Sustainable Investment Awards 2023

Environmental fund of the year, North America: Conservation Resources

Conservation Resources' private equity agriculture strategy seeks to acquire farmland properties in the US with environmental values.

The impact-focused Conservation Resource Capital VI fund, from the $1.2 billion New Hampshire-based investment manager, aims to address the consequences of industrial agriculture. The strategy has raised $50 million, with a target of $500 million, according to an August 2022 regulatory filing.

"There is a sizeable opportunity to achieve impact outcomes by partnering with US farmers in a mutually beneficial way", said Stavros Koutsantonis, managing director of the agriculture strategy

"Our agriculture strategy focuses on ways to restore soil health and biodiversity, complementing our regenerative and organic practices," said Shea Flanagan, director of sustainability and strategy at Conservation Resources.

For example, a 700-acre organic farm Moxee Valley Orchards in Washington was acquired in 2022. Conservation Resources is working to support native bees on the farm in partnership with government bodies North Yakima Conservation District and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as non-profit Xerces Society.

"This pollinator habitat will provide large-scale community pollination benefit to neighboring farms and much-needed restoration of regional biodiversity," Conservation Resources said.

"In addition, it should reduce the need to truck in rented bees to improve orchard crop yields."

Angie Orpet, pollinator habitat specialist at Xerces Society, said: "We are very happy to be working with Conservation Resources to establish one of the largest blocks of on-farm pollinator habitat in central Washington."

Conservation Resources has implemented impact-focused investment strategies across real assets, including forestry, since it was founded in 2004.