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Response to "Making Conservation Finance Investable"

Mitigation bank credits are a proven way to invest in environmental conservation efforts.

Compliance-driven offsets are only one of the conservation asset classes described in the article by Fabian Huwyler, Juerg Kaeppeli, Katharina Serafimova, Eric Swanson, and John Tobin, but they are a critical piece of the conservation finance puzzle and one of the few that are now sufficiently developed to allow dispassionate investment that meets fiduciary requirements.

Ecosystem Investment Partners, a private equity fund manager that I work at, has demonstrated one successful model for delivering attractive risk adjusted returns to institutional and private investors in the United States. EIP II, the firm’s second fund, closed in May of 2012 at $181 million, and is now investing in large and environmentally significant properties in need of ecological restoration across the country. Returns are generated by earning land-based offsets through protection, financial assurance, and ecological uplift projects known as mitigation banks.

Mitigation bank credits are recognized by federal laws as a preferred source of compliance for unavoidable development impacts. They provide a cost-effective and efficient means of compliance for infrastructure and development projects of all kinds. These types of regulatory driven offsets are an essential part of the larger conservation finance picture as the US population quickly climbs toward 400 million and the country moves towards energy independence.

Mitigation banking markets have been around for more than 20 years. Approximately 1 million acres of wetlands and other aquatic resources have been restored with private money on private land under Clean Water Act offset programs alone. As the regulatory process has matured, infrastructure and development projects have more predictable and reliable options for achieving compliance that actually produce much higher value ecological results. Investors can now evaluate a significant track record of strategies, projects, and transactions.

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COMMENTS

  • James Cook's avatar

    BY James Cook

    ON April 23, 2014 09:51 PM

    How is Melissa Bos connected to theft of conservation funds under conservation international?

  • Joann Trennis's avatar

    BY Joann Trennis

    ON April 23, 2014 10:06 PM

    It is understood that Melissa Bos illegally misallocated funds for conservation projects in Hawaii for her own personal use, including fraud, including employing and coercing staff to perform babysitting for her children as well as housekeeping, while paying them a salary from project funds. Employees spoke up and revealed this behavior. Melissa Bos and conservation international then made an agreement that she would quietly step away from her lucrative program in exchange for them not pressing criminal charges. Immediately after Melissa Bos received her bonus, or keep quite money, she escaped to Australia leaving behind a tarnished reputation, and valudated mistrust. She violated the trust of the a Hawaiian people, for money. Where did all the conservation money go? There was something like $10 million us dollars involved. Why do we spend money on conservation finance projects when corruption within the conservation finance community like that of Melissa Bos is so rank!

  • Joshua K.'s avatar

    BY Joshua K.

    ON April 23, 2014 10:18 PM

    Please, don’t let Melissa Bos involvement in finance fraud tarnish the respected work and characters of the likes of Joe Whitworth and Susan Silver. Sometimes people like Melissa Bos do awful terrible and selfish things that have impacts on those whose motives are honest and heartfelt. I can assure you that Melissa Bos and her involvement with conservation international and her global fish trust strategy in Hawaii it’ll finance of conservation systems is an isolated incedent. Please, know the facts as it pertains to her and conservation international internal workings, and don’t punish the community. I call for more transparency of organizations that harbor these individuals, as these organizations have tremendous resources and financial clout. Thank you,
    Joshua K.

  • Joshua K.'s avatar

    BY Joshua K.

    ON April 23, 2014 10:27 PM

    Ricardo, what exactly did Melissa Bos do, and what can it tell us about the complexities of financial system influence on resource management? Specifically, are there sufficient safeguards in place to protect the interests of stakeholders from corporate conservation and financial interests if those who so cheaply buy there way through the proverbial back door?
    Thanks!

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