Now Collecting Data For The Watershed Investments 2016 Report

March was a big month for water stewardship as consumer-facing companies made commitments to watershed health and natural infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Ecosystem Marketplace water team is collecting data for its State of Watershed Investments 2016 report, due out this fall, and encouraging green infrastructure and watershed protection projects to complete the water survey by May 13.

This article was originally posted in the Water Log newsletter.31 March 2016 | Greetings! If you’re reading this news brief, odds are you’re involved in a project using innovative finance for watershed protection or green infrastructure. Or you have been in the past, or know someone who is.

If this is the case, please take our 2016 water survey! Right now, we’re collecting data for a State of Watershed Investment 2016 report, due out this fall. Your participation in this survey – which gathers information on global activity in 2014 and 2015 – allows us to track the scope, size, and direction of these programs. It also provides critical on-the-ground information about project design that will help guide Forest Trends in its efforts to develop timely, relevant research and tools for practitioners.

Or, if you need the business case: Organizations that share 2014 or 2015 transaction data can choose to be listed in the report’s global directory of project developers. Each initiative also has the opportunity for its project to be featured on Watershed Connect’s Project Inventory, which this year will be transferred to the Forest Trends website and given higher visibility. Respondents that choose to be recognized will also be mentioned right here in The Water Log.

Speaking of business, March was a big month for water stewardship and other private sector-driven commitments to natural infrastructure. General Mills announced ambitious plans for watershed management, Caterpillar published a new white paper on natural infrastructure restoration, and the CEO Water Mandate launched a new blog dedicated to water stewardship.

Others are thinking about how to make the most of this surge in private sector interest. A GreenBiz article considers how the public sector can smooth the way for risk-averse private finance. The US Government recently announced $260M in funding for cross-sectoral partnerships for conservation. And a dispatch from a recent private finance roundtable in Zurich floats the idea of a natural infrastructure financing facility to link projects with capital.

We also have some great job listings this month – take a look.

Happy reading!

— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

For questions or comments, please contact [email protected]

Help Wanted: Investing In Water Conservation Contributes To Jobs And LivelihoodsOne way or another, water is wrapped up in essentially every job on the planet, which is why for this year’s World Water Day, the United Nations decided to focus on the connection between sustainable and clean water supplies and productive employment, finding payments for ecosystem services programs and investments in conservation can help.– Read it at Ecosystem Marketplace.
Brazil’s Green Municipalities: What Works? What Doesn’t? Why?In 2008, the Brazilian administrative district of Paragominas had one of the highest rates of deforestation in the Amazon. By 2010, it had turned itself around and become a template for “Green Municipalities” across Brazil. Since then, efforts to replicate the success have yielded mixed results and generated valuable insights into what it takes to slow deforestation in the Amazon. This is second in a series from EM.– Keep reading here.

How Public Sector Actions can Spur Private Sector Spending in Conservation

Recent research finds ample private investment interest in conservation, but investments in environmental markets, like water quality trading, are still particularly vulnerable to policy risk. Because of that, limited opportunities with appealing risk and return profiles exist, preventing funds from flowing. But Peter Weisberg of Oregon’s The Climate Trust says public funds can help minimize this risk through creative methods. He uses an example from the carbon world: the World Bank’s mechanism to assure methane mitigation projects of a minimum carbon price.– GreenBiz has the story.
Chinese Provinces choose Eco-Compensation to Manage Shared Waters

Two provinces in China agreed to develop an eco-compensation system to manage trans-provincial waters. Guangdong and Fujian Provinces will co-finance improvements to water quality in the headwaters of the Jiuzhoujiang and Tingjiang Rivers so the water flowing downstream is clean. A South China Normal University professor explained the “eco-compensation” concept in a recent interview, saying both upstream and downstream actors share in the responsibility of maintaining the watersheds.

Get the full story here.
US Government Uses the Buddy System to Improve Ecosystem Health

The US Department of Agriculture, through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, has allocated up to $260M for partnerships between the government and landowners and entities including private companies, non-profits, and indigenous tribes. The funds will support coordinated efforts to improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health and wildlife habitat.

Learn more.
Addressing Developing Country Vulnerability in Water-Energy-Food Nexus Policy

A South African-produced report explores the dynamics of the water-energy-food nexus, not only exploring the three sector’s interactions but looking to expose risks and vulnerabilities from a developing country perspective. The report, which the Sustainability Institute and School of Public Leadership in Stellenbosch wrote for the UK Department of International Development, stressed the importance of integrated policy frameworks and also laid out policy recommendations for both urban and agrarian areas.

