Bankers at Sea- Building on established and creating new markets

There are some well-established markets aimed towards biodiversity conservation. Eco-tourism is “the fastest growing sector of the largest industry on earth” (ecotourism.org) it has an annual export amount of up to $100 billion and is expected to continuously grow with a rise in biodiversity awareness. Organic food is another sector in which we are quite familiar with here in Portland. The market value for organic food reported as $25 billion in 2003 and as more and more food consumers are shifting to a “healthier” choice this number is expected to more than double (ifoam.org).

It is important to also look into creating new biodiversity markets. Bio-diversity friendly carbon storage is useful and needed as, according to prototypecardonfund.org, 18% of approved PCF emission reduction projects are biomass related. There are many incentives given out for watershed protection. Over 7 million hectare of fragile cropland was reforested in China under the $40 billion Sloping Land Conversion Program (cifor.cgiar.org).

There is a wide menu of public and private finance mechanisms to fund projects, build on established markets, create new markets and raise awareness on biodiversity. Public funding sources such as tax breaks or subsidies for private conservation investments are available, as well as international development assistance (e.g environmental aid, debt-for-nature swaps, contribution to GEF or trust funds). Private non-profit sources include merchandising, social marketing and lotteries while private for-profit sources include direct foreign investment, venture and private capital as well as local self-finances business investment. There are also biodiversity-friendly products and services such as organic agriculture, sustainable non-timber forest products and certifies forest and fisheries products.

Wetland Banking and Conservation Banking and two known examples of biodiversity banking in the United States. Wetland Banking (Clean Water Act) is aimed for “no net loss” of wetland as a result of land development. For every hectare of wetland destroyed, a hectare or more of comparable wetland must be restored or recreated.

Conservation Banking (Endangered Species Act) is aimed to ensure recovery of threatened and endangered species by securing habitat. For every hectare of habitat destroyed, developers must pay a compensation. These compensations may involve the purchase of credits from approved conservation bankers, or “in-lieu-fee” payments to environmental agencies to support species conservation efforts in the service area.


By: Raghda Al Mulhim 

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