IMPACT Awards 2022

Investment team of the year: The Timberland Investment Group

Source: TIG

The team behind Timberland Investment Group (TIG) grew the investments of the business to encompass nearly three million acres in 2021.

TIG sequestered and stored 36 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent gases throughout the year.

The team launched a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) that seeks to enhance climate action and conservation outcomes in the US on nearly one million acres of TIG's portfolio.

In addition to the fruitful partnership, TIG also hired two former TNC employees

It was this activity that caught the attention of the IMPACT awards judges, with one judge praising the volume of activity over the past year and "high-profile hires to develop team capabilities".

Charlotte KaiserCharlotte Kaiser became head of impact finance after leaving her role as managing director of NatureVest, TNC's impact investment team. Caitlin Clarke joined as director of policy and external affairs after working as a senior fellow at TNC.

"The industry, together with civil society, needs to develop a consistent set of standards for measuring and demonstrating impact," Kaiser said.

"We need clear, practical, implementable rules that reduce confusion in the marketplace about what credible impact claims are, including around carbon offsetting and social and environmental impact.

In the year ahead, there is a pressing need to arrive at generally accepted, widely accessible, and consistent standards," she said.

"Investors are increasingly recognising that the forest sector is well-positioned to grow the circular bioeconomy, based on wood from sustainable working forests as a renewable and recyclable material," Kaiser said.

"Last year saw enhanced momentum for the nature-positive movement, which is shifting the paradigm from damage limitation towards exploring how economic activities could not only minimise impact, but also enhance ecosystems."

However, the supply of high-quality forest carbon investments is "not keeping pace with demand", said Mark Wishnie, chief sustainability officer at TIG.

"It will be important for investors and asset managers to maintain discipline and rigor in identifying and structuring high-quality deals that deliver real impact for the climate," Wishnie said.

"While specific guidance about how nature-positive actions translate to individual actors in the private sector is nascent, it is clear that many organisations are coming to understand that the climate and biodiversity crises are deeply interlinked, and that they have a responsibility to act on both," he said.

The team also launched a collaboration with non-profit Conservation International, who advises on impact for TIG's reforestation investment strategy in Latin America.

Together with TNC, they hosted an event at COP26 in Glasgow on the role suitably managed forests can play in combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and supporting local communities and livelihoods.

TIG also become a founding member of the Forest Investors Club, launched by John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, at COP26. The initiative is a network of public and private financial institutions committed to raising the scale of investments in restoration, conservation, sustainable forestry and green infrastructure.

In addition, TIG joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to contribute to growing an inclusive circular bioeconomy rooted in thriving forests.

Looking to the future, TIG said it intends to drive impact at scale.