TSE supports the Nature Impact fund: a new way of financing the protection of our forests

TSE supports the Nature Impact fund: a new way of financing the protection of our forests

Protection of biodiversity, soil quality, a bulwark against global warming... Forests offer us all multiple ecosystem services. But in the face of climate change and certain unsuitable forest management methods, there is a need for strengthened action. This is why WWF France is launching Nature Impact today, the first dedicated fund based on the logic of Payments for Practices Benefiting Ecosystem Services (PES) which combines the protection of biodiversity and carbon sequestration. The initiative will initially finance projects for the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests with a high biodiversity value in metropolitan France, thus offering unprecedented cooperation between forest actors and the economic world.

PES: paying for essential services for all

Today, forest management is changing and the non-market values they offer us are beginning to be recognized. To accelerate this process, WWF France has been experimenting with forest PES pilot projects for several years. The principle is simple: since we are all beneficiaries of the multiple services that forests offer us, it is normal to help those who protect them. These projects make it possible to financially support voluntary forest owners in the preservation, more sustainable management and restoration of forests.

For their part, convinced of the urgent need to protect nature and the essential services it provides us, more and more companies are seeking to take part in an approach to protecting biodiversity and fighting climate change. But the mechanisms that validate their efforts and that can guarantee their impact are not numerous. By financing PES projects, they can thus take part in concrete projects, with quantified and demonstrated benefits.

Nature Impact, the first PSE initiative to combine biodiversity and climate

Based on this principle of Payments for Favorable Ecosystem Services (PES) practices, WWF France decided to scale up by launching the Nature Impact initiative today. In the form of a dedicated fund, Nature Impact is the first PSE initiative with a strong biodiversity component. By bringing financial contributors and forest owners together, WWF France aims to support projects in mainland France to the tune of €2 million from 2023 to aim for €40 million over 10 years.

According to Véronique Andrieux, Director General of WWF France: “Faced with multiple crises, the biodiversity of our forests is in danger. Solutions to protect it exist, but even today, the lack of financial gain can be an obstacle to the action of some forest owners. What if we could finally take advantage of what is beneficial to all? With Nature Impact, we want to show that a new approach is possible. We want to connect two worlds: contributing companies or individual donors who want to accelerate their efforts to preserve invaluable resources and services of general interest, and forest owners, who can be on the front line to protect them... We want to prove that economy and nature are not opposed.”
Ultimately, the main objective of the initiative will be the conservation and restoration of biodiversity with an initial ambitious objective of conserving around 15,000 ha of some of the richest and most endangered forests (around a third of France's forest biological reserves). The protection of these hectares of forests will contribute to the mitigation of climate change and thus have a positive impact on the climate, through the sustainable storage of 400,000 T of additional Co2 over 30 years.

How Nature Impact works

The Nature Impact initiative will be financed by contributors (companies at first, then local authorities and donors), selected by WWF for their commitment and wishing to do their part in this fight to restore biodiversity and fight against climate change. This funding will then be redistributed to the various projects that have been selected as part of the annual call for projects. Several partner companies of WWF France have already joined
the initiative. Nature Impact will benefit from all the experience, seriousness and science-based approach of WWF France, with the ambition of having the biodiversity and climate impacts of its projects certified. In order to make the initiative as transparent as possible, a charter defining the criteria for choosing projects and contributors, measurement indicators and communication framework elements has also been put in place. Finally, governance will also be shared by two dedicated committees: a technical committee and a stakeholder committee. A first call for projects will be launched on 25 May with forest actors.

Press contact:
Margaux Béal — mbeal@wwf.fr — +33 (0) 7 69 86 67 41