What do you do at ReGen Future Capital?
Now, in my work as Director of Regenerative Programmes, I spend every day working to preserve the forest as a natural resource. I manage the development of ReGen Future Capital’s regeneration activity across soil, forest and ocean ecosystems. I also oversee the funding of independent projects through partnerships with on-the-ground organisations.
The principles of our regeneration projects are: to restore ecosystems, sequester carbon, and generate carbon credits. Though our ecosystem regeneration activities will ultimately take place across the globe, we are focusing our initial attention on the largest ecosystem on earth, the Amazon rainforest.
Known as ‘the lungs of the planet’ the Amazon rainforest produces around 20% of the world’s total oxygen. Scientists believe that about half of the world’s animal species and plant varieties are native to this forest. However, rampant and indiscriminate deforestation and rising global temperatures, due to increasing carbon emissions, are severely threatening the rainforest with destruction and disease.
Our planet cannot afford this loss. The Amazon is a major carbon sink (a natural reservoir that absorbs and stores carbon from our atmosphere). With global emissions still on the rise, we need our natural rainforests to offset carbon dioxide more than ever.
Our ambitious pilot project in Amazonia will focus on:
- Sustainable forest management – strategic conservation principles to protect the forests from logging and burning.
- Reforestation – extensive reforestation in areas that have been damaged and degraded by logging, increasing the Amazon’s capacity to sequester carbon.
- Agroforestry – working with local farmers and communities to deploy a large-scale agroforestry programme, integrating carbon-sequestering tree species with crops and livestock to increase land productivity and attract biodiversity.
By combining the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous peoples with the expertise of agronomists, farmers and forest management experts, my work, and the work of my team, contributes to ReGen Future Capital’s mission to protect and regenerate our natural resources.
What attracted you to ReGen Future Capital?
I met Riccardo in early 2019, back before ReGen Future Capital became the international organisation you see today. Within the first five minutes of our conversation, we talked about reforming broken business models, the need for ambitious scale to achieve global impact, and getting every type of business involved, from corporate investors and pensions funds to airlines and credit card companies. I knew I had to be involved.
What do you see as the main strength of ReGen Future Capital’s mission?
ReGen Future Capital has managed to bring a truly innovative investment model to life. It is rare to see a new and completely original climate change solution, especially in the world of institutional investment. As Riccardo often says, “instead of providing a piece of the puzzle, we’re putting the puzzle together”.
In my opinion, this is the biggest strength of ReGen’s mission. It is an interesting and exciting offer for investors who are looking for creative ways to achieve SRI and ESG criteria whilst securing a sound financial return. To this day, I am yet to see anything else like it.
How should the investment community respond to the climate crisis?
The role of the investment community in responding to global warming and the climate crisis is nothing short of essential. The investment community wields enormous power, influencing decisions about the allocation of capital and the flow of money to different channels. The investment community, and the decisions it makes, provide the fuel that is required to implement structural change on a global scale.
Is it possible to redefine capitalism and rethink ‘business as usual’?
It is more than possible to redefine capitalism and rethink traditional business models. In fact, it is crucial to the survival of humanity. Only by reconsidering our assumptions about business, capitalism and economics, we will be able to improve the state of affairs for ourselves and for future generations.
Why is it important to reconnect humanity with nature?
I believe that humanity and nature have never been disconnected. Human beings are a part of nature, and always have been. We are one small piece of the wider picture that is planet Earth. However, somewhere along the line, we forgot this. I would say that it’s not so much that we need to reconnect with nature, rather, we just need to embrace a change of mindset about humanity’s position in the world.
What excites you about regenerative investment?
In today’s world, investments that are labelled “green” or “sustainable” often use investor capital to ‘do less bad’ or simply avoid the worst pollutants like oil or coal. This is not a solution. In fact, it is nothing more than a patch – a quick fix that ignores the significance of the underlying issues.
True green investment has a positive impact on people and planet, not just profit. Regenerative investment focuses exclusively on projects with the restoration of natural ecosystem in mind – where contribution back to the community is essential, and the financial profit is still real. Regenerative investment is a simple framework, but it has limitless potential.
How do you think the conversation on climate has changed?
It is clear that there has been a real shift in people’s minds over the last 5 years. I think that we have reached a tipping point where people have realised that we all need to change – and the vast majority are ready to make that change. But the solutions that invite everyone to come to the table and contribute are still far too limited – we look only to NGOs or charities to save the day.
In our day to day lives, there are still too many petrol cars on the road, there is still too much plastic packaging in our stores, and there is still not enough focus on how we are handling our natural resources on a daily basis. Although we have seen progress in the last five years, I think that it is how we progress the conversation over the next five years that will truly define our time on this earth, for decades and centuries to come.
What keeps you hopeful that we can tackle the climate emergency?
I feel hopeful when I see not only activists and students getting involved, but businesses and multinational corporations too. Ultimately, we will reach the point where the companies that do not engage with the need for systems change to combat global warming and mass extinction will be penalised for it. In my opinion, this is what will drive the massive structural change that we need to see.
Finally, what do you want to contribute as an individual and a business?
All I hope to do is to give my humble contribution to support this significant and necessary change.