“I think it’s a mixture of both redefined conservation money—perhaps originally intended for philanthropy—and new sources of finance that are entering this space,” says Kelley Hamrick, author of the report, in an interview with Co.Exist. “We are seeing more foundations and public organizations turn to impact investing as a way to stretch their dollars. [They] play a large role in incentivizing private investment, either through guarantees, taking first loss, or providing in-kind support.”

The analysis comes from Forest Trends, a New York nonprofit, and is based on data from 128 banks, companies, fund managers, family offices, foundations, and nonprofits involved in conservation investing. Sustainable food and fiber—like timber production projects, for example—accounted for the greatest share of capital committed between 2004 to 2015 ($6.5 billion) followed by habitat conservation ($1.3 billion) and water ($400 million).

It’s not that the investments are exclusively environmentally motivated. About a third of investors surveyed expect returns of 5%-9.9%. Around half of for-profit investors expect 10% or more—a decent return by any measure. This is a marked departure from the very recent investing landscape; the Forest Trends report noted that conservation investing was “unthinkable to most mainstream investors just five years ago.”…”

Read on at: Fast Company.