Cases in Conservation Finance
Learn about a range of conservation finance issues and tools through guest speakers and case studies.
Next session: October 13
The Case Studies in Conservation Finance webinar series will seek to answer questions like:
- What’s new in Conservation Finance?
- Who is doing exciting and innovative work in the field?
- How are various innovative tools being used to address the finance of conservation outcomes?
- What can be learned from practical conservation finance experiences on the ground?
We will answer these questions by looking at case studies and talking to practitioners in this space. Each month, we will talk to, and hear from, a different guest speaker about the work they are doing and the tools they are employing to invest in the conservation of ecosystems and the services they provide. We will hear how different organizations and projects are utilizing market mechanisms to align environmental, social and economic returns, and better understand the challenges they’ve faced and how these were overcome.
Each webinar will be structured as a discussion between the moderator and guest to hear about what they are doing and how they have either succeeded or failed in the field of conservation finance. It will then be followed by an open Q&A with the speaker.
Second Tuesday of the Month at 10am PT/11am MT/12pm CT/1pm ET
Case #5: Zach Knight, Blue Forest Conservation
Tuesday, October 13 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm CDT
Description: As fires rage across the entire Western US, parts of Russia, the Amazon, and elsewhere, it has become clear that fires have become a huge environmental, social, and economic issue. But what the apocalyptic images coming out of San Francisco and Portland don’t tell you is what might be done to address this problem. In our next “Case Studies in Conservation” webinar we will talk to Zach Knight, Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Forest Conservation, a company that seeks to come up with innovative approaches to conservation finance. Their first project, which launched last year after several years of planning, is the Forest Resilience Bond. The idea behind this innovative approach is to create a “pay-for-success” structure to address forest fires, an idea that could not be more timely. Essentially, the structure is designed to bring together US parties who are affected by forest fires, including the National Forest Service, water utilities, and insurers, and get them to agree to pay for the sort of forest remediation practices at prevent or minimize forest fires: practices like thinning, prescribed burns, and others. The genius behind the structure, however, is that it raises money from investors to do the work, and then gets the interested parties to agree to pay it back over time. Currently Blue Forest is working on a pilot of this initiative in California. Zach will tell us more about the fires engulfing western North America, the idea and how it could help address future fires, what it took to get a pilot going, and where he sees things going from here. Join us for this discussion with the brilliant entrepreneurs behind this one-of-a-kind innovation in Conservation Finance, one that given the orange skies above much of the Western US, we only wish had been started decades ago.
About Zach: Zach Knight is a co-Founder and the CEO of Blue Forest. Prior to founding Blue Forest, Zach started his career in finance at Merrill Lynch where he specialized in structured finance. Zach also served as a high-yield and distressed corporate bond trader before leaving Wall Street to pursue an MBA at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with a focus on sustainability and environmental investing. Zach holds an MBA with honors from UC Berkeley and a BA in economics from Cornell. At BFC, Zach leads the outreach program with foundations and the conservation finance community. Zach also leads BFC’s engagement with the US Forest Service and the State of California. A passionate finance nerd, Zach loves digging into new structures, contracts, and anything related to financial engineering.
This webinar series is moderated by Ricardo Bayon of Encourage Capital.
Ricardo Bayon is a Partner and a member of the Board of Directors of Encourage Capital. Ricardo leads the water team and new business and innovation at Encourage and works across several other investment sectors. Ricardo is a member of the Investment Committee of the EKO Green Carbon Fund. Prior to co-founding EKO in 2007, Ricardo helped found and served as the Managing Director of the Ecosystem Marketplace, a web site and information/analysis service covering the emerging environmental markets. In that capacity he co-authored a number of publications on voluntary carbon markets, mitigation banking, and ecosystem services, including The State of Voluntary Carbon Markets 2007: Picking up Steam and Voluntary Carbon Markets: An International Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work, and Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading System. For nearly two decades he has specialized on issues related to finance, banking, and the environment. He has done work for a number of organizations, including Insight Investments, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, Domini Social Investment, among others. His articles have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and the International Herald Tribune. He has also written numerous publications and chapters on mitigation banking, biodiversity markets, markets for water quality, and other environmental markets. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, and is currently based in San Francisco. Ricardo graduated with a B.A. degree from Brown University.
Ricardo currently serves on the Kinship Conservation Fellows Advisory Council and is faculty at the Kinship Conservation Fellowship program.