To keep pace with our growing population, we need more food, more water and more energy. It’s a mantra that has become near and dear to just about every sector.
But how do we scale up our most promising solutions to feed and fuel the world? That question dominated the dialogue at the recent Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit.
The answer is to mobilize. Investors know this. It’s how they realize the full value of their money— by putting it into play for impact. The same holds true for science; it can’t just sit on the shelf. By taking scientific knowledge from theory to practice, we set in motion opportunities for widespread change.
And when you couple investment dollars with innovative scientific approaches, the chances of bringing new, larger solutions to some of our most complex global issues get that much better.
Powerful models of this type of innovative science and finance work hand in hand. For example, Conservation International’s Verde Ventures Fund provides loans to small- and medium-sized businesses, such as coffee farms with sustainable growing practices. Or Althelia Ecosphere, which is investing debt and equity capital in sustainable land use activities that generate environmental assets, such as carbon credits and certified commodities.
Or take the grasslands of Northern Kenya, where impact investing has created a market for sustainably managed cattle that ultimately boosts protection of wildlife habitat and strengthens community livelihoods.
A sustainable economy so that people and nature can thrive
There are tight connections between the health of the landscape and its ability to support people. When livestock grazing is too intense, it reduces the land’s productivity, which in turn reduces its ability to support local livelihoods.
By improving land management, including grazing practices, conservationists can help local communities maintain healthy grasslands that support both local communities and wildlife.
In the rangelands of Northern Kenya, wildlife and people live side by side. Protecting elephants and rhinoceroses and other endangered species such as Grévy's zebra isn’t a matter of creating a new park or conservation area. Instead, conservation comes from effective stewardship of the land by local communities.