Impact investment meets tree-planting – a New Zealand first

A $50,000 grant from Foundation North’s Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T) is being used to develop a business case for an Integrated Impact Bond to fund permanent native forest in New Zealand.

The aim is to identify whether impact investment (investment with an intention to generate a measurable and beneficial societal and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return) can be used to provide up-front capital for permanent forest planting, particularly on vulnerable, erosion-prone land and waterway margins throughout the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand.

The G.I.F.T grant will enable Sam Lindsay, an impact investment consultant and Dr David Hall, Senior Policy Researcher at AUT and author of the Pure Advantage report ‘Our Forest Future’ to dedicate time towards shaping how this new funding mechanism would work, given that it would only be the second time in the world that such an instrument has been used.

Foundation North established the $5m Gulf Innovation Fund Together in 2016, with the aim of supporting innovative ways of restoring the mauri or life essence of the Hauraki Gulf. Sam Lindsay says the grant means that a robust proposal can now be worked up ready to present to various stakeholders, “At a government level, there is a lot of motivation to progress the concept, but neither the mechanism or channel to innovate at this early stage. If we can gather a better understanding on the concept execution and key benefits, we will have a much better chance of success”.

To support the business case, two potential pilot planting locations are being explored in the Hauraki Gulf with assistance from Auckland Council and Sustainable Coastlines, who will support the initiative by bringing together all the necessary community groups to manage and carry out each planting project.

Photo credit: Sustainable Coastlines


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