We typically think of value and ROI in monetary terms, but what about the social value of an investment? Or its environmental return? The field of ecological economics is built around the idea that the health of our land serves as the foundation of our economy, and we know that assigning a monetary value to ecosystem services helps us to be better stewards to these resources. So, how do we put carbon sequestration on the balance sheet? How do we build market incentives to reverse climate change at scale? And how do we talk to investors about deploying capital in ways that create real value for the landscape AND provide a healthy financial return?
Ryan Anderson is the Strategy Lead with the Delta Institute, a nonprofit working to collaborate with communities to solve complex environmental challenges across the Midwest. They identify opportunities for market-based environmental solutions and then proceed to design, test and share those solutions for the social, environmental and economic benefit of their community partners. Ryan joined the team at Delta in 2007, and his role involves connecting innovative people and ideas to specific resources