As a nature-based investor in the global south, Conservation International Ventures (CIV) has 29 investments in nature-positive businesses across 13 nature-based sub-sectors in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
CIV is an investment fund that provides loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises that operate in the forests, oceans and grasslands where Conservation International works.
The fund, which has $18.7 million of assets under management (AUM), has closed on 12 investments ($5.1 million) across the alternative animal feed, bioplastics, sustainable fisheries, upcycled textiles, and ecotourism sectors in the past year.
According to Conservation International, the investments in the period under consideration for the IMPACT awards created 210 nature-based, full-time jobs, with 61,754 hectares of land protected across 9 countries, and improved over 1,500 livelihoods
IMPACT awards judges praised CIV for its "innovation" and for "finding meaningful ways to invest in nature-based businesses, which will be critical to addressing our climate and biodiversity crises".
CIV's model is to invest early and in targeted underserved sectors – from seeding a female-focused oceans accelerator in Asia, to managing an African Conservancies Fund in Kenya, which won last year's 'Impact initiative of the year – Africa'. This is also the second year in a row that CIV has won 'Asset manager of the year: small'.
Conservation International said adopting an impact investing approach allows CIV to make investments in companies considered "too risky" for more conventional venture capital investors, citing its investment in social enterprise Coast 4C to support the rebuild of coastal infrastructure for smallholder seaweed farmers following Typhoon Rai in the Philippines as an example of this.
When measuring impact, CIV has drawn on its history of conservation and climate science to develop a science-led 'Impact Pathways' approach to identify and track the natural capital, sustainable production, and human well-being outcomes of its investments.
This approach seeks to identify causal links between investments and outcomes by applying a common framework for theories of change.
A two-tier monitoring and evaluation structure measures both headline indicators and project-level metrics.
"We're extremely proud of what we have achieved with CI Ventures and the quality of the portfolio. We are investing in great companies and achieving sizeable environmental and social impact as a result," commented Bjorn Stauch, vice president of CIV.
"Winning this award again is recognition of the value of combining the cutting-edge climate and conservation science of Conservation International with a disciplined approach to capital allocation."
Conservation International protects the nature that people around the world rely on for food, fresh water, and livelihoods. It achieves this through the application of science, policy and partnerships, employing 1,000 people in 30 countries.