Toronto, 28 October 2021 - Convergence awards a feasibility study grant to Conservation International for the design of the Restoration Insurance Service Company (RISCO), a first-of-its-kind approach aiming to raise blended finance to fund mangrove restoration and conservation activities across South East Asia. This grant is awarded through the Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window, co-designed with and funded by the RS Group, a Hong Kong based family office.
Globally, mangroves save an estimated $65 billion per year in storm and flood damages by acting as protective coastal barriers. They also store high concentrations of carbon in their biomass and soils, and provide breeding grounds for thousands of marine species. However 50% of the world’s mangroves are gone, and they are being lost at a rate of 4% over the last decade. South East Asia contains almost half of global mangroves, but is a hotspot for deforestation.
The grant to Conservation International will support the set-up of RISCO. Investments that make the work possible account for the protection value that mangroves provide communities from the risks of natural disasters like floods and storm surges often fueled by climate change. In order to repay investors, the company will generate revenues through two sources. First, it will establish agreements with insurance companies with exposure to coastal assets, who will pay fees in exchange for the risk reduction benefits of mangroves. Second, RISCO will generate revenues from the sale of blue carbon credits on voluntary carbon markets.
“RISCO is a great example of how blended finance can advance conservation efforts by assigning a value to the protection of these mangroves, which will only increase as time goes on, and which also makes explicit the cost associated with deforestation,“ says Joan Larrea, CEO at Convergence.
RISCO is anticipated to be initially piloted across three sites in South East Asia. Each RISCO pilot site is expected to target 4,000 ha of mangroves, with each site projected to reduce flood risk for over 7,000 people, and provide climate change mitigation benefits of more than 600,000 tCO2e over 10 years. Following the pilot phase, RISCO is anticipating to add one site per year to its portfolio, with each site being monitored for mangrove health as well as for climate change impacts, with the latter being third-party verified under the Verified Carbon Standard’s blue carbon methodology.
“Our hope is that RISCO can be a replicable business model that could change the fate of mangroves in regions around the world,” said Allie Goldstein, director of climate protection at Conservation International. “Mangroves have immense green infrastructure benefits, their ability to prevent coastal damage must be valued.”
Enticing the insurance companies to partner with RISCO will not only provide the much-needed financing for mangrove protection – it will also uplift the communities that will benefit from the restoration and conservation of mangroves, thus creating new markets and insurance products that can boost the insurers’ profitability. It is a win-win situation for all.“ says Julieta Guanlao, Project Director for RISCO.
The Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window is currently accepting applications, with an upcoming deadline of October 29, 2021, the next deadline is February 11, 2022.
About Convergence’s Design Funding Program
Convergence’s Design Funding Program operates as a market acceleration tool providing early-stage capital to support blended finance solutions in frontier markets and nascent sectors to accelerate the number of investible transactions in market targeting SDGs. Initiated, co-designed, and funded by the RS Group with $3 million in funding, the Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window supports blended finance solutions that find new ways to enhance and protect the world's stock of natural assets, including water, land, soil, air, plants, and animals, by attracting private investment at scale. This design funding program is the first of its kind focused on the Asia and Pacific. Please visit our Design Funding page for submission deadlines as well as other open windows.
About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.