The fund aims to promote business and consumption practices that contribute to biodiversity conservation, to the sustainable use of natural resources and to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts, in Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
The eco.business Fund pursues its mission by providing dedicated financing and technical assistance to financial institutions and businesses committed to environmental practices in unique ecological landscapes both in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. The fund focuses on sustainability in four economic sectors: agriculture and agri-processing, fishery and aquaculture, forestry, and tourism.
How the Fund Works
The eco.business Fund leverages the power of blended finance to amplify its impact and outreach via two separate sub-funds in i) Latin America, and the Caribbean, and ii) sub-Saharan Africa. In other words, the fund draws its capital from various layers: An initial base of public investors and donors provides a risk cushion to unleash the financial clout of private institutional investors.
The fund then invests this money either via intermediaries committed to promoting green finance or directly in businesses that pursue sustainable production and consumption.
In the case of intermediaries, these can be local financial institutions with which the fund works to deliver funding to businesses or producers or - in the case of sub-Saharan Africa – real-sector intermediaries, such as commodity buyers that are looking to enhance the sustainability of their supply chains by delivering finance to partner producers and businesses seeking financing for green investments.
In addition, fund beneficiaries – whether intermediaries or directly funded businesses – can access technical assistance provided by the respective eco.business Development Facility.
The eco.business Fund targets highly biodiverse regions of the world whose ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of agriculture, fishing, forestry, and tourism.
*As classified by Conservation International
Who the Fund Finances
The eco.business Fund provides financing through three avenues:
- It invests in local financial institutions that are committed to the fund’s mission and which have the capacity to reach its target group. Acting through these local financial intermediaries has systemic benefits, such as creating larger scale and efficiency through the use of local finance infrastructure. It also helps make biodiversity finance a mainstream product by facilitating access to green finance for end borrowers through local financial institutions.
- The eco.business Fund also lends resources directly to its target group – that is, businesses that implement sustainable practices and are aligned with the fund’s mission. These investments can have a demonstrative effect on the entire sector so that financed measures are more likely to be implemented in the future by other players in the sector.
- In the case of sub-Saharan Africa, the sub-fund also provides financing to real-sector intermediaries, such as commodity buyers or aggregators that have made credible sustainable sourcing commitments.
In all cases, the fund provides debt financing.
Investees receiving eco.business Fund financing must:
- either hold an eligible sustainability standard or
- implement either one of the practices outlined in the “Green List” or
- support a practice fully aligned with the fund’s mission.
For more on the sustainability standards and Green List activities qualifying investees for eco.business funding, please visit The Pathway to Impact.
The Board of Directors appointed by the shareholders is the main decision-making body. Approval of investment proposals submitted by the Advisor is delegated to the respective sub-fund Investment Committee, whose members are appointed by the Board.
Finance in Motion
In its role as Advisor to the eco.business Fund, Finance in Motion provides investment management services to the eco.business Fund’s Board of Directors and Investment Committees. The task of these bodies is to direct the fund’s investment decisions, objectives and policies. Finance in Motion furthermore supplies risk management, technical assistance, impact management, transaction management, reporting, and other fund services to the eco.business Fund.
Finance in Motion is an impact asset manager exclusively focused on development finance. With over EUR 2 billion in assets under management, the company develops and advises investment vehicles that promote the Sustainable Development Goals.
Jens Mackensen has served as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the eco.business Fund since the fund was established in 2014. A member of the fund’s design team, he worked together with colleagues at KfW, the German Development Bank, as well as partners from Finance in to initially set up both the structure and objectives of the eco.business Fund. At KfW, Jens oversees the Department of Natural Resources for Latin America and the Caribbean. He has worked on development and financing issues for the last 25 years, covering sectors such as natural resources, renewable energy, and climate change in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Jens received his Ph.D. in Tropical Forestry from the University of Göttingen.
Jacco Knotnerus is the Manager a.i. at the Development Impact and Sustainability team at the Dutch Development Bank (FMO). With 25 years experience in the banking sector, Jacco has accrued vast experience particularly in development banking with skills gained in Latin America working both as an investment officer and regional manager. He has worked at the World Bank and in various roles at FMO, covering managerial functions in commerce, risk, and strategy and brings his skills and expertise to his current role as a member of the Board of Directors at the eco.business Fund. Jacco is a respected economist and received his Master’s degree at the University of Amsterdam.
Christopher Knowles is an independent advisor on climate and environmental finance. He was a long-term member of EIB until 2018, where he led the climate and environmental finance team, contributing scale and innovation to the bank’s climate change agenda. Chris has served on the supervisory boards and advisory committees of numerous clean energy, environmental, infrastructure, and carbon funds, including as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Green for Growth Fund until 2018. He is currently a Member of the Board of the eco.business Fund. Chris holds an M.Sc in Management Science from the University of Durham.
Hanns-Peter Neuhoff was Director at KfW Development Bank (Regional Department Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East) and has dedicated his whole professional life to impact financing. From the outset, he has actively promoted the creation and development of the eco.business Fund. He has participated in developing microfinance and originating structured funds like the European Fund for South-Eastern Europe (EFSE). He now brings his breadth of experience into several boards as non-executive member. Hanns-Peter holds a PhD in economics from Cologne University.
Vitalis Ritter has served as Principal and Senior Project Manager at KfW Development Bank. With 14 years of banking experience gained mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, Vitalis has accrued substantial experience in risk management, capital markets and structuring debt and equity investments in the financial sector. Over the years, Vitalis – in cooperation with public and private sector partners - helped to establish and grow several impact entities, focusing on micro- and SME-finance, renewable energy, finance and green finance. He holds a number of Board and Investment Committee positions in regional investment funds and banks. Vitalis holds a Master’s degree in Management and Applied Financial Mathematics from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.
Launch of the eco.business Fund by KfW, the German Development Bank, Conservation International, and Finance in MotionRead more
Initial first-loss capital
First investments in partner institutionsRead more
First private investor
DEFRA provides additional first-loss capital
FMO investsRead more
ASN Bank and Calvert Impact Capital join private investor groupRead more
OeEB investsRead more
Investment portfolio surpasses USD 100 million
EU provides additional first-loss capital
eco.business Fund wins ALIDE awardRead more
Raiffeisenbank International broadens the private investor group furtherRead more
Investment portfolio surpasses USD 200 million
IDB Invest investsRead more
First eco.business Fund conference, “Our Journey”Read more