costs. And perhaps most important,
it has shown that sustainable businesses can be viable and provide
benefits to local people and critical
Work is now under way on the design and development of a second
fund (EcoE II) that will expand the
operation. With an anticipated $30
million to invest, EcoE II will seek
to increase financial, environmental
and social returns by providing larger
loans and more follow-on financing
to previous companies.
There will be no shortage of investment opportunities. The continued devastation of critical habitats
around the continent has increased
the need for sustainable businesses
that can use natural resources wisely.
Markets for organic food, renewable
energy and products from forests under sustainable management continue to grow. At the same time, concern over global climate change has
generated an interest in activities that
help mitigate environmental impacts
and offset carbon emissions.
As the next generation of sustainable investment instruments emerges,
the Fund expects its on-the-ground experience to be a valuable asset, both
in attracting investors and in helping
to inform the green venture capital industry as it develops best practices.
ANDRE PENNER/SAMBA PHOTO/GET TY
garden furniture that sources its wood
from sustainably managed forests in
Bolivia, a biological and research adventure park in Costa Rica, a farm to
produce algae for biofuel in Mexico,
and a chain of ecolodges in Peru.
EcoEnterprises Fund, a 10-year,
closed-end fund, is currently winding down, and it has begun to make
capital repayments to its shareholders. Even though the Fund invested
through some of the most troubled
economic times, only three of the 23
businesses it seeded have ceased operations. That’s an enviable statistic
for any investment portfolio. EcoEnterprises Fund is looking to break
even after accounting for operating
Tammy E. Newmark serves
as president of The Nature
Fund. For more than 25 years she
has specialized in environmental,
socially responsible and renewable
energy investments in emerging
markets. She holds an MBA
from the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania.