8 March 2016 – Sustainable real assets investment manager New Forests has announced a new target for the firm’s US-based timberland and conservation finance investment program. The statement was issued yesterday at the White House Roundtable on Conservation Investment as part of a collective announcement of more than $2 billion in private-sector investments to protect natural resources.
New Forests’ roundtable commitment stated, “Over the next two years, New Forests plans to invest $150 million in conservation forestry and in increasing carbon sequestration on working forest land in the United States. Our forestry investments aim to support rural livelihoods through sustainable timber management, to increase carbon sequestration on working forest lands, to protect wildlife habitat from fragmentation, and to improve water quality outcomes.”
The roundtable, convened by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, sought to highlight actions by the private sector in the growing area of conservation finance. The event included private sector and NGO representatives who are active in innovative financial efforts for sustainable forest management, ecological restoration, water quality, and wetland and habitat protection.
Following the roundtable, New Forests’ Brian Shillinglaw said, “We are pleased to join our timberland investment and conservation finance colleagues in meeting with senior White House officials to discuss how private-sector investment in the sustainable management and restoration of forests, land, and water resources can restore natural capital while delivering market-rate investment returns. We believe that this event and the commitments issued in it are a positive signal as the capital markets increasingly look to place capital in sustainable real assets.”
Shillinglaw leads New Forests’ US business, which was established in 2007 to manage investments in environmental markets. Over the past year, the company has increased its US resourcing to a team of seven forestry and finance specialists at San Francisco-based New Forests, Inc. in line with the growth of the company’s timberland and conservation finance strategy.
Through multiple investment funds, New Forests has been a pioneer in institutional investment in US environmental compliance markets, including over 360,000 acres of forest carbon offset projects for the California greenhouse gas emissions trading system and more than 19,000 acres of wetland mitigation banks.
“The US, at both a federal and state level, has been at the forefront of developing regulated markets for ecosystem services, and we are now at a point where there is sufficient track record and market confidence to attract investors,” commented New Forests’ CEO David Brand. “We see a growing desire in the institutional investment community to invest in real assets like forestry that can produce conventional financial returns as well as positive climate change benefits and rural community economic development.”
Brand continued, “New Forests has scaled our US business as we continue to implement current and new investment offerings that meet the financial and sustainability needs of our clients and of the market. We’re pleased to see the Administration welcoming dialogue and input from investors who are helping demonstrate successful investment models that deliver commercial returns, net positive impacts, and create shared valued.”