Biodiversity impact investments in developing countries

Tat Kuang Si waterfall, Laos. Photo: Astrid Zabel

The past decade has seen a surge in sustainable investments in Europe and North America. Looking beyond these regions, however, a financial divide becomes visible with less than three per cent of sustainable finance being invested in low-income countries. 

Impact investment is a small but growing investment category within the sustainable investment sector. According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investment can be defined as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”. 

Impact investments focused on biodiversity hold promise to protect precious ecosystems. Yet the potential of biodiversity impact investments in biodiversity hotspots remains largely untapped. Many biodiversity hotspots are located in the global South. These areas lack capital and – despite their biodiversity assets – are not attracting the private-sector finance they need. Typical constraints include unsolved governance issues, political and economic instability, poor coordination, as well as knowledge and data gaps. The few existing examples of biodiversity impact investments in developing countries have been criticized for their top-down approaches that reinforce North–South power imbalances. 

Developing and marketing a “support package” 

This project seeks to develop and market a “support package” – provided by CDE in Bern and its regional office in Lao PDR.

The key desired impact of the support package is to transform biodiversity conservation projects that lack funding into sustainable biodiversity impact investment opportunities. 

The aim is to market the support package in Lao PDR and beyond, thus helping to increase the volume of sustainable biodiversity impact investments that are channelled to countries of the global South.

Project activities

  1. Conducting market research among investors,
  2. Conducting market research among potential project developers,
  3. Synthesizing the findings from steps 1 and 2 in a report and assessing the feasibility of the support package concept.
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Funding University of Bern

June 2024 – November 2024

Contact Dr. Astrid Zabel

Dr. Vong Nanhthavong