How can communities get the most from investing in nature? (Environmental Defense Fund)

In places like Nevada, ranching has been a way of life for generations, and industries like mining provide key drivers of economic growth and community stability. But these landscapes also hold economic, historical and cultural values tied to the health and stewardship of natural resources.

The same is true for other communities across the country that are striving to address growing needs for infrastructure, economic growth, clean air and safe drinking water.

Balancing community resiliency, economic stability and stewardship of natural resources is no easy task. But a new funding mechanism is gaining traction on the ground in key places, providing proving grounds for how communities can make cost-effective investments in their futures.

Read More

It’s Time to Update our Definition of Community Development (Quantified Ventures)

At the National Interagency Reinvestment Conference last month in Miami (where it was NOT snowing), we enjoyed a welcome chance to engage with community leaders, and to share ideas for how the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) can continue to be a force for community wellbeing — as it has been for over 40 years. (Did we mention they have palm trees in Miami?)

Passed in 1977 in response to redlining practices that left a legacy of disinvestment in many low and moderate-income communities, the CRA requires that large banks meet service, lending, and investment tests throughout their service areas. CRA-related community development lending accounts for around $87 billion annually, so its future and application could not be more important.

Read More

Can pay for success help save the Chesapeake Bay? (Urban Institute)

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) mission is simple: Save the Bay. For 50 years, we have worked to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Through environmental education, advocacy, public outreach, strategic litigation, and environmental restoration, CBF improves water quality, and creates a healthier environment for the 18 million people and 3,600 species of wildlife who make this region their home.

Read More

Atlanta, Baltimore announce EIB projects (Quantified Ventures)

Big news! On March 26, we announced two new cities we'll be working with to set up Environmental Impact Bonds (EIBs) to finance green infrastructure and create greener neighborhoods: Atlanta and Baltimore.

ATLANTA

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (pictured below) announced this morning at the 17th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference that the city's Department of Watershed Management will use EIBs to finance green infrastructure projects which will improve the resilience of an area that has been devastated by flooding in recent years. The Rockefeller Foundation is working with Quantified Ventures to help cities get started with EIBs. Through a partnership with municipal bond broker-deal Neighborly, the city will become the first-ever municipality to issue publicly offered EIBs, allowing citizens to become investors in their own city. Read the full press release here.

BALTIMORE

From a green infrastructure site in the Harlem Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Department of Public Works Director Rudy Chow (at podium in photo below) announced that EIB financing will help Baltimore fund 90 special landscaping projects in more than three dozen neighborhoods. The built-in accountability of the EIB was attractive to the city government. Initial funding for this project, which is being coordinated through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Quantified Ventures, was made possible through an anonymous donor that was matched in part by a grant from the Kresge Foundation. If successful, this approach could be applied throughout the Chesapeake region to meet water pollution goals, and also to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and communities. Read the full press release here.

Read More

Baltimore trying new tack to pay for costly stormwater projects (Bay Journal)

Baltimore is slated to be the second city in the Chesapeake Bay region to try a novel way of financing its costly water pollution reduction projects under a plan announced Monday by city officials and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

City officials said that with assistance provided through the Bay Foundation, they expect to issue up to $6.2 million in “environmental impact bonds” later this year to help pay for green infrastructure projects aimed at managing stormwater in more than three dozen neighborhoods.

“Baltimore can and, we predict, will be a model for innovation in pollution reduction,” declared Bay Foundation President Will Baker at a news conference announcing the deal in West Baltimore by the site of one of the planned projects. “It’s a partnership with nature to save dollars and reduce pollution.”

Read More

A new form of funding helps cities finance green (Chesapeake Bay Program)

Flooding is not an unfamiliar scenario to those living along the coast, but an address near the ocean is no longer a requirement to be at risk; flood damage is quickly becoming a problem for many across the Chesapeake region. Every day, 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Chesapeake Bay from five major rivers—the Susquehanna, James, Potomac, Rappahannock and York—and the tributaries that feed them. As the amount of rainfall has risen and the intensity of storms has increased, these waterways have become growing flood sources.

Read More

CBF, Quantified Ventures to Help Baltimore City Try a New Idea: "Pay For Success" Environmental Projects (Chesapeake Bay Foundation)

(BALTIMORE, MD)—In a first of its kind project in Maryland, the City of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) will pioneer a strategy for improving neighborhoods and reducing water pollution. CBF will help Baltimore create innovative Environmental Impact Bonds (EIB) to help pay for more than ninety stormwater management projects planned by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) throughout the city. The city's repayment of the bonds would be based on the effectiveness of the projects.

Read More

Baltimore Environmental Bonds to Pay for Dozens of Stormwater Projects (Chesapeake Bay Magazine)

Baltimore City is trying out a new funding model to reduce Bay pollution.

The city will partner with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to create Environmental Impact Bonds that allow investors to pay for projects that minimize polluted runoff, and recoup their investments if the projects are successful.

Read More

Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management Wins Environmental Impact Bond Challenge for Green Infrastructure and Resilience Projects on the City's Westside (PR Newswire)

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms today announced that the City will be the first municipality in the country to be awarded a publicly-offered Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) for green infrastructure projects. This announcement was made during the 17th annual Parks and Greenspace Conference at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Through a creative financing opportunity won by the Department of Watershed Management (DWM), funding will support the improvement of resilience projects in Westside neighborhoods prone to flooding. Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the City will work with the impact investment advisory firm Quantified Ventures to coordinate and structure the deal, and Neighborly, to market and underwrite the finances.

Read More

Here are promising strategies for addressing climate adaptation with green bonds (GreenBiz)

To date, "green bonds" have been seen as the primary vehicle for environmental or social impact in the fixed-income market. Green bond issuance has grown significantly since the market was initiated in 2007, with offerings by the European Investment Bank and the World Bank.

In 2017, total labeled green bond issuances — those explicitly marketed by issuers as green and many receiving third-party verification of their "greenness" — amounted to $221 billion in debt outstanding. An additional $674 billion has been identified as "climate-aligned" by the Climate Bonds Initiative (PDF), bringing the total market for such debt to nearly $900 billion.

The vast majority of projects financed by green bonds have been focused on achieving climate change mitigation goals via low-carbon energy installations or public-transport initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But a less frequently considered (if arguably just as critical) element of the climate change investing equation is the need for climate adaptation — initiatives that anticipate, plan for and adapt to the changing climate and its impacts. Examples include altering coastal infrastructure for anticipated sea level rise or implementing green roofs and permeable pavements to reduce heat island effects in cities.

Read More