The eco.business Fund Board Members experience impact on the ground

The eco.business Fund Board Members experience impact on the ground

Members of the board of directors of the eco.business Fund had the pleasure of experiencing the fund’s impact by visiting clients and end-borrowers in Ecuador during a recent site visit. 

During the visit, the board members had the opportunity to exchange ideas with representatives of Banco Guayaquil, Ecuador, a strategic ally of the fund since July 2019, and learn about the implementation of sustainable practices within the country. 

The first visit included a family-run shrimp farm located in the scrublands of Chanduy. The farm was established 40 years ago and is owned and run by Santiago Salem and his five children. Through the implementation of sustainable practices and efficient production methods, Salem was able to fight diseases that devastated the shrimp sector and grow his business in an ingenious way by creating a natural environment that makes shrimps resistant to diseases. Today, Salem’s company, Santa Priscila, is the largest shrimp producer nation-wide and the second largest exporting company in the country with 400 containers exported a week, providing employment to 9,000 families. Santa Priscila has its own fish feed company as well as processing and packaging company.

The second site visit was to the province of Cotopaxi where the board members visited a forest company. The organisation produces Eucalyptus and Pine on around 18.000 ha out of which only two thirds is plantation land and about 25% is kept as conservation land. The company has managed to arrange water management agreements with their neighbours, which are 50% indigenous communities. In addition, the company has set aside silvopastoral grazing land where the local communities can let their cattle graze and have provided employment to 550 people. The company believes that only by combining social, environmental and economic interests can you run a forest company successfully. 

While the board had their meeting, they also celebrated the launch of the eco.business Fund in sub-Saharan Africa. The new sub-fund has received initial funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to the value of EUR 12 million with an expected top-up of another EUR 4-5 million (in USD) around year end.

Dr. Jens Mackensen, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the eco.business Fund, stated: “We are incredibly grateful to visit such inspiring businesses that are living out the eco.business Fund’s mission of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. The success of the fund in Latin America and the Caribbean makes the expansion into sub-Saharan Africa more exciting. We are optimistic for the future as we expand the eco.business Fund’s presence into Africa.” 

About the eco.business Fund

The eco.business 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. By providing financing for business practices that conserve nature and foster biodiversity, the fund seeks investments with both environmental and financial returns. The fund mainly provides loans to qualified financial institutions that on-lend the money to eligible borrowers, which include holders of recognized certifications or those making improvements in line with conservation and biodiversity goals. The fund supports sustainable operations in the sectors of agriculture, fishery (including aquaculture), forestry and tourism.

The eco.business Fund was initiated by Germany’s KfW Development Bank and Conservation International with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It has received further donor support from the European Commission The fund’s additional investor base comprises IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, the U.K.  government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dutch development bank FMO, Austrian development bank OeEB, and institutional investors such as sustainable banking institution ASN Bank, German ethical bank GLS Bank, Calvert Impact Capital, and Raiffeisen Bank International. Finance in Motion, a leading impact investing company, is also an investor.

Operating hand-in-hand with the eco.business Fund, the eco.business Development Facility provides high-impact technical assistance to financial institutions and final borrowers.

For more information please visit www.ecobusiness.fund and follow us on Twitter @ecobusinessfund.