2021 Impact Report

Everything we achieve is possible only through the generosity of donors like you


As you read about the land and sea we’ve helped protect, the natural climate solutions we’ve implemented, the green jobs we’ve helped create, know that you are responsible for every success.

Thank you for standing with us.


Our Impact

metric tons

We secured 2.2 billion metric tons of irrecoverable carbon from terrestrial and coastal sites, with over 325 million metric tons coming from newly conserved areas.

km² of ocean

The Blue Nature Alliance invested in partners directly working to establish new protections and or to improve the management of 7 million square kilometers of ocean.


Our conservation actions reach more than 3.8 million people.




Your support conserves forests that absorb and store critical carbon, building resilience to climate change impacts.


Blue carbon credits breakthrough

In Cispatá, Colombia, Conservation International has generated the world’s very first blue carbon credits. ‘Blue carbon’ is the carbon stored naturally by coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes.

French government and Conservation International support Amazon Indigenous peoples

Conservation International and the government of France signed an €16 million ($18.8 million) agreement, “Our Future Forests: Amazonia Verde,” to conserve the Amazon rainforest. This unique partnership aims to protect up to 73 million hectares (180 million acres), or approximately 12 percent of the Amazon rainforest, by 2025.

Major milestone in valuing nature

The United Nations formally adopted new global standards for environmental accounting developed with support and guidance from Conservation International. The new standards of the System of Environmental Economic Accounting provide an integrated and comprehensive statistical framework for measurements of ecosystems, their status, and their contributions to the economy.

How we protect and restore nature for climate »


Double ocean protection

Your investment in Conservation International will double the world’s ocean area under protection while innovating sustainable marine fisheries.


First Blue Nature Alliance engagement

Conservation International’s global ocean partnership — the Blue Nature Alliance, whose goal is to double the amount of protected ocean — made its first site investment in Fiji’s Lau Seascape, providing an initial $900,000 to advance protection of 335,000 square kilometers (129,000 square miles, an area slightly larger than the state of New Mexico) of ocean and to support local marine management capacity and sustainable financing.

Mobilizing the global surf community

With flexible seed funding from a generous donor in 2019, we formed the Surf Conservation Partnership (SCP) with The Save The Waves Coalition, to harness the passion of the world’s surfers to protect important marine habitats. Communities where local people surf have a unique and strong connection to the ocean and are motivated to protect it. Worldwide, an estimated 75 percent of the world’s best surf breaks are in areas with important marine ecosystems. Even more astounding, a recent study by Conservation International, Save the Waves Coalition and our partners demonstrated that 26 percent of the world’s surf breaks are in areas with the most important biodiversity on the planet. These irreplaceable areas are under threat, but can be protected by harnessing the passion of surfing communities to establish Surf Protected Areas.

15 years of seascapes, protecting 4.5 million square kilometers

A new paper in the journal Conservation Science and Practice shares lessons learned from Conservation International’s extensive experience designing and implementing the seascape approach that balances protection with sustainable production. This work has delivered measurable conservation and human well-being benefits in five seascapes covering about 4.5 million square kilometers (1.7 million square miles) of coastal and ocean ecosystems in over two dozen nations around the world, including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Malaysia and Samoa — with biological, social and economic benefits for millions of people in these areas.

How we protect the ocean »


Expand planet-positive economies

Because of you, Conservation International is piloting self-sustaining, conservation based economies in the most important ecosystems for people and nature.


Promoting community-led conservation, protecting 2.2 million hectares

Nearly 30,000 people in nine countries across three continents encompassing more than 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres) have benefitted from our Conservation Stewards approach this year. By supporting small enterprises and incentivizing sustainable production and forging links with new markets, we inspire community-based conservation.

Sustainable Coffee Challenge targets become global standard

The ambitious targets set by the Challenge’s more than 160 partners to advance sustainable production, climate mitigation and forest protection, and living income for coffee farmers and workers have now been adopted by the International Coffee Organization, an intergovernmental cohort representing 99 percent of coffee production regions and 67 percent of its consumption. Their commitment to these targets drives investment in climate- and human- first programs, following the lead of the successful work piloted by CI-Peru in the Alto Mayo to improve coffee production, protect valuable forests and improve the livelihoods of farming communities.

