EarthAcre announces an historic first in conservation funding - the sale of an option on biodiversity assets. This milestone represents a significant stride towards the conservation of biodiversity landscapes and the equitable compensation of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) for their invaluable stewardship of land. The sale marks a number of firsts - the first option on biodiversity assets, one of the first transactions in Africa (Kenya) of biodiversity assets, and one of the largest biodiversity asset transactions in the world to date at 50,000 acres (~20,000 hectares).
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- EarthAcre announces an historic first in conservation funding - the sale of an option on biodiversity assets. This milestone represents a significant stride towards the conservation of biodiversity landscapes and the equitable compensation of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) for their invaluable stewardship of land. The sale marks a number of firsts - the first option on biodiversity assets, one of the first transactions in Africa (Kenya) of biodiversity assets, and one of the largest biodiversity asset transactions in the world to date at 50,000 acres (~20,000 hectares). "EarthAcre believes one of the most effective and long-term ways to address climate change is by addressing the problem holistically - we need financial mechanisms that place biodiversity and communities at the center and protect our culture and our land," said Patita Nkamunu, co-founder at EarthAcre.
At the heart of this milestone lies EarthAcre's commitment to environmental conservation and equitable distribution of revenue. This novel financial instrument signifies the establishment of a new asset class which gives the buyer the right to purchase biodiversity assets in the future (recognizing the intrinsic value of pristine ecosystems), while also providing the community with funds today for the protection and stewardship of biodiversity immediately.
The EarthAcre biodiversity asset program is designed to direct 70% of its gross revenue back to the indigenous landowners and local partners who have acted as stewards of these lands for generations. Unlike many other initiatives, a progressive revenue-sharing model will be used, in which direct payments to individual landowners are made for their sustainable practices as part of the community. Given that the vast majority of the planet's biodiversity is on indigenous and community land, EarthAcre believes that combining culturally appropriate group management of the land alongside direct benefit for the individual is key towards safeguarding the Earth's rich biodiversity.
"This sale is not only a momentous achievement for EarthAcre, but an exciting and critical step in compensating landowners and communities for their role in stewarding biodiversity— this rare and historically undervalued resource" said Viraj Sikand, CEO at EarthAcre. "By facilitating the flow of financial resources from the Global North to the Global South, we are fostering a more equitable distribution of funds and enabling communities to continue their vital role in protecting the Earth's natural heritage."
EarthAcre's scientific approach is based on rigorous data models and remote sensing methodologies led by Andrew Davies, Chief Scientist and Principal Investigator at the Davies Lab at Harvard University. EarthAcre biodiversity assets prioritize transparency, academic rigor, and community benefit in every project they develop. As additional methodologies and standards are developed around the measurement of biodiversity, EarthAcre will continue to evaluate their rigor and align where appropriate.
EarthAcre is committed to the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as an integral part of its engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities. IPLCs have a central role with meaningful representation in decision-making processes, establishing them as recognized partners in project development. EarthAcre is dedicated to working with IPLCs by co-creating solutions, building on existing governance systems and amplifying traditional knowledge and experiences.
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EarthAcre is a Kenya-based company dedicated to catalyzing positive change through innovative financial instruments. The company's mission is to pair community knowledge with technology to enable long term nature stewardship, with the goal of protecting biodiversity and halting climate change. By creating a bridge between finance and conservation, EarthAcre aims to unlock the inherent value of biodiversity and empower communities to protect their natural heritage. EarthAcre offers both stewardship and restoration biodiversity assets for those looking to have a nature positive impact.
EarthAcre's founding team includes Viraj Sikand (Mulago Fellow 2023), Patita Nkamunu, (Council of Indigenous Women in Kenya and national board of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association), Yasha Portnoy (ex- Director of Engineering at Optoro), Mark Tracy (ex- Perennial, Indigo, Cargill), and Mohanjeet Brar, (Director of Gamewatchers, a Kenyan company that pioneered working with smallholder landowners to regenerate their land). In the past few months, EarthAcre has been welcomed into the World Climate Foundation, 2023 Diamond List, Harvard Climate Circle and selected as one of eight startups to participate in the Biodiversity Accelerator program to scale businesses creating a biodiversity-positive impact. More recently, the company was selected out of ~200 projects to be one of the pilots for Verra's SD VISta Nature Framework, and became a forum member of the Biodiversity Credit Alliance.