Rewilding Europe’s innovative enterprise funding facility is showcased in a new publication on how conservation organisations and their partners can mobilise private investment.
Rewilding Europe Capital (REC), Rewilding Europe’s innovative enterprise funding facility, has featured in a new report by Swiss Investment Advisory Company Clarmondial and the WWF Finance Innovation Lab. The report, titled “Capitalising Conservation“, explores how conservation organisations and their partners can mobilise private investment in conservation.
Capitalising Conservation provides a framework to guide the identification, structuring and execution of investments in conservation. It describes various roles conservation organisations can play to unlock investment capital and support effective investor engagement. Rewilding Europe Capital is showcased as an example of how leading conservation organisations have pioneered investment strategies and structures in conservation finance.
“The efforts of REC have shown that it is possible to make a profit and benefit nature at the same time,” says Matthew McLuckie, Rewilding Europe Capital’s Investment Manager. “On a far greater scale, we must now find new ways to generate commercial funding for the conservation of natural capital. As a practical tool, this report is a valuable step in the right direction.”
Rewilding Europe Capital was established in 2013 to stimulate enterprise activities connected to wilder, natural landscapes and their wildlife in Europe, and to revitalise rural economies and communities. Since then it has disbursed 19 loans across 6 countries since 2013, totalling €520,000, with a portfolio of sectors including nature-based tourism, natural products, natural resource management and habitat restoration.
One example of the impact of REC funding has been the creation of a “cluster” of complementary enterprises in and around Rewilding Europe’s Western Iberia rewilding area in northern Portugal.
The recipients of REC loans in this area so far – Star Camp, Casa da Cisterna, Wildlife Portugal and Miles Away – are all pioneering nature-based tourism models, and thereby reinforcing the rewilding agenda in the Faia Brava Nature Reserve. With the area now welcoming more than a thousand visitors annually, revenue growth has already been substantial.
In 2017, REC became the first recipient of funding from the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), established by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Bank. The €6 million fund enables REC to provide loans of up to €600,000 to businesses across all 28 EU member states that can generate positive impacts from rewilding.
Empowered by NCFF funding, REC has already disbursed a loan to the Snowchange Cooperative in Finland, enabling them to purchase the 110-hectare Linnunsuo wetland area. Situated in the region of North Karelia, the wetland was bought from Vapo, Finland’s leading developer of bioenergy and the world’s leading peat industry business. Using both local knowledge and the latest scientific techniques, the Snowchange Cooperative aims to restore the area to attract both birds and tourists.
REC is part of an exciting and burgeoning new movement. By catalysing enterprise activities connected to Europe’s wild nature and wildlife, thereby revitalising rural economies and communities, it aims to create a self-sustaining environment that protects natural capital for future generations across the continent.
- Those interested in finding out more about Rewilding Europe Capital, and how it supports new and existing businesses, can do so here.
- The European Rewilding Network also regularly discuss conservation capital in their webinars. Please find more information here.
- Experience nature-based tourism in and around Faia Brava Nature Reserve with the European Safari Company.