Creating jobs for women and youth in South Africa

Conservation International has supported over 500 youth in the South African government’s business- led job training program, the Youth Employment Service (YES). In YES, rural youth and women participate in climate-smart and ecosystem restoration work experiences.

Providing access to sustainable markets in Mexico

Conservation International is bringing together small-scale producers, buyers and investors in Mexico to drive the development of sustainable value chains in everything from fish to coffee to agave. Taking a market approach will enable us to address challenges from the supply and demand sides, promoting sustainable production while reducing deforestation and land degradation.

How we pilot planet-positive economies »


Reimagine conservation for all

Design a compassionate and inclusive approach to conservation, deploy the best science and technology, and propel innovative finance to achieve exponential growth in conservation impact.


Driving social and environmental justice in global fisheries

This year, Conservation International assessed 20 fisheries with a human rights due diligence tool designed by our experts to protect the rights of crew and communities in the seafood sector. This approach has been adopted by the global fishery improvement coalition, and our teams will scale it in the Pacific Ocean, focusing first on key programs in New Caledonia and Fiji.

Gender-inclusive conservation successes

A survey of Conservation International project sites embracing our gender-inclusive conservation approach saw improvements in women’s participation in conservation activities and decision-making processes. Many projects were recognized by their national partners as leading on gender-inclusive conservation. Most project teams also noted that considering both men’s and women’s needs and roles improved the quality of the project outcomes, with some reporting positive shifts toward more equitable conservation decision-making.

Reaching new audiences

Conservation International held its first-ever Virtual and Global Gala, bringing together scientists, advocates and allies from around the world. The virtual format allowed us to reach new audiences across the globe to share in a cost-free celebration of our community’s achievements and resilience over the last two years.

Investing in Indigenous women's leadership

Growing evidence points to better governance and conservation outcomes when fisheries and forests are managed collaboratively by women and men. Yet in many places, women are frequently denied access to resources, have limited power in decision-making, and their knowledge and ideas are often discounted. To address this challenge, Conservation International, with our partners, has launched three dedicated fellowships across the globe. In the Pacific Islands, the Sue Taei Ocean Fellowship for Indigenous Women of the Pacific aims to elevate the role of Indigenous women from the Pacific in ocean conservation. In Amazonia, the Our Future Forests: Amazonia Verde project is supporting 24 Indigenous women across seven countries to boost their leadership in conserving their territories, adapting to climate change, and strengthening their communities through ancestral knowledge. In Northern Kenya, in partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust, Conservation International equips Indigenous women and girls to take on leadership responsibilities and roles that have historically excluded women.


Introducing the Amazon Women's Fellowship Program

The Amazon Women Fellowship program Is an initiative of Our Future Forests–Amazonia Verde project, implemented by Conservation International with the support of COICA and funds from the French government.


Planet-saving science

© Conservation International/photo by Russell A. Mittermeier

Pandemic prevention research prompts advocacy and pending legislation

The seminal paper, “The Ecology and Economics of Pandemic Prevention,” we published in Science last summer has already resulted in major steps forward in how people think about the nexus of nature and global public health. With partner human health and conservation NGOs, we have recently launched the political advocacy coalition, Preventing Pandemics At The Source, to advance our research and policy recommendations. With flexible funding for fellowships, CI recruited Dr. Neil Vora, an infectious disease expert, to lead our efforts with this coalition on addressing the underlying drivers of pathogen emergence. Our research, which shows that investing in nature conservation and reducing illegal wildlife contact and sales would cost just 2 percent of COVID-19’s economic damage while significantly reducing the chance of a future pandemic, and our continued studies serve as the supporting data for legislation currently pending approval with the U.S. Congress focusing on pandemic prevention and nature conservation.

How we innovate in science »



Read the full report

Thank you for your loyalty, your encouragement, and your contributions. Despite the monumental challenges we’ve faced as individuals, as an organization, and as a global community, your dedication and passion helped deliver real results for people and nature across the globe.

Thank you

Conservation International demonstrated this year that human lives are improved when we protect nature. Please join us again.