Nature and Biodiversity

4 steps to jumpstart your mangrove investment journey

Mangroves are among our greatest assets in the fight against climate change, and so businesses seeking to maximize their social impact should consider investing in mangrove-related projects.

Mangroves are among our greatest assets in the fight against climate change, and so businesses seeking to maximize their social impact should consider investing in mangrove-related projects. Image: REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

Whitney Johnston
Director, Ocean Sustainability, Salesforce
Estelle Winkleman
Director Philanthropy, Salesforce
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Climate and Nature

  • Mangroves are a crucial ecosystem that are among our most important assets for holding back rampant global warming.
  • Investing in mangrove projects is becoming increasingly possible, and offers a strategic win for companies seeking to deliver impact.
  • There are many shovel-ready mangrove projects already underway that are ready for investment.

It’s the moment for mangroves. Mangroves are the ultimate climate and nature champion, and securing the future of this crucial ecosystem by 2030 is within reach.

A galvanizing call to action by the Mangrove Breakthrough to protect, restore and sustainably manage 15 million hectares of mangroves has sparked a surge in coordinated action.

The effort is supported by the Climate Champions, the Global Mangrove Alliance, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, over 49 governments (representing around 60% of the world’s mangroves), over 50 non-state actors and many others. Mangrove-focused investments and policy reforms are on the rise, while mapping and tracking tools enable monitoring at a higher resolution than ever before.

Through Salesforce’s nature positive strategy, the company aims to scale restoration to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss and support people and livelihoods. To find shovel-ready mangrove projects as part of its commitment to 1t.org, Salesforce led a request for proposal (RFP) and discovered an abundance of high-quality projects ripe for investment.

Despite growing global momentum and a pipeline of high-quality projects, for those new to the global mangrove landscape, it’s not always clear where to start.

Have you read?

Starting your mangrove investment journey

Here are four steps businesses can take to jumpstart their mangrove investment journey:

1. Set the quality bar and evaluation framework

Fast-growing interest in mangroves has been matched with invaluable resources for new and seasoned investors. Best practice guidelines and guiding principles for mangrove restoration can help inform the point of view on high quality and shape the lens through which an organization evaluates prospective mangrove investment opportunities.

Salesforce's RFP contained questions organized across five quality principles including 1) Design for Sustainability 2) Employ the Best Information and Practices 3) Safeguard Nature 4) Empower People 5) Operate Locally and Contextually and 6) Mobilize High Integrity Capital (Transparency and Accountability).

We shared our vision for quality across each principle so RFP respondents were clear on what we were looking for and how their responses would be evaluated. A template based on these RFP materials (available here) may serve as a helpful starting point.

2. Determine alignment with business priorities

There is a significant opportunity to align mangrove investments with a range of business priorities, whether investors prioritize projects with a focus on youth engagement, public health outcomes, climate resilience or a specific geography.

Many projects are located in biodiversity hotspots. Others stand out for their prioritization of indigenous knowledge and leadership or “ridge-to-reef” approaches addressing multiple interconnected ecosystems. There is something for everyone. Salesforce recently announced investments resulting from the RFP and published those mangrove restoration and conservation projects, so others can discover projects and contribute.

The Mangrove Breakthrough Financial Roadmap offers entry points for companies to align their nature investments with “mangrove-positive” business models that yield benefits for people and the planet and match their business priorities and expertise. Sustainable livelihood activities, such as ecotourism, package and monetize the inherent value of healthy mangrove ecosystems. The mitigation of destructive activities and active restoration of degraded mangroves can generate value by enhancing ecosystem services.

Most of the projects in the Salesforce mangroves RFP covered both conservation and restoration.
Most of the projects in the Salesforce mangroves RFP covered both conservation and restoration. Image: Salesforce

3. Flex your finance superpowers

Realizing the goal of a fully restored global mangrove ecosystem will require a spectrum of investors bringing their unique experiences, expertise and financial instruments to bear.

Salesforce held a four-week limited call for the Mangrove RFP and learned about 71 projects with $90 million worth of giving potential. Of these projects, about one quarter were shovel-ready and well-aligned with the quality criteria and principles, and many others were strong projects with an opportunity for capacity building.

This means there is a significant opportunity for different types of funders to get involved, whether they aim to fund implementation today and/or to support capacity building locally.

Salesforce has shared RFP results with philanthropies and other companies to ensure more of these important projects can be funded, without additional application burden on the project developers.

Similarly, the Mangrove Breakthrough Financial Roadmap outlines the array of financial instruments and financing sources needed across a mangrove project’s lifecycle. Early-stage projects benefit from mixed private and public capital to fund mangrove partnerships supporting project pipeline development.

More mature projects may benefit from instruments such as parametric insurance and blended finance to scale project scope and impact. And the growing market for high-quality carbon credits can serve as one key avenue for financing mangrove projects in some regions.

4. Act now

The next step is to act now. You can seek mangrove investment opportunities through your own network or join a community of action to scale your impact. Here are two immediate opportunities to do just this:

Join 1t.org with a pledge to conserve, restore and grow mangroves. 1t.org increases the credibility and transparency of your investments in shovel-ready projects that drive action on the ground today and gives you access to the latest knowledge, standards and tools for responsible implementation.

Interested companies can be inspired by other pledges and submit a pledge to 1t.org to support the Mangrove Breakthrough’s goals. The 1t.org team can help companies design a mangrove pledge and showcase high-quality restoration projects. You can connect directly with 1t.org via 1t@weforum.org.

Join and contribute to the Mangrove Breakthrough, a science-based, measurable and achievable goal for diverse actors to collectively restore and protect mangroves at scale. Direct investment in the Mangrove Breakthrough is a “force-multiplier,” an excellent opportunity to drive scaled impact.

Indirect investment through implementing the Mangrove Breakthrough Financial Roadmap is a terrific way to flex your superpower. You can connect directly with them via contact@mangrovealliance.org to learn about the pipeline of investment opportunities.

Joining a community of action like 1t.org or the Mangrove Breakthrough will help transform individual contributions from incremental actions to scaled impact.

The Mangrove Breakthrough ambition is within reach. When we work together and act now, we will drive change at a planetary scale.

The Global Mangrove Alliance is continuously engaging its 68 civil society members and 9 national chapters to source a pipeline of investment-ready projects. The GMA expects to double its membership and expand its chapters over the next two years resulting in greater reach and continued growth of investment-ready opportunities.

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