As a Solution Space of The Natural Step Canada in partnership with the Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), the Hub is able to benefit from the expertise and experience of a series of other successful multi-stakeholder platforms such as the Canada Plastics Pact, Energy Futures Lab, Circular Economy Leadership Canada, the PLACE Centre and the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food. By operating in close proximity to SPI, a policy think tank and research network with significant experience researching the Canadian conservation finance landscape, the Hub is well-positioned to access the latest and most pertinent research and policy analysis, and SPI experts will be active participants in Hub activities.
Significantly scaling investment in nature requires an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. Private actors have access to capital, but more critically, excluding the private sector ignores the potential to reduce drivers of loss (habitat loss, land use change, agricultural expansion, unsustainable land use practices) while simultaneously narrowing the financing gap. Corporations have a vested interest in sustaining resources that they may rely on. They are increasingly recognizing the business case for investment in nature with new disclosure requirements and efforts to bring attention to the risks associated with ignoring nature.
It is important for project developers to be mindful of such concerns and seek investors and participants who understand the importance of ecological returns as much as financial ones. Conservation finance instruments do not apply in all circumstances, and it is not intended to redirect existing donor streams. Indeed, by identifying opportunities to attract new investors for revenue-generating projects, traditional donor funds can be freed up for non-revenue-generating projects.
We often get asked, "why has the Hub targeted a fivefold increase in investment, why not 10-fold or 15-fold?". The data for nature investment is relatively sparse (one of several data gaps the Hub hopes to help address), but recent global studies suggest the overall investment gap for nature to meet Sustainable Development Goals and UN nature targets is about $750 billion US per year until 2030. Meeting Canada’s targets is estimated to require a further $15-20 billion annually, which is five times the current estimated spending from mostly public and philanthropic sources. Quintupling the current investment would put Canada in a better position to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, while meaningfully contributing to reconciliation, climate resilience, and community well-being.
There are many existing examples of conservation finance instruments being used successfully in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and elsewhere in the world. However, these regions have different legal standards and private and public property considerations compared to Canada. As a result, we require made-in-Canada approaches to implement the many promising conservation finance instruments. For a more detailed look at the specific considerations for Canada, we invite you to review the short piece “What makes Canada unique when it comes to Investing in Nature?” found on our In-House Resources page.
Similarly, there are conservation finance collaborations outside of Canada that help build knowledge and relationships that support a scaling up of investment in nature. Two examples are the U.S.-based Conservation Finance Network and the Conservation Finance Alliance. The former is focused on the U.S. context and working directly with practitioners in a different regulatory environment. The Conservation Finance Alliance largely targets the Global South, where again, different considerations are at the forefront.
There are a number of ways an individual/organization can participate in the Hub, such as by receiving information about the Hub's activities and events, accessing the latest information on conservation finance in Canada and participating in meetings and working groups to come up with solutions to overcome the challenges at hand. Hub partners are welcome to propose topics for presentations or present webinars, contribute to policy discussions, add to the conservation finance map and resource library, seek collaborative opportunities with other partners, identify challenges to be addressed by collective action through the Hub, and priority setting for a conservation finance agenda in Canada.
Get in touch with us to explore how the Hub can support you and you can support others!
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