October’s launch of government’s 2017-2021 National Biodiversity Action Plan is to be welcomed, according to Sustainable Nation Ireland, the organisation that promotes Ireland as a hub for sustainable business and investment.
The plan outlines the actions that are required over the next four years to improve the condition of Ireland’s natural environment, while ensuring the benefits we all get from nature are maintained, improved and delivered.
Globally, it is widely accepted the critical role the natural environment plays in our economy and society. It is also widely accepted that these ecosystems are coming under increasing strain, leading to a greater urgency to create innovative and scalable investment vehicles to channel capital to preserve them.
Welcoming the plan, Sustainable Nation Ireland CEO Stephen Nolan said: “The National Biodiversity Action Plan provides a framework to gauge how much capital is required, both public and private, to meet our national biodiversity needs.”
“We look forward to working with key stakeholders to make Ireland an attractive location for international impact investors to invest here in support of the Plan’s targets; in doing so meet their own environmental impact measures while generating a positive financial return.”
Following global trends, private capital investment needs to be mobilised in support of the Plan’s conservation goals while delivering a competitive commercial return to the investor.
Today, some US$52 billion per annum is flowing towards such global conservation projects, the majority from government or philanthropic sources.
However, according to a recent report from global consulting firm McKinsey and Credit Suisse, an estimated US$300 – $400 billion is needed annually to maintain our natural ecosystems, biodiversity, clean air and water on which we all rely.
With investors achieving their blended goals of environmental impact and financial return, this is leading to a greater interest from the wider investment community.
Paul Harris, a member of Ireland’s Biodiversity Forum, said: “The recent growth of the impact investing market and within conservation financing has been quite staggering. The publication of the National Biodiversity Plan provides a roadmap for private capital to invest in Irish projects, which can generate positive returns, both environmental and financial. Preserving and maintaining our natural ecosystems underpins the continued growth of Ireland’s agriculture and tourism sector, delivering long-term and inclusive growth to Ireland’s regions.”