2.3.4 Private sector: innovate and build new alliances

Numerous entry points can be leveraged to engage the private sector: In Sri Lanka, BIOFIN and the Central Bank are working with the banking system to design green financial products for biodiversity. SVX Mexico, an impact investment advisory, BIOFIN and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature have constituted the Regenerative Investments Consortium to expand impact investment in conservation. BIOFIN Costa Rica is working with a major national bank on a green securitization bond to finance and refinance land acquisitions for protected areas. BIOFIN works in the Seychelles to increase investments for biodiversity conservation from the tourism sector. As these examples demonstrate, the private sector is a vast universe of its own, that can be navigated through partnerships that may comprise millions of individual farmers or just one large multinational corporation or bank. To map private sector stakeholders, consider the following groupings:

  • Corporations including multinational companies and large domestic companies impacting biodiversity in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, forestry, etc.;
  • Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and farmers or groups of farmers in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, forestry etc.;
  • Financial sector including banks, financial intermediaries, venture capital funds, microfinance organizations, impact investors, etc.
  • Business alliances and other organizations representing the private sector such as Chambers of Commerce and Industry and their working groups, business associations, etc.
  • State-owned enterprises (SOE), i.e. either wholly or partially owned by a government and that engage in commercial activities as part of an open market system; and
  • Private landowners who own conservation areas or other areas of relevance.

How to involve the private sector?

Policy and Institutional Review Map the main sectors/enterprises impacting biodiversity and existing finance solutions involving the private sector.
Biodiversity Expenditure Review Collect data on how much major enterprises invest in biodiversity positive activities or spend on Corporate Social Responsibility
Financial Needs Assessment Identify actions within biodiversity strategy action plans that can be made investible for the private sector.
Biodiversity Finance Plan Partner to codesign finance solutions and validate the finance plan.
Finance Solutions Implementation Partner with as a responsible party for the implementation of a finance solutions, such as impact investment, Corporate Social Responsibility, etc.

Biodiversity Finance Solution

Enterprise Challenge Funds

Challenge funds have mainly been used by development partners (since the late 1990s), awarding grants/concessional finance (sometimes loans) to enterprises (NGOs can often apply as well) through competitive processes. Proposals must be both commercially viable and demonstrate significant additional social/environmental benefits. They are assessed against transparent, clearly defined criteria, with cofinance often a precondition. The global amount invested in challenge funds exceeds US$1 billion. So far, its use for biodiversity is limited.

Example: Since 2008, the US$310 million Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund has awarded funding for 267 companies in 24 countries. Some of these funds were used for organic farming investments. A company in Sierra Leone received a grant to improve the quality and quantity of cocoa production, enabling it to secure a price premium through access to the certified social/fair trade and organic markets.2