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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2017 PROFILE

The Nature Conservancy

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes, Public Equity, Commodities
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Natural Resources and Conservation
Sustainable Agriculture

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - Other
With a Moody's rating of Aa2 and an endowment of $6,000,000,000, The Nature Conservancy (the "Conservancy") is a U.S. nonprofit corporation incorporated in the District of Columbia.  The Conservancy's mission is to "conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends." The Conservancy utilizes a strategic, science-based approach to its conservation which involves all sectors of society€”communities, businesses, government agencies, multilateral institutions, individuals and other nonprofit organizations. Throughout its history, the Conservancy has achieved results through innovative transaction-based structures, such as fishing quota acquisition, debt restructuring, water funds, New Markets Tax Credits and others. Building on this track record, the Conservancy launched NatureVest, its conservation investing unit, in 2014. Through NatureVest, the Conservancy is creating and executing investable deals in a wide variety of sectors around the world that deliver conservation results and financial returns for investors.     
Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 50% – 99%
Investment Thesis:
Our vision is based on the conviction that capital markets, businesses and governments must invest in nature as the long-term capital stock of a sustainable, equitable and more efficient economy.
Investment Overview:
NatureVest is committed to maximizing the impact of the Conservancy's global platform, regional relationships and deep expertise in science, policy and finance to create investment opportunities that enable us to address the most urgent conservation challenges of our time. Our goal is to put to work at least $1 billion of impact investment capital by 2020. To reach that goal, we focus on opportunities that:   Support The Nature Conservancy's mission Generate dependable cashflows that create a critical role for impact capital Are large scale both in terms of the size of impact and the size of investment capital to be placed Can easily be replicated in order to quickly get similar deals done in different places Allow us to deploy capital quickly. The strategies NatureVest currently focuses on include:  Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management in Cities Water Markets Debt Conversions to support Climate Adaptation and Marine Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Working Landscapes    

Investment Example

In 2015, NatureVest launched the Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund with approximately $20M in commitments from Australian investors. The Fund works with farmers to acquire a portfolio of permanent water rights, then sells or leases annual temporary water allocations back into the agricultural community, while donating the remainder to the environment each year. The Fund is structured so that the majority of the environmental donations occur in years of high rainfall when prices are low and farmers need the water least. The Fund's impact goals include improving breeding and migration of key species and restoring the health of native plants, while also restoring important Aboriginal cultural and spiritual lands. After the first environmental waterings in 2016, significant improvements were seen, including:  A 250% increase in observed individual bird numbers; An increase of aquatic plant species from 3 to 28; and Improvement in canopy health of 46% of trees.             

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Mark Tercek – President and Chief Executive Officer More Info

Mark Tercek is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. Growing up as a city kid in Cleveland, Mark was a late-bloomer to conservation. It was becoming a parent that sparked his passion for nature. “I want to be able to look my kids in the eye,” he says, “and tell them I did all I could to leave the world a better place.”

Bill Ginn – Executive Vice President of Global Conservation Initiatives More Info

As Executive Vice President for the Global Conservation Initiatives Team, Bill Ginn is leading The Nature Conservancy’s work in impact investing, developing markets for natural capital and managing special conservation initiatives. NatureVest, the Conservancy's impact investing division reports to him. Support for NatureVest is provided by inaugural and lead funder, the Robertson Foundation, founding sponsor JPMorgan Chase & Co and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

Marc Diaz – Managing Director of NatureVest More Info

Marc Diaz is the Managing Director of NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy’s impact investing division. NatureVest’s mission is to create and execute investable deals in a wide variety of sectors around the world that deliver conservation results and financial returns for investors. Our vision is based on the conviction that capital markets, businesses and governments must invest in nature as the long-term capital stock of a sustainable, equitable and more efficient economy.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Near-market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Conserving land, ecosystems and natural resources
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Value-added Services Offered:
Access to markets

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:
Everything The Nature Conservancy does is in service of our overall mission of protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends. This work is rooted in good science, and in partnership with indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions and other non-profits. Our investments build off of the Conservancy's 65-year track record in order to address the most pressing conservation threats at the largest scale. Many deals are structured to replicate successful projects that the Conservancy has done with philanthropic dollars. By using impact capital, we aim to achieve these results at an even larger scale. At the highest level, our global Board of Directors reviews both the financial and conservation aspects of each investment deal prior to approval to ensure it is in support of our mission.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:
When NatureVest structures its deals and makes investments we look at diversity among management. However, we do not typically invest in outside companies.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Melissa Weigel
Phone: +1 (630) 740-4196
Mailing Address:
4245 N Fairfax Dr, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203 USA

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