper climate planning, however, the administration could find itself spending all of its available resources fixing broken, inundated or degraded public assets.
The Yawanawa and Surui indigenous tribes of the Brazilian Amazon are in the midst of a renaissance that involves reclaiming their lands and cultural identities. And in an effort to set the record straight on their own unique story, the peoples recently published two books documenting their histories in their own words.
Palm oil, the huge commodity hidden in products on just about every aisle of the grocery store, is driving deforestation in some of the world’s most biodiverse and carbon-rich forests, but it doesn’t have to be this way, environmental groups say. And today, some of those groups are launching reporting guidance pushing raw transparency to help companies take the deforestation out of their palm oil purchases.
President Donald Trump plans to revive the rural economy by rolling back environmental regulations, but his policies could cost farmers and forest owners dearly. Here’s a look at some of the farmer-friendly environmental initiatives that could end up on the endangered list – if they aren’t there already.
Ecosystem Marketplace is hosting two webinars showcasing findings from its latest report, State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016. The report reveals significant growth in the field as more private sector actors are realizing the financial value of investments in clean water, biodiversity and food and fiber production.
US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a massive rollback of federal environmental regulations, ostensibly in the name of prosperity. Carbon markets, however, have progressed despite lack of federal action, helping California reduce emissions in a booming economy. Here is why that’s good news for owners of private forests.
Farms have long swapped water rights among themselves or with urban areas, but new research out last month reveals conservationists are now leveraging these tools for environmental purposes – such as leasing irrigation rights but using the water to replenish the watershed to restore habitat for endangered species and help secure clean water for communities.
Chinese President Xi Jinping made headlines around the world when he moved to fill the leadership gap on trade and commerce that opened in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. But Xi also spoke on climate change, and he’s far from alone. Here’s why events in the United States aren’t likely to derail progress on climate any time soon.
US Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have kicked off the 47th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders from business and government aim to stem the rising tide of populist sentiment and forge global cooperation on climate change.
Conservation Investments aim to generate both a financial return and a verifiable environmental benefit, and impact investors funneled more than $8.2 billion into them between 2004 and 2015. They also, however, left $3.1 billion on the table. Could small farmers generate the returns they’re looking for?
Conservation investing is on the rise and experienced dramatic growth after 2013 as total committed private capital climbed from $5 billion to just over $8 billion, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report, State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016. It’s recognition of forests, wetlands and reefs as smart investments, authors say, and signals growing interest among even mainstream investors.
The “Low-Carbon USA” movement continues to gain traction as over 600 private sector entities including well-known consumer giants such as Nike and IKEA recently reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. The group is also urging the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump to advance low-carbon policies and investments.
Ecosystem Marketplace published more than 200 stories last year, and most of those focused on forests or forest carbon finance. Today we wind down the year-end retrospectives with a look at the pivotal stories in forests and forest carbon.
Private sector engagement on sustainable supply chains and reducing deforestation was in ample supply in 2016 as the world started to mobilize behind the Paris Climate Agreement. However, greenwashing and unfulfilled corporate pledges remain valid concerns as the 2020 deadline for many companies looms ever closer, and much remains to be done.
North America’s Sioux People caught the attention of the world this year by defending their drinking water at Standing Rock, North Dakota; but indigenous people have been defending Mother Earth for centuries, and the Sioux weren’t the only ones to make gains in 2016.
As drought, flooding and pollution made headlines year-round in 2016, some experts and organization pushed for a return to the basics, solutions that mimicked nature or protected water at its source, while also developing innovative new finance models to fund the mounting costs water management requires.
In 2016, proponents of mainstreaming biodiversity pushed for further integration during international talks and elsewhere while new research found serious declines in global biodiversity. But user-friendly maps, also published this year, revealed that markets dealing in wetlands and endangered animals are growing and have been growing for some time signaling their potential to help reverse the dismal trends on wildlife loss.
After years of negotiations, the global climate community has aligned behind efforts to protect and restore forests, which has enormous potential for fighting climate change. Here, Jason Funk of the Center for Carbon Removal explains how 2016, while not a year of high-profile decision-making, may still be a year for the history books.
Conservationists have roundly slammed most of US President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, but the nod to Ryan Zinke for Secretary of Interior is something of a mixed bag. Some working in species conservation are focusing on the economic benefits derived from ecosystem markets in order to promote securing a proper balance between ecosystems and the environment.
Everything, it seems, comes from the rainforest – from the leather in your shoes to the wood fibers in your flannel shirt. Some are harvested sustainably, but many aren’t – and until recently, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference. Here’s why that’s changing, and how you can accelerate the process.
Mayors from cities across the United States are exploring nature-based infrastructure – such as mangroves for coastal protection and wetlands for flood management – as protection from rising sea levels. Funding for green city projects, however, remains elusive even as more than $25 billion flows into such projects worldwide.
As the global water crisis mounts, countries, cities and businesses funneled billions of dollars into market-based investments that conserve and restore forests, mangroves, wetlands and grasslands to secure reliable and clean water, says Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report tracking watershed investments, released today.
Veteran Chicago hydrologist Don Hey has been arguing for decades that his region could slash its water control costs by taking better care of swamps and floodplains. Local politicians are finally listening – and supporting him on a massive market-based wetland restoration effort that could help ratchet up the scale of mitigation banking across the United States.
Corporate exposure to “forest risk commodities” like soy and timber is murky and opaque, but new research shows it could top $900 billion per year. Now, as institutional investors push companies in all sectors to come clean on their climate-change liabilities and exposure, their impacts on forests could become clearer as well.