Innovations in finance


To ensure the long-term protection of critical ecosystems, Conservation International looks for ways to pay for conservation efforts that last. That means tapping into new funding sources and developing innovative financing that puts money to work for nature.


Advancing our priorities

By demonstrating the inherent value of robust, healthy ecosystems and wildlife, we're proving that nature is a smart investment.


Protecting natural ecosystems could deliver nearly a third of the global emissions reductions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, yet nature-based solutions receive only 3 percent of global climate funding. We're working to boost that number by building financial mechanisms that harness capital from a mix of public and private sources.

How we protect nature for climate »


Our goal is to protect five percent of the world's ocean area by 2025 — while ensuring the sustainable management of fisheries and ocean resources. We work closely with key stakeholders in national jurisdictions and beyond to demonstrate the value of expanding marine protected areas. We also coordinate with business partners to improve management in fisheries around the world.

How we conserve our oceans »


We seek to create self-sustaining and scalable conservation approaches that can be applied to the landscapes and seascapes that are most important to the well-being of people and nature. To do this, we work with our partners to develop unique financial models that unlock public, private and corporate funds to conserve essential ecosystems — while ensuring that the supply of investible projects meets demand.

How we pilot nature-positive economies »

Our impact


deployed in more than 45 countries through a mix of financial mechanisms and partnerships

debt-for-nature swaps

since 1988, generating $113.3 million

12.7 million
carbon credits

issued to date from projects in Kenya, Peru, and Colombia


Our plan

From grants to loans to trust funds, many conventional financial instruments can be channeled toward “green” investments that have a big impact. Conservation International develops novel ways to finance the long-term protection of nature at scale. We do this by blending public and private financing, creating replicable business models that ensure returns on investments and convening partners to increase demand for investible projects.

On the ground

© Conservation International photo by Inaê Brandão
Launching new investment vehicles

Conservation International will partner with major companies and investors to establish new innovative investment vehicles to catalyze at least $300 million in private finance to support restoration, sustainable forestry, carbon market projects and small-and-medium sized businesses.

© Christina Mittermeier
Conservation International Ventures

Conservation International Ventures provides financing to small businesses with big environmental solutions — from sustainable agriculture to forestry, ecotourism and more — by forging partnerships with commercial players who want to invest in conservation.

© Alexpunker
An unlikely ally for mangroves: insurance companies
To drive more financing to the conservation and restoration of mangroves — a carbon-storing powerhouse that protects coastal communities from storm surges — Conservation International is tapping into insurance markets to capture the economic value these forests provide in preventing floods and mitigating climate change. With support from the Swiss Re Foundation and Convergence, the Restoration Insurance Service Company (RISCO) is selecting two pilot sites in the Philippines and securing agreements with at least two local insurers to demonstrate the project's effectiveness. The program will help fund community-based mangrove restoration and conservation efforts.
© Keith A. Ellenbogen
Sustainable financing for protected areas

Many protected areas, once created, lack the funding and management structure to be effective. Conservation International designs and supports innovative sustainable financing mechanisms (such as endowments and trust funds) to deliver a steady stream of funds and strategic assistance to protected areas, both terrestrial and marine. Our efforts since 2001 have led to the protection of 81 million hectares of natural areas essential to human well-being.

© Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans
Carbon finance

Protecting and restoring Earth’s forests, grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas is one of the most immediate and cost-effective ways to fight climate change. Conservation International is developing a pipeline of high-quality and equitable carbon initiatives that meet rigorous standards for carbon market certification. Based around the world from Peru to Kenya, these projects unlock financing to protect and restore carbon-rich ecosystems, conserve biodiversity and deliver tangible benefits to local communities and indigenous peoples.

© CI/Jack Tordoff
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)

Conservation International is one of six donors to CEPF, an organization that provides grants to communities, nonprofits and private sector partners that work to protect biodiversity hotspots: Earth’s most biologically rich, yet threatened, regions.

© Jessica Scranton
Creating conservation impact

To grow the amount of financing available to protect critical ecosystems, Conservation International actively supports efforts needed to crowd-in private capital. We assist first-time fund managers and work with established partners to develop new products that offer conservation impacts and financial returns. For example, we provided start-up funds to the Althelia Climate Fund (now Mirova Natural Capital) to launch its natural capital funds. The latest — the Sustainable Oceans Fund — reached a first close in 2018, offering a dramatic increase in “blue” financing. Similarly, we partnered with the German development bank, KfW, and Finance in Motion, an investment management firm, to mainstream sustainable investing across Latin America by launching of the eco.Business Fund, which works directly with local financial institutions to support sustainable enterprises across the region.