Funding environmental projects can be complex, owing to the many conflicting views on environmental issues, and because of the cross-border nature of many projects. It was fascinating to work with Global Canopy as they planned for the future and how they might increase funding for their pioneering environmental work.
Global Canopy has a unique approach, however, which is attractive to discerning environmental funders. It takes a strategic approach, tackling cause rather than effect. It targets the factors driving deforestation, working to demonstrate the scientific, political and business case for safeguarding forests as natural capital that underpins water, food, energy, health and climate security for all. As such it influences behaviours and demand, leading the demand and financial incentive away from rainforests. It works through its international networks – forest communities, scienctists, policymakers, and finance and corporate leaders – to gather evidence, spark insight, and catalyse action to halt forest loss and improve human livelihoods dependent on forests.
We have already lost half the world’s rainforests, and deforestation continues at a horrifying pace. The complexities of the supply chain, and of the financial markets, mean consumers and firms are driving and funding environmental destruction, often unknowingly: it can be impossible to understand the ecological cost of the constituent parts of products. Without transparency, even those seeking to minimise impact will continue to provide a financial incentive for ecological destruction. On the ground, there is little reward available to encourage people towards more sustainable modes of development.
Flagship projects include Trase, a pioneering programme which allows users to map supply chains of internationally traded agricultural commodities, such as palm oil and soy, at scale, from the countries where they are produced to the countries that import them, identifying the key supply chain companies along the way, and Unlocking Forest Finance which aims to channel funding towards the transition to ecologically sustainable landscapes.