19 Oct Catalysing Sustainable Business Ventures in Priority Landscapes
Ennovent strives to catalyse impactful business ventures in priority landscapes across Asia. This blog outlines some theoretical context and practical approaches underpinning this work. We spotlight our collaboration with our colleagues at the Landscape Finance Lab, whom we assist as business advisors, to bridge the gap between conservation practitioners and the private sector to deliver impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals.
The WWF defines a landscape as a large-scale socio-ecological system that consists of natural and/or human-modified ecosystems, which are influenced by distinct ecological, historical, economic and socio-cultural processes and activities. If you’ve been following our journey, you may recollect the work we did in the Great Sea Reef landscape – one of the world’s longest barrier coral reefs. This is 2023, and overconsumption has become the norm. Our current levels of consumption place extreme pressure on all precious landscape resources. A report on global priority areas for ecosystem restoration indicates that restoring just 30% of converted land in priority areas for restoration could sequester as much as 524 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, and restoring just 15% of such converted land would avert 60% of expected extinction in the next few decades. The urgency to work towards sustainable, climate-resilient landscapes globally has never been more apparent.
Landscapes Restoration – Challenges and Impact
Some common challenges to landscape restoration include the time taken for a project (often the work is in the very long-term), the complexity of the approach owing to involving diverse stakeholders, uncertainty associated with climate, market forces, and natural disasters, and high restoration costs.
Sustainable landscape restoration requires immediate scaled-up investment in biodiversity. The total global biodiversity conservation funding needs are estimated to be USD 722–967 billion annually by 2030. This need includes better management of both landscapes and seascapes. Of the total biodiversity funding deployed, 59% is spent in ecosystems in advanced economies, while 41% is used in developing economies. These developing economies in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean need greater support to build sustainability into their landscapes, given how dependent their economies are on nature and its services.
Nearly USD 44 trillion of the global GDP is derived from nature and its services. Degradation of landscapes could have a detrimental effect on all economic activity over time. Investing in sustainable landscapes would create an impact and lead to financial returns.
An Integrated Solution for Building Resilient Landscapes
Moving beyond a project-based approach is crucial, and a landscape approach where stakeholders aim to reconcile competing social, economic and ecological objectives is preferable to build sustainable landscapes. Solutions built with a landscape approach are larger, more holistic and create a more lasting impact.
The 4 Returns Framework, developed by Commonland, Landscape Finance Lab and Wetlands International, offers an integrated approach to accelerating landscape regeneration at scale. It combined methodologies, developed and refined over three decades, to create a common language and approach to implementing holistic landscape restoration. Paul Chatterton, Founder of the Landscape Finance Lab, states, “Our solutions today have to operate at scale, solve multiple problems and be equitably financed for the long term. We need poly solutions, and landscapes are the polysolution par excellence.”
All considered, the 4 Returns Framework offers a practical approach to help stakeholders:
- achieve 4 Returns: inspiration, social, natural and financial returns
- by following 5 Elements: a landscape partnership, shared understanding, landscape vision and collaborative planning, taking action, and monitoring and learning;
- within a multifunctional landscape of 3 Zones: natural, combined and economic zones, this transformation takes place over a realistic period.
Solving Challenges in Landscape Through Business Catalysation
Such integrated approaches allow civic, public and private stakeholders to create a shared vision for a particular landscape, which enables businesses and private investments to be embedded into a de-risked environment. With this in mind, the Landscape Finance Lab and Ennovent collaborate to catalyse nature-focused business solutions at microenterprise, startup and corporate levels to resolve complex challenges in landscapes.
Baseline assessments in priority landscapes reveal a dire need to transition existing corporate supply chains to sustainability and to incubate new green and blue startups. A bottom-up approach is used to source businesses by employing crowdsourcing and pyramiding methodologies that leverage the knowledge of experts, entrepreneurs and funders in the region. A lean startup approach is then used to catalyse these businesses in target landscapes by offering tailored support. Businesses embedded in landscapes will benefit from stakeholder engagement, monitoring systems and access to finance as the landscapes move into implementation phases.
The inextricable link between business success and landscape resilience is evident across numerous examples of corporations and investors engaging with local stakeholders at a landscape scale.
Case Study – Great Sea Reef Resilience Programme
Initial instances of the business case underpinning the integrated landscape approach emerged from our work in Fiji’s Great Sea Reef – the world’s third-longest continuous barrier reef system. Landscape Finance Lab brought the Earth Care Agency, Ikigai Advisors, and Ennovent together to catalyse Matanataki, a Fiji-based development company that drives private investment for WWF’s landscape initiative – the Great Sea Reef Resilience Programme.
The four partners worked with several blue economy investors, including the UN Global Fund for Coral Reefs, Sustainable Ocean Fund and Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility, to develop a robust deal flow pipeline by extending catalytic business development services to businesses across varying growth stages and supported the deployment of investment through due diligence and investment structuring. Ennovent, in particular, supported the development of strategic frameworks, business models and growth strategies to increase the investment readiness of prospective investees’ businesses.
The partners continue to focus their efforts on engaging the private sector players in priority landscapes, with an emphasis on landscape initiatives in Asia. If you are interested in supporting venture catalysation in landscapes, please reach out to us at email@example.com
Learn more about the 4 Returns Framework at Landscape Finance Lab’s website.