Wedgetail: tackling the biodiversity crisis
The natural world is disappearing at an unprecedented rate.
The focus for the last decade has been on climate change — which remains one of the leading problems to tackle — but if we look further into the future, biodiversity loss is an even greater threat to our existence.
Biodiversity keeps our ecosystems healthy by providing us with the ecosystem services we all need to survive — climate control, water filtration, soil fertility, food security, pest and disease regulation and more.
Business-as-usual capitalism is accelerating the loss of this biodiversity, and traditional conservation methods aren’t equipped to halt this rapid decline. To achieve the restoration of nature that our planet requires, we need to see transformation in our economic systems.
Changing society’s relationship with nature by 2030 has to be our goal, and indeed — the UN has named this decade the decade of restoration, with a goal to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. It is within this decade that we must find and build economic, cultural and social models of humans living in harmony with nature at scale.
Wedgetail Ventures is helping to drive this transformation.
The mission that we have set out on with Wedgetail is to conserve and restore biodiversity through sustainable investment.
The strategy that we are using to achieve our mission is to invest in commercial enterprises of all sizes that strive for financial sustainability and have ecosystem regeneration and improvements in biodiversity at their heart.
There are three focuses that we believe need to be kickstarted in order to create a sustainable system for biodiversity improvement:
- Build and find nature positive business models.
- Provide financial capital to help these business models grow.
- Improve natural capital measurement so high integrity impact can be achieved.
Wedgetail wants to accelerate systems change. Society needs to understand that nature is not a free resource to extract profit from and leave in ruin. Instead, all companies, organisations and individuals need to value it and understand that we are a part of it.
In order to drive systems change it requires radical action, and radical action entails risk. We understand that financing outcomes in biodiversity is unusual in today’s world, but we are searching for those who believe in it as passionately as we do, and backing them in their bold ideas to make a change.
We call this Venture Conservation and we hope it inspires others to join us in changing how financial flows can be shifted towards projects and businesses that seem risky now, but will ultimately lead the way in preserving our planet.
Venture Conservation in action
Wedgetail has already begun to put our money where our mouth is. Over the last year we have been hunting for business and land owners who need just a bit of help to tip them over into scalable biodiversity improvements, and we have found some amazing people creating this new wave of businesses.
One of those is Zorzal Cacao. Zorzal are located close to the equator, in the Dominican Republic. They were set up 10 years ago by Charles Kerchner, with the aim of using the cultivation of high-quality cacao as a way to support the preservation of migratory birdlife; in particular, the Bicknell’s Thrush.
Zorzal have established exemplary agroforestry practices to achieve this goal, as well as reserving large areas of land specifically for the preservation of the Bicknell’s Thrush. They have also begun expanding those practices into the surrounding community, by paying higher prices for bird-friendly cacao from local farmers and helping them to improve their farming practices to meet that criteria.
It is truly a great example of a visionary using their entrepreneurial skills to scale the impact they can have, and Wedgetail has been lucky enough to be able to support Zorzal’s work in the community.
By the provision of a loan which enables the purchase of significantly more bird-friendly cacao from local farmers, Wedgetail is helping Zorzal to scale its unique biodiversity impact to an area much larger than its own land, and teach the others around them that value can be economic, and environmental, and social.
Wedgetail is working with many other partners around the world to find these biodiversity-friendly business models and support them with finance, strategy, and education. And we are always on the lookout for other inspiring organisations who need a little help!
As we dive deeper into the area of sustainable biodiversity, it is a joy for us to learn about the many ways that people all over the world are finding new expressions for sustainable business.
They give us hope that humanity can pull ourselves out of the downward spiral that we’re currently in, and use our strengths as an intelligent, thoughtful, and impactful species to build a world that is truly balanced and diverse.
As we find more areas where finance can be used an effective tool to amplify the new wave of biodiversity-focused sustainable businesses, we will champion those businesses, and we welcome you to join us.