Performance Lending for the Environment: A Break Through for the Resourcing and Scale Challenges Faced by Conservation?
Conservation has frequently been limited by an inability to secure the financing needed to achieve impact at scale. Local communities and small-scale producers, if provided with the right incentives and enabled to manage their land and natural resources sustainably, stand to be a powerful force in achieving conservation aims and responding to some pressing global environmental challenges. However, conservation action often requires up-front costs with delayed returns, which often are a strong disincentive and hindrance for communities and small scale producers alike.
Simultaneously, it is estimated that about 270 million small-scale producers worldwide (48 million in Africa) and their wider communities are under-served by finance institutions and in need of about $200 billion of financing. In short the world’s small holders are seeking access to the finance they need to advance and improve their farms and livelihoods. This presents an unrivalled opportunity to develop a system of finance that rises to this challenge, while enabling and incentivizing small-scale producers to improve the sustainability, resilience and environmental footprints of their farming, forestry and fishing practices, as a condition of their access to this finance.
On October 17, 2016, Andrew Williams, co-founder of F3 Life share how, together with the Climate Policy Institute and other partners, they are putting together the first phase of a climate-smart lending platform, which will pilot the requisite financing, systems and tools for taking performance-based environmental lending to scale.
Andrew’s conservation and natural resource management career began on Zanzibar where he was part of a team that created Tanzania’s first multi-use national park with community participation baked into the park’s governance and community benefits flowing from a revolving fund. Since then he has been involved in several conservation-related start-ups in East Africa, that have consecutively focussed on collective policy advocacy, organisational development and latterly conservation finance. Andrew currently is a co-founder of F3-Life, a social enterprise that provides the tools and systems to enable environmentally-conditional lending to small holders – working with both banking and community-level savings institutions. This new approach is designed to be highly adaptable and scalable in delivering a more financially effective and sustainable solution towards overcoming large-scale climate and ecosystem management challenges.