Jan 25, 2018
The author

Natalya Skiba

The CPIC semi-annual meeting on January 11 was hosted by Cornell University at their Roosevelt Island Campus, and welcomed over 70 people, including a wide selection of bank representatives, financial intermediaries and advisors. There was also a strong new contribution from international NGOs especially Conservation International and WWF.

John Tobin (Cornell) opened the meeting, thanking everyone in attendance and acknowledging Cornell students for their invaluable support in organizing the event. He welcomed new CPIC members who have joined over the past year: Seale & Associates, Wilderness Markets, Ocean Assets Institute, Terra Global Capital, Blue Finance, Restore America’s Estuaries, Baker McKenzie, Goodwin Procter.

In her introduction, Jane Feehan (EIB) described the evolution and accomplishments of CPIC to date, noting the importance of this initiative and attractiveness to other financial organizations looking for a pipeline of projects to support biodiversity conservation and natural capital preservation. The coalition has a critical mass of 43 partners working to develop conservation investment blueprints across 5 key thematic areas and with additional interest in a cross-sectoral working group focused on landscape approaches.

Critical areas of progress include the blueprint development guide, launched at the event, which is an excellent resource for consistency and coherence of blueprints, reiterating the importance of a robust set of key performance indicators and a consistent monitoring and reporting of credible impact. The first appendix within the guide is a blueprint model template, which covers the conservation goals, the business model, and the investment model. Further aim of the blueprints is to identify opportunities for replication across geographies and sectors, assisting project developers in building new transactions that align with blueprint models. The guide is intended to be a living document to be updated according to user feedback.

CPIC working groups have delivered 5 blueprint drafts over the past year, which were reviewed at the financial structuring workshop organized by CPIC on January 9 at the Credit Suisse office in New York. Proposals for landscape working groups and research/metrics working groups were also made at the meeting.

The Global Environment Facility has committed $8M, matched by $2M by the Rockefeller Foundation, to support the development of blueprints, offering valuable resources, endorsement and an immense encouragement.  This blended finance facility, the first of its kind, will create a structure into which other sources of funding can be inserted, so increasing the ability of the CPIC “standardize, replicate and aggregate” model to deliver investable deals.

Among the other subjects covered during the meeting included discussions on complementary accelerators, investment funds, incubators and other grant/ first loss funds available. A significant CPIC contribution would be to map them and have this mapping available for project developers on the CPIC website.