Conservation Trust Funds and the private sector


Although financial contributions by the private sector towards the protection of nature have remained limited until now, private capital has the potential to bridge a substantial part of the global biodiversity financing gap (reported, for example, in a recent study conducted by the Paulson Institute).  The increasing interest among private entities to join global conservation financing efforts is fortunately reflected in their growing participation in a number of emerging partnerships and platforms that focus on biodiversity and natural capital. 

As legally independent institutions that mobilize resources from diverse sources, Conservation Trust Funds (CTFs) could play unique roles in enabling and optimizing the use of private finance for nature conservation.  

Our comprehensive study ‘CTFs 2020: Global Vision, Local Action‘ documented the interest of several CTFs in using partnerships and innovation to maximize their impact over the coming decade, although it also showed that only a small proportion of them has had concrete experiences of work with the private sector.

To expand the findings of our previous research and support CTFs in the establishment of successful partnerships with the private sector, we studied this subject in further depth and produced a concise report for CTFs through a fruitful 5-month collaboration with Charlotte Süring, from Wageningen University.  

This new study targeted CTFs with a relevant track record of collaboration with the private sector in partnerships to mobilize and deploy funds for conservation. Based on in-depth interviews with these CTFs and international experts, as well as additional desk review of relevant previous studies, we mapped and categorized: 

  • Financial instruments that CTFs have used in collaboration with the private sector
  • Roles that CTFs can play in these partnerships
  • Attributes of CTFs that enable these partnerships 
  • Barriers to the implementation of successful partnerships

In addition, we also collected, processed and documented practical recommendations on how CTFs can start exploring this type of partnership.

The CTF networks,  RedLAC and CAFÉ, were fundamental for the successful completion of the study, since they provided our team with input, recommendations and key contacts.