UK's first seas impact investment fund launches
The UK-focused Blue Impact Fund, with a pipeline of an estimated value of up to GBP90 million, launched at the Natural Capital Finance & Investment Conference today (24 November).
The fund focuses on ocean recovery and resilience and aims to harness the power of seaweed, mussels and oysters in order to counteract the impact of climate change.
Dr Bruce Howard, director of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network – the conference organiser – believes this is the missing piece of the jigsaw in the UK’s commitment to reaching net zero by 2050.
“Nature based finance is a critical asset class which needs to be an essential part of the COP26 policy agenda to ensure the UK is a global leader in green finance,” he said.
The Blue Impact Fund will be run by Finance Earth. The UK-based environmental impact investment advisor and fund manager has been developing the fund since 2018, in collaboration with WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue. WWF will sit on the fund’s investment committee, providing advice to support evaluation of the fund’s impact.
According to the Seaweed for Europe Report, the seaweed sector has the potential to generate 85,000 jobs across Europe by 2030, while the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN estimates that Asia accounted for more than 99 percent of global seaweed production in 2018.
The fund will also invest in other forms of sustainable, low carbon efficient seafood production, including marine and land-based aquaculture.
“There is potential to kick-start a green recovery in coastal areas dealing with the double whammy of Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of long-term economic decline,” said Jamie Mansfield, co-founder and managing director of Finance Earth.
“The ambition is to provide funding for a vibrant ecosystem of small, high-growth enterprises in the marine seafood sector and so create new markets to boost the UK sustainable blue economy,” he added.