ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the closing of a first-of-its-kind offer of ten-year green bonds totaling $150 million. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to increase the scale of the Fund's "Working Forest Fund®", dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests. A working forest refers to forestland that is sustainably managed to supply a steady, renewable supply of wood for industry and consumer purposes while providing jobs and community benefits.
"America's large, intact working forests are being broken up and developed at an accelerating pace. Over the past three decades, 36 million acres of forests have been lost, and if left unchecked, another 37 million acres may be lost in the coming decades," said Larry Selzer, CEO of The Conservation Fund. "These forests are part of the critical infrastructure of our country. They provide us with clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. They support more than 8.5 million jobs and offset as much as 20% of our nation's carbon emissions. Our Working Forest Fund is a proven model for conserving these forests permanently. The bond is our first step in scaling up to our goal of conserving 5 million acres in the next 15 years."
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as sole underwriter of the bonds. "Achieving large-scale, long-term success in conservation will require the use of innovative business models," said Ritu Kalra, Head of Higher Education and Non-Profit Finance at Goldman Sachs. "Goldman Sachs is pleased to support The Conservation Fund's programs through this first-of-its-kind green bond offering. Tapping into capital markets can pave the way to catalyze significant growth in conservation finance by diversifying funding and mobilizing more mainstream capital to protect ecosystems throughout the United States."
"We believe these bonds will generate multiple dividends: conserving valuable forestlands, supporting rural economic resilience, and helping capture carbon," noted John Gilbert, Chief Financial Officer for the Fund. "The scale and speed of the capital markets just became part of the solution to one of the greatest domestic conservation challenges of our time."
Kyung-Ah Park, Head of Environmental Markets and Innovation at Goldman Sachs noted: "Climate transition and inclusive growth are strategic priorities for Goldman Sachs. We are proud to partner with The Conservation Fund to scale its impact by harnessing innovative sustainable finance instruments. We believe this unique green bond offering will not only help combat climate change by protecting high conservation working forests but also ensure sustainable livelihoods for the communities that depend on those ecosystems."
Founded in 1985 and headquartered in Arlington, VA, The Conservation Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to protect America's legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals. Additional information on the Fund is available at www.conservationfund.org.
For information, please contact:
John Gilbert, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Robin Murphy, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications
SOURCE The Conservation Fund