Learn more here.

General Mills looks Beyond the Factory Wall with New Pledges of Water Stewardship

General Mills, the giant food company famous for its cereal selection, is in the process of shifting its corporate sustainability strategy to focus on the entire breadth of its supply chain, rather than just within its facilities. The company has ambitiously pledged to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2025 while also making new commitments to water stewardship, focusing on overall watershed health in such key bodies as the Los Angeles and San Joaquin watersheds in California, the Snake River basin in Idaho and the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

Read about it on the CEO Water Mandate blog.
Read a press release from General Mills about its recent commitments.
How Mangroves and Markets are Building Climate Resilience and Livelihoods in Vietnam

The Mangroves and Markets Project, a payment for ecosystem services initiative in Vietnam, aims to conserve mangrove forests, in order to shore up coastal resilience while building sustainable livelihoods for shrimp farmers. Participating farmers saw their profitability increase and forestland rose along with it. Now the project, a brainchild of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, moves into the next phase, which aims to expand international certification of the organic shrimp the project is producing.

Vietnam News has coverage.
Caterpillar Is Ready to Get to Work on Restoration

Caterpillar, the US company known for selling machinery, is paying attention to the link between global ecosystem restoration needs and its own business. Caterpillar recently published a white paper detailing its observations on the subject as a company working in the infrastructure industry, and also its recommendations for natural infrastructure restoration moving forward.

Read it here.
A Virtual Water Cooler for the Stewardship Crowd

The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate initiative launched the “Water Stewardship Leaders Blog” this month as a place for stakeholders to learn about best practices and upcoming related events. It’s an outlet for experts to discuss the issues and challenges of water and water stewardship, the head of the CEO Water Mandate says, and will hopefully foster robust conversation among those involved.

Take a look here.
Water Climate Bonds Standard Receives High-Level Recognition

At the US White House Water Summit, held the administration of President Barack Obama on World Water Day, the Climate Bonds Initiative’s new Water Climate Bonds Standard was singled out for recognition. The standard provides investors with science-based criteria for investing in a water-related project and is meant to promote interest in sustainable water investments.

Learn more here.
Nutrient Management: Try Before You Buy

The Environmental Defense Fund says one way to achieve both clean water and highly productive agricultural systems in the US is through efficient fertilizer use, and so to encourage and simplify efficiency, the EDF developed NutrientStar. It’s a Consumer Report of sorts for fertilizer management tools, an independent science-based review program that assesses different tools producers use to improve their fertilizer management.

Learn more from National Geographic.
Private Finance Talks Natural Infrastructure #SquadGoals in Zurich

A recent blog post by Renat Heuberger, CEO of the South Pole Group, and Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme, considers the potential of private finance to back global-scale investment in natural infrastructure. The usual challenges are noted – including investors’ desire to see the business case, and the small scale of projects necessitating some degree of aggregation – but also some new solutions like a natural infrastructure financing facility. In the end, one banker’s tagline at a recent roundtable sums up the core issue: Should I invest in the world I’m in? Or the one I want?

Read it here.
Senior Consultant, Sustainable Investments

The South Pole Group – London, UK or Stockholm, Sweden or Berlin, Germany

Based in London, Stockholm or Berlin, the South Pole group offers comprehensive sustainability solutions and services to the challenges of climate change, forestry and land-use, water and energy to mitigate risks and grasp opportunities.  The senior consultant will plan and manage consultancies related to sustainable investments, leading assignment -specific teams of internal and external experts, as well as developing new consultancy mandates.  The successful candidate will have at least 5 years of experience in project management and business development and a degree in Economics or Sustainable Finance.

Learn more here.

Environmental Incentives – South Lake Tahoe CA or Denver CO, USA

The Associate will support one or a combination of Environmental Incentives’ Practice Areas including Wildlife & Land which designs and implements innovative conservation solutions, and Water which aims to ensure water bodies meet community goals.  Environmental Incentives designs performance-driven approaches to conservation, aligning public and private sector investment objectives to create resilient water, land and wildlife resources.

Learn more here.
Program Associate

The Conservation Finance Network – Washington DC, USA

The Conservation Finance Network (CFN) is a multi-institutional effort based at Island Press in Washington, D.C. This program seeks to accelerate the pace and scale of land and resource conservation, restoration, and stewardship in the U.S. through the application of innovative financial tools and strategies. By delivering intensive trainings and building a network of professionals from across the conservation, finance, and philanthropic sectors, CFN helps to increase the financial resources deployed for conservation. We are seeking a Program Associate to assist with all aspects of the program, including training activities, cross-sector convenings, strategic communication, website management, and fundraising. The Program Associate will work closely with the Program Director and CFN Advisory Board to strengthen CFN’s overall mission.

