Bonn, November 15, 2017 - As part of COP23 on climate change, ECOTIERRA is announcing the creation of the Canopy Sustainable Land Use Fund (Canopy SLF) with two well-known partners, Fondaction, a Quebec investment fund for cooperation and employment, and Mirova, a management company affiliated with Natixis Global Asset Management and dedicated to responsible investment. Canopy SLF, which will be managed by ECOTIERRA, is aiming at a first close of US$30 million and a total of US$50 million to invest in the development and operation of agroforestry and value chain strengthening projects. The projects funded by Canopy SLF aim at generating significant return for investors and producing large-scale socio-economic impacts for involved communities as well as major environmental impacts.
“The support of Mirova, the co-sponsor of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund project (LDN Fund project), and Fondaction in the development and creation of this fund demonstrate the recognition of our team’s expertise and the creditability of our unique business model. Today, I am even more proud because this will allow us, as a first step, to finance projects in Latin America in partnership with small producers. These sustainable agriculture and value chain strengthening projects will have major socio-economic impacts for them and their communities, while also having a major environmental impact,” said Étienne Desmarais, President and Co-founder of ECOTIERRA.
Canopy SLF will enable its partners and investors to contribute to the fight against climate change caused by two of the most underestimated concerns of our time: deforestation and land degradation. Every year, 7 million hectares of tropical forest are lost and 12 million hectares of arable land are degraded to meet the needs of the global economy. That’s equivalent to half of Great Britain. These two concerns are closely linked and have far-reaching social, financial and environmental impacts. For example, emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use represent 30% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
Combining private investment and impact
Canopy SLF wants to enable small producers to become change agents. The goal of the Fund is to contribute to the sustainable development of communities by implementing sustainable agriculture practices, reinforcing the business model of small producer cooperatives and breaking the vicious cycle of migrating agriculture, which leads to degrading land, weakening value chains, socio-economic problems and climate change.
According to Léopold Beaulieu, CEO of Fondaction, “Canopy SLF is an exceptional showcase for Quebec’s expertise in the fight against climate change around the world. Thousands of farming families in Latin America will be able to thrive while improving the quality of their environment by supporting better land use techniques. Since the beginning of our operations, sustainable development has been at the heart of what Fondaction stands for. We are proud to be associated with this initiative, which contributes to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Benefits beyond financial return
A major impact fund in the agroforestry sector, Canopy SLF aims to deliver an appreciable return for investors while generating significant positive measured impacts. The benefits of implementing agroforestry projects are many and ensure the sustainable development of communities. For small producers, it means a revenue increase of over 300%, hundreds of millions of dollars in fairtrade premiums reinvested into their communities, thousands of hectares of protected forest and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 million tons of CO2e.
According to Gautier Quéru, director of the LDN Fund project, “Canopy SLF is a unique private investment tool that enables the operation of projects that actively contribute to the objectives of the three UN conventions on desertification, climate change and biodiversity, and we are pleased to support its development.”
Experienced manager and operator Canopy SLF will benefit from ECOTIERRA’s extensive field experience and its ability to design, develop and operate sustainable land use projects in Latin America. Considered as a pioneer in developing tools for climate financing and carbon projects, ECOTIERRA has already validated the first grouped carbon forestry project applied to an entire country, the Shade Coffee and Cocoa Reforestation Project in Peru. Recognized as a world leader in the industry, ECOTIERRA’s unique model was presented during the previous United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Ordos, China.