World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Finance Earth (FE), alongside leading industry partners, launched a new concept to finance the transition to more sustainable fisheries worldwide. This innovative financing model focuses on reversing the trend of fisheries decline and scaling global fisheries improvements toward nature-positive outcomes for healthier marine ecosystems, thriving fishing communities, and a sustainable blue economy.
Finance Earth, an investment advisory and fund manager, will establish and manage this new mechanism – the Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF) – with the ambition to catalyze more than $100 million in investments in fisheries improvement by 2030.
“Through this blue finance mechanism, sustainable financing will be ensured for projects that are critical to scaling fishery reform over the coming decade for people and nature, through an efficient, equitable, and cost-effective model. Our vision is that this fund, under the management of Finance Earth, revolutionizes fisheries finance, driving game-changing environmental and social impact,” said Johan Bergenas, senior vice president of Oceans at WWF US.
Aquafeed companies joined the initiative
Cargill and Skretting brought their expertise and insights to the development of the concept and have agreed to participate in a pilot project to showcase and prove the new model. Large-scale seafood buyers and philanthropic foundations including Mars, Incorporated, Costco Wholesale, Sodexo, and Walmart Foundation are also supporting the launch of the Fund.
Cargill and Skretting will commit to a volume-based fee that enables the FIF to pay back upfront costs for the FIPs as well as create a long-term revenue stream. This innovation changes how long-term sustainability is funded, recognized as a cost of doing business, and embedded into product costs. This model is essential to a company’s future sustainability and profitability and the best way to ensure scalable funding across all areas of business.
“At Cargill, we are excited to engage with WWF and Finance Earth in this innovative blue finance mechanism to scale fisheries improvement. We see a clear and compelling business case for companies to invest in the long-term viability of their marine ingredients used for aquaculture products, especially as aquaculture production continues to grow exponentially. The industry needs to work to support sourcing from more sustainable fisheries through active engagement. Improvement in fisheries will reduce supply chain volatility and mitigate supply chain risk while enhancing business value across the sector,” noted Helene Ziv-Douki, president of Aqua Nutrition business at Cargill.
“At Skretting, we have a strong focus on reducing the environmental and social impacts of our feed ingredients. Sustainability is non-negotiable for doing business and is essential for the industry’s future growth. Given the scale of the sustainability challenges facing the world, we think it is impossible to achieve progress in isolation. This collaborative initiative is a perfect example of how we can come together as an industry to help further drive global fishery reform in an equitable and scalable financial model,” said Jorge Diaz Salinas, sustainability manager at Skretting.
The pilot project, more details of which will be released soon, has secured a capital commitment to pay for the upfront costs of transition through an innovative Program Related Investment (PRI) instrument. Testing the concept in the real world using these types of highly concessionary capital will create a blueprint for the Fisheries Improvement Fund to scale. Beyond the Pilot, the Fund will be able to attract capital from a wider range of sources beyond philanthropy, reducing transaction costs and enabling funds to be deployed at speed and scale to target Fishery Improvement Projects.
Finance Earth is now seeking proposals for fisheries worldwide that may be interested in seeking funding through the new Fisheries Improvement Fund and is open to opportunities brought forward by any relevant stakeholder(s): including NGOs, local fishing groups, industry actors, off-take/trading companies, buyers/retailers, and local/national governments. The fund can support both industrial and small-scale fisheries and is open to fisheries currently in a FIP or not yet in FIP. For more information, visit finance.earth/fif.