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28/05/2020

Green bonds proposed in bid to raise £1bn for biodiversity in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
Biodiversity / iStock-520327791

A report that proposes a series of measures to ‘unlock’ £1 billion of new investment for nature conservation in Scotland has been published by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Ideas include the launch of a green bond system which local councils would offer to investors to raise money for green spaces and sustainable drainage schemes (SuDS).

That is one of several measures proposed by the Scottish Conservation Finance Project, which explores how to generate new forms of investment in the country’s stocks of natural capital, delivering significant environmental, social and economic benefits, as well as returns for investors. 

The report is a both a route-map as well as an inventory of how a combination of investments, levies, loans, innovative payments and so-called ‘blended’ finance opportunities could generate major sums for biodiversity.

As well as green bonds, the report makes the case for a marine fund, a vacant and derelict land fund, and nature-based carbon payments. The two organisations involved have dubbed the exercise “the £1 billion challenge”.

The project brought together a mix of organisations from the private, public and non-profit sectors to develop what are cutting-edge investment and funding models for large-scale nature conservation activities, for example, planting native woodlands, restoring oyster reefs and creating urban green spaces.

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of SEPA, said: “The global pandemic has drawn into sharp focus the connection between social, environmental and economic prosperity

“As we start to focus on recovery, we must recognise the opportunity to be more inclusive and more sustainable. 

“The £1 billion challenge provides a real opportunity to bring together real-world projects that spark regeneration of communities, build green businesses and create new jobs, with investors that understand that a successful, resilient economy depends not just on achieving financial returns - but on creating social and environmental value and success."

Image credit | iStock

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