Learn more here.
Summer Research Assistant

Forest Trends – Washington DC, USA

Forest Trends is an international not-for-profit environmental conservation organization based in Washington, D.C. that works to achieve sustainable forest management and conservation by capturing the value for ecosystem services, and expanding the value of forests and other natural ecosystems to society. We are seeking a research assistant to support Forest Trends’ partnership with the Government of Peru to develop a strategy for achieving improved agricultural outputs alongside verified environmental conservation, specifically in support of achieving Peru’s 2021 goal of achieving net zero deforestation. The research assistant will support the preparation of a report documenting business and finance models that have successfully engaged smallholder agricultural producers and resulted in improved livelihoods, agricultural outputs, and forest conservation. The report will draw on cases worldwide and will be analyzed to extract relevant lessons for the Peruvian context. The research assistant will work closely with experts from Forest Trends’ Public-Private Co-Finance Initiative and partners in Peru to produce the report. The work will span approximately 3 months, from mid-May to mid-August. Exact start and end dates are flexible. This is a temporary full-time assignment.

Learn more here.

National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Headed to Texas in 2016, we invite you to join us at this incredible conference on mitigation, conservation & ecosystem banking! Entering its 19th year, this Conference is well established as a “must attend event” for those in ecosystem banking, offering sessions for the very advanced to those new to banking. Founded in 1997 with a diverse steering committee of leaders in the regulatory, banking and environmental community, this is the first – and only – National hands-on conference focused on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking to protect wetlands, endangered species and other natural resources. It is well known for bringing together key stakeholders to explore policy & practice, share successes and failures, and learn about trends, science and emerging markets. 10-13 May 2016. Fort Worth TX, USA.

Learn more here.
World Water Week 2016: Water for Sustainable Growth

World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. Last year was the jubilee year for both the Week and the Stockholm Water Prize. The theme was Water for Development. In 2015, over 3,000 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated in the Week. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. We believe water is key to our future prosperity, and that together, we can achieve a water wise world. 27 August – 2 September 2016. Stockholm, Sweden. 

Learn more here.
EcoSummit 2016

The 5th International EcoSummit Congress, EcoSummit 2016 – Ecological Sustainability: Engineering Change, will centre on the ecology of terrestrial ecosystems and all habitats that are integrated within those ecosystems, including river networks, wetlands and coastlines. Focus will be placed on fragile ecosystems that are more likely to suffer the consequences of climate change and anthropogenic pressure. However, in the current context of an increasing world population, changes in social habit (increasing world consumerism) and climate change, it is evident that agriculture is being intensified but with a growing awareness of the need to preserve and use sustainably world resources. Therefore, we will also address how terrestrial restoration can be carried out when the massive demand for food results in fragile ecosystems, forests and marginal lands being turned over to agriculture. 29 August – 1 September 2016. Montpelier, France. 

Learn more here.
2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Council has selected Hawaii, United States of America, as the host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress – the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world’s most pressing environment and development challenges. 1-10 September 2016. Hawaii, USA.

Learn more here.
IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is the global event for water professionals. It offers new insights into how pioneering science, technological innovation and leading practices shape the major transformation in water management that is underway. It draws over 5,500 of the top water, environment and related professionals from more than 100 countries from across the water sector, including thought leaders from within and beyond the water sector. 9-13 September 2016. Brisbane, Australia.

Learn more here.
ACES 2016

ACES: A Community on Ecosystem Services represents a dynamic and growing assembly of professionals, researchers, and policy-makers involved with ecosystem services. The ACES 2016 Conference brings together this community in partnership with Ecosystem Markets and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP), providing an open forum to share experiences, methods, and tools for assessing and incorporating ecosystem services into public and private decisions. The focus of the conference is to link science, practice, and sustainable decision-making by bringing together the ecosystem services community from around the United States and the globe. ACES 2016 will bring together leaders in government, NGOs, academia, Native American tribes, and the private sector to advance the use of ecosystem services science and practice in conservation, restoration, resource management, and development decisions. We hope you will make plans to join more than 500 ecosystem service stakeholders in this collaborative discussion to advance use of an ecosystem services framework for natural resource management and policy. Deadline to submit a proposal for a session is March 31st! 5-9 December 2016. Jacksonville FL, USA.

Learn more here.

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