There are, of course, costs for the social benefits of environmental cleanup. Can you fund that profitably? A progressive private equity firm says “yes” and is paying the bills.
Ecosystems Investment Partners is funding the restoration at Alligator Bend, just off the Louisiana Coast, in a highly innovative business-in-society commitment. According to The New York Times, the firm “intends to profit from its good works by selling environmental restoration credits to private developers and the Army Corps of Engineers, which need them to offset environmental damages done by their projects.”
The Alligator Bend project is a large scale (16,500 acres of swamp), expensive, risky and long-term investment. It could cost about $30 million. But Ecosystems Investment Partners has raised $181 million from investors for this and similar projects.
To the question of who puts money into this kind of risky trifecta proposition — restoring swamps (!) — The Times reports: “One of the investors is the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Mass. Katie Lincoln, the chief investment officer for the group’s half-billion-dollar endowment, said she put $10 million into [it] not as an environmental do-good project but as an investment that she expected would generate returns.”
And, with candor, she avers: “This is not a charity for us.”