New Forests’ investment symposium featured former VP Al Gore, California Senate President Kevin de Leόn, investors, and Native leaders at the forefront of climate mitigation
May 17, 2017, SAN FRANCISCO – A diverse group of more than 100 institutional investors, impact investors, businesses, and NGOs gathered in San Francisco to explore investment opportunities in the forest sector that will help mitigate climate change. The investment symposium was convened on May 16 in San Francisco by New Forests, an international investment manager specializing in strategies for sustainable forest management and conservation. As the global community increasingly seeks to mobilize capital for climate solutions, the event highlighted the important role of forests in both removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere as well as the contribution of the forest sector to a rising bio-economy.
Former Vice President Al Gore opened the event with his keynote speech on the Case for Optimism in the Climate Crisis. Gore is chairman of Generation Investment Management, which has been invested in New Forests since 2008.
Kevin de León, the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate and a leader in legislative action on climate change, also spoke at the event. Senator de León noted, “California has been leading the transition to a low carbon economy for decades. We know we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We’ve already adopted some of the most ambitious clean energy and emissions targets in the world and we’re not done yet.”
Alongside the business case for investing in forest-climate solutions, New Forests’ symposium explored the experience of Native American communities who have enrolled their forests to provide carbon offsets for California’s emissions trading scheme. Through its Forest Carbon Partners program, New Forests is currently working with several tribes in California, Alaska, and New Mexico as part of its forest-carbon investments on more than 445,000 acres of forests in the United States.
Chairman Thomas O’Rourke of the Yurok Tribal Council, who also spoke at the symposium, said, “The Yurok and other Native American tribes across the United States are taking the lead in managing forests to address our climate challenge. Partnering with New Forests to develop a forest carbon offset project on Yurok lands has supported our long-term sustainable forest stewardship, the re-acquisition of ancestral Yurok territory, and the re-patriation of important cultural heritage.”
The Forests as a Climate Solution event also highlighted the experience of foundations, corporations, and institutional investors in integrating climate impacts within their timberland investments and broader objectives to decarbonize businesses and investment portfolios. The symposium is an important step in furthering the dialogue around how to best direct private capital into forest-climate solutions.
“The forest sector, alongside renewable energy, will be critical in transitioning the global economy to a low carbon future,” said New Forests’ CEO David Brand. “We increasingly see our investors looking not only to understand the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their investments but also to understand how forestry assets in their portfolio can decrease emissions and play a role in the growing bio-economy.”
Brand continued, “We believe the emergence of new uses for timber and innovation in the forest sector will be able to provide attractive opportunities for investors while also providing the public good of climate change mitigation. Ultimately we are at a critical point in which the investment community can address the greatest challenge of our time – climate change – while still meeting their needs for financial return.”
About New Forests
As global demand for resources grows, there is a need to increase productivity while ensuring the conservation of the world’s remaining natural forests. New Forests seeks to create investment strategies that provide lasting solutions to this challenge. Through responsible management of forests and other real assets, we create shared benefit for investors and local communities alike. We believe that meeting the needs of a broad range of stakeholders will provide better returns over the long term.
New Forests has international reach, with offices and assets in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the US. This gives us a global perspective combined with local expertise that allows us to understand and manage our assets more effectively. Wherever we operate in the world, our strength lies in our people and their drive to make investments that create the best possible outcomes. By investing with integrity and transparency we aim to generate strong returns while helping tackle some of the world’s great sustainability challenges.