Launched on 22 October 2021, the Nature Finance Impact Hub aims to help build market confidence in nature-positive projects by pinpointing their financial and environmental benefits.
With new goals for restoring nature and kerbing climate change being discussed at the UN’s biodiversity and climate conferences (COP15 and COP26), significant private capital will need to be invested in nature-based climate solutions alongside public and charitable funding. However, the lack of comparable data about the performance of nature-positive projects remains a barrier to attracting investment and getting new projects off the ground.
The new Nature Finance Impact Hub aims to address this by providing instant access to data and benchmarks from existing projects, using comparable financial and environmental metrics. It has been developed by West Midlands-centred sustainability scaleup Accelar Limited, in collaboration with the UK green finance community.
Accelar’s co-founder Chris Fry explains: “The Impact Hub quantifies how innovative, nature-positive projects can deliver return on investment alongside significant benefits for biodiversity, decarbonisation, water management and eco-tourism. It is still relatively early days, but with fast growing interest in this area we look forward to working with the financial and environmental communities so that insightful data can be shared. We hope that this will contribute to a snowball effect, encouraging investment in nature to expand rapidly in the future.”.
The Impact Hub can be accessed at www.accelerategreenfinance.com. For the initial launch, the hub already contains data on projects from nine countries covering 11 different kinds of societal benefits from nature, which are known as ecosystem services. Over 40% of the projects address either biodiversity or carbon as an ecosystem service. The diversity built into the hub also enables many other ways of generating revenue and benefiting nature to be highlighted.
Two recent reports have revealed the investment gap to secure key nature-related outcomes in the UK and globally. The Finance Gap for UK Nature report (October 2021) commissioned by the Green Finance Institute estimates that between £44bn and £97bn private investment will be required in addition to public sector funding over the next ten years for the UK to meet its net zero and nature-positive ambitions.
The State of Finance for Nature report (May 2021) from the United Nations Environment Programme sets out that if the world is to meet the climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets, it needs to close a $4.1 trillion financing gap in nature by 2050.