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Financial Innovation for Sustainable Solutions


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Financial Innovation for Sustainable Solutions


About Us

 

We are a team of financial and engineering professionals with extensive sustainable infrastructure, public sector, and Wall Street experience. We harness financial innovation and build partnerships with investors, non-profits, private companies and the public sector to design sustainable solutions to systemic climate resilience challenges faced by vulnerable communities. 

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Our Focus: Forest Resilience Bond (FRB)


Supported by the Rockefeller and Moore Foundations and in partnership with the World Resources Institute, Blue Forest Conservation is fighting fire with finance through an innovative public-private partnership to restore forests and protect communities.

Learn More

Our Focus: Forest Resilience Bond (FRB)


Supported by the Rockefeller and Moore Foundations and in partnership with the World Resources Institute, Blue Forest Conservation is fighting fire with finance through an innovative public-private partnership to restore forests and protect communities.

Learn More

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A Roadmap for Collective Action

Can you imagine a world without clean water and fresh air? Neither can we. 

In one way or another, every single person on this planet relies on forests to survive. But forests, like many other natural resources, often do not receive the investment needed to face society's growing environmental challenges. 

Private capital can and should play a role in building a more sustainable future. We just have to give investors the tools. 

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The FRB is an environmental impact bond that deploys private capital to make our national forests more resilient to a changing climate. By investing in restoration projects that protect forest health, the FRB mitigates the risk of catastrophic wildfire while also protecting water resources, avoiding carbon emissions, and creating rural jobs. These impacts protect communities near and far while also benefiting public and private stakeholders such as the US Forest Service, water and electric utilities, private water-dependent companies, and state governments. The FRB contracts with the beneficiaries to share in the costs of forest restoration while providing modest returns to investors.

How do we achieve environmental sustainability, when we are dramatically short of the funds necessary? Leigh Madeira describes a financial innovation that can be used to create healthier forests, and solve other pressing environmental challenges as well.

Specifically, the FRB leverages increasingly scarce public dollars spent on forest restoration through the following mechanisms: (1) sharing of costs (and benefits) reduces aggregate costs to each individual stakeholder; (2) tapping private capital maximizes scale of restoration without stressing budgets; and (3) accelerating restoration treatments prevents further overgrowth and future costs to stakeholders. With the first pilot project launched in 2018 in Tahoe National Forest, the FRB is as a new public-private partnership model actively enhancing climate resilience. 

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Media Engagement


Media Engagement


LA Times Profiles Inaugural FRB Pilot Project

 

Thought Leadership


Thought Leadership


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Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions


- What is the Forest Resilience Bond?

Developed by Blue Forest Conservation in partnership with the World Resources Institute, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) is an investment vehicle that accelerates forest restoration across the Western U.S. The FRB deploys private capital to invest in forest health, generating returns for investors by contracting with beneficiaries (including the US Forest Service and utilities) to monetize the diverse benefits of forest restoration. By raising private capital to pay for the upfront costs of restoration, the FRB can accelerate the pace and scale of restoration activities where they are needed most. The FRB is a scalable platform that can decrease wildfire risk while mitigating the effects of drought, protecting air quality, creating jobs in rural areas, and saving lives and communities.

- What is "forest restoration," and why does it matter?

Forest restoration can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. When we refer to restoration, we are referring to a variety of treatments that are designed by the US Forest Service to restore ecological function to the forest. These treatments may include the removal of small trees, shrubs and ladder fuels; reintroduction of fire through prescribed burns; meadow restoration; management of invasive species; and road decommissioning. Forest restoration is supported by decades of scientific research and endorsed by countless leading environmental NGOs and government agencies.

Most people don’t realize that forestland in the US is often vastly overgrown, creating an unnaturally high risk of severe and catastrophic wildfire and threatening much-needed water resources. The FRB provides funds to conduct Forest Service-approved restoration treatments to accelerate the pace and scale at which this crucial work can be implemented.

- Isn’t cutting down trees bad for the environment?

Removing extra fuel (small trees and undergrowth) in overgrown forests reduces the risk of severe wildfires and helps save larger trees and habitat that would be lost in a large catastrophic fire. By reducing the severity and intensity of forest fires, forest lands are preserved while the cost of fighting fires is significantly reduced. In any FRB-financed project, we would rely on the expert foresters and land managers to plan the treatments that result in the goal of more fire-resilient forests.

- If forest restoration really works, why isn't it already being implemented?

Forest restoration is a widely-supported, proven approach to forest management that is already being done in many National Forests. The US Forest Service would like to be doing more restoration but lacks the budget to do so. In fact, the rising cost of fire suppression has crowded out this preventive restoration work with the US Forest Service spending over 56% of their annual budget to suppress fires in 2017, compared to just 16% in 1995. The FRB addresses this funding crisis by raising private capital to accelerate restoration treatments where they are needed most.

- What are the benefits of forest restoration and how do you measure them?

Forest restoration completed through the FRB helps increase the pace and scale of restoration treatments on forestland. The benefits of restoration include community and public health protection from direct wildfire threats and hazardous air quality impacts from smoke, source water supply protection, improved habitat and ecosystem function, and reduced carbon emissions from catastrophic fires. The FRB allows for greater industry collaboration with non-traditional stakeholders, such as utilities, carbon markets, and state governments to help pay for forest restoration costs, while providing rural communities with improved economies from increased restoration work on the ground and growth in the wood products industry.

The FRB team works with science and economic partners to evaluate the impacts of planned restoration activities by completing a resource assessment of wildfire risk to watersheds, assets, and infrastructure; potential water supply benefits from restoration; and greenhouse gas impacts of this work. We then monitor the impact of forest restoration activities and vegetation regrowth on water supply over time. Although we are initially focused on fire, water, and carbon resources, the FRB team is expanding our assessment of healthy forests to include terrestrial and aquatic habitat, recreation opportunities, and rural economic impacts.

- Is Blue Forest Conservation a nonprofit?

Blue Forest Conservation is a Public Benefit Company with a nonprofit partner organization called Blue Forest Finance. The mission of both organizations is to create positive social and environmental impact in a financially sustainable way.

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