A New Model for Investment in Ecosystem Services

A deal between two environmental organisations could provide a blueprint for investment to conserve the world’s vital ecosystem services. Canopy Capital, an environmental investment and development company, has struck a deal with Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development which owns a one million acre area of rainforest in Guyana. Canopy Capital will pay Iwokrama for the ecosystem services generated by the rainforest, including those supporting and regulating services which are often viewed as unquantifiable, such as water storage and climate regulation.

In return for its investment, Canopy Capital will receive a percentage of any income that might one day be made by the rainforest’s ecosystem services. The company hopes that the services will one day become tradeable commodities. Once the organisation has re-couped its investment, 80% of further profits will go back to the reserve to allow Iwokrama to carry out its activities.