The Nature Conservancy has outlined four key priorities for its Singapore office that will dovetail the city-state’s Green Plan 2030.
One of them is impact investing.
“Since the launch of NatureVest, we’ve structured about 15 transactions around the world and these transactions have received more than $3 billion in impact capital commitments,” Tom Brzostowski, Singapore country director at The Nature Conservancy, told AsianInvestor.
These projects aim to provide financial returns to investors, in addition to measurable impact and benefits to nature and people, he noted.
“Only one of those projects has taken place in the Asia Pacific, and we would like to turbocharge this initiative in this part of the world. We are building out our NatureVest team in Singapore to do more of impact investing.”
NatureVest is the organisation’s impact investing and sustainable finance team.
The Nature Conservancy is one of the largest -- and oldest -- environmental non-profit organisations by assets in the world.
Its assets total about $9 billion, of which the Office of Investments is responsible for managing approximately $4 billion, comprising endowment and other long-term investments.
The Singapore office, which opened in late July, comes as more asset owners in the region commit to net-zero goals and increasingly consider how their operations affect the biodiversity of the plant, animal and marine life of the places in which they operate.
BANKING ON PARTNERSHIPS, CARBON MARKETS
Another priority for The Nature Conservancy is connecting with family offices in the city-state.
“We welcome the opportunity to explore partnerships with family offices here in Singapore and to understand more of their impact investment and sustainable investment goals,” Brzostowski said.
“I think family offices can be nimble as well and react and have the ability to move quickly.”
Family offices typically tend to be conscious about leaving a fruitful legacy, so some will set up foundations and endowments to engage in philanthropic activity.
However, many are also increasingly focusing on sustainable investments, with about 18% of the portfolio on average allocated to such investments, according to the Asia-Pacific Family Office Report 2023 by Campden Wealth and Raffles Family Office.
The Nature Conservancy’s third priority is to promote carbon markets.
“We see carbon markets as important for companies in their decarbonisation journey as well as a way to channel money into important places in the world where conservation activities are desperately needed,” said Brzostowski.
Other asset owners in Singapore have also flagged the importance of well-developed carbon markets: well-designed carbon projects and trading mechanisms can mobilise funding and help emerging markets decarbonise, Hoon Ling Min, director in the investment group at Temasek-owned GenZero told AsianInvestor, recently.
The Nature Conservancy also joined the Southeast Asia Climate and Nature-based Solutions (SCeNe) Coalition, a collaboration between non-governmental organisations with an established presence in Southeast Asia.
The coalition aims to accelerate and increase implementation of and investment in high quality nature-based solutions across the region.
The launch of the SCeNe Coalition is also expected to accelerate and scale up nature-based solutions that could become carbon projects around the region, with a focus on helping frontline organisations, according to Brzostowski.
Finally, the nature-focused asset owner also wants to share its knowledge via corporate collaborations and partnerships, particularly with finance and commodity companies, “to help them achieve their sustainability goals and reduce pressure on the natural areas that we care about,” said Brzostowski.
The asset owner already collaborates with several other entities including governments, non-government organisations, communities and local indigenous groups.
“We also want to collaborate with the leading scientific institutions in Singapore to fill in the knowledge gaps around the role of nature in tackling climate change,” he added.
“There are some big net-zero and climate related targets and companies are looking for partnerships to help them achieve those goals. We are keen to share the learnings from other organisations and other countries could think about doing this as well, because it is going to take big initiatives to move the needle on big crises"