Photo © Brian Lasenby
Investing in Nature, Together
The need to preserve biodiversity and combat climate change has never been more urgent. Ontario’s natural wealth of diverse ecosystems must be protected, and the Carolinian Zone Conservation Impact Bond (CIB) stands out as a groundbreaking solution.
Developed by Carolinian Canada and partners, the CIB is a pioneering pay-for-success model that harnesses the power of impact investment, bringing together diverse stakeholders to accelerate the development of healthy and resilient landscapes in southern Ontario.
With remarkable success, the CIB has captured the attention of investors worldwide, establishing itself as a cornerstone solution for nature-based conservation.
On Home Turf
Stretching from Toronto to Windsor, the Carolinian Zone is home to 25 per cent of the Canadian population, 10 First Nations communities, and over a third of the country’s at-risk species. But the region’s varied biodiversity is under threat—habitat loss and fragmentation are damaging the zone’s ability to support its ecosystems.
To tackle this pressing challenge, the CIB reimagines the conservation finance space, creating a unique opportunity to restore habitat, protect biodiversity, and meet international biodiversity and climate resilience targets.
Collaboration is at the heart of the CIB—the model relies on a collaborative effort between cross-sector leaders, Indigenous communities, academic institutions, and impact finance communities. Together, they create a strong investment portfolio for landscapes, based in ethical space, that supports Indigenous Leadership and reconciliation. This powerful, outcome-based model brings together environmental and sociocultural benefits, reduces risk, speeds up progress, and encourages innovation and effectiveness.
A representative of Kayanase, an Indigenous-owned Native Plant Nursery and Ecological Restoration business in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, said, “Kayanase chose to participate with the Carolinian Canada Coalition’s Conservation Impact Bond because of their commitment and desire to support our internal capacity building efforts and finding a place within the Native Plant Economy. Along the way, our partnership is actively growing to support our participation in Indigenous leadership in conservation including forestry initiatives and co-developing a Southern Ontario Seed Strategy with the aim to reverse the trend of habitat loss in the Carolinian Life Zone.”
A Testament to Success
From the beginning, the CIB has achieved significant milestones in promoting healthy landscape projects in the Carolinian Zone. As of April 2023, it has secured $1.58 million from various sources, including funders, investors, and outcome payers. This funding has led to the improvement and resilience of 269 hectares of land and has successfully engaged over 1,000 individuals across 20 communities. The outstanding accomplishments of the CIB have garnered international recognition, including the esteemed Finance for the Future Climate Leader award in 2022.
“Being a climate leader is creating gifts for future generations. We are all accountable for or affected by the irreparable harm to people and nature through colonial economic systems. This is one small way to start to shift those systems to make positive impacts,” said Michelle Kanter, Executive Director, Carolinian Canada Coalition. “The solutions we create here for the biodiversity and climate crises can be actioned in other regions.”
The Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place in southern Ontario is a testament to the effectiveness of the CIB. This region, characterized by its rich biodiversity, species at risk, and engaged communities and conservation organizations, was chosen as a focal point for the CIB’s expansion.
With its proven success and transformative impact, the CIB is poised to engage new partners for future projects and further accelerate its reach across southern Ontario. By continuing to mobilize private and public investment, the CIB will drive restoration efforts, protect biodiversity, and foster resilience within the Carolinian Zone. Through collaboration, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to ethical space, the CIB is providing a process that honours a commitment to healing the land. Nature belongs here, after all.
A greener future is within reach. Visit caroliniancanada.ca/cib/globalheroes to learn more.
About the Carolinian Zone Conservation Impact Bond
The Conservation Impact Bond (CIB) is an innovative solution that brings people together in the spirit and practice of reconciliation to invest in healthy landscapes in southern Ontario. It’s a social finance model designed to leverage funds quickly into actions that will strengthen the resiliency of the land we call home.