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Mark Tercek

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Global leaders are beginning to understand that protecting nature is the smartest investment we can make. The scope of conservation is changing, and traditional funding for our work will not be enough.

The Paris Climate Agreement, this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals have all placed nature-based solutions at the center of the discussion about how we can work together to tackle the world's most pressing challenges.

To build off of this momentum, we need to find innovative ways to finance and scale up our work. While philanthropic gifts and government funds are vital to achieving our goals – providing core equity, so to speak – they are limited. We are hugely grateful to our generous supporters, but to truly accelerate conservation progress, we need to harness new and larger sources of funding.

TNC is structuring more and more conservation projects in ways that generate environmental, social and often financial returns. For instance, we've established water funds to improve urban water quality in South America, leveraged impact investments to scale up sustainable ranching in Kenya and worked with island nations in the Indian Ocean to restructure debt in ways that pay for climate change resilience projects.

These innovative financing models – and the others captured in this collection – are far from perfect, but they're a great start as we work to figure out how to finance and solve the big challenges of our time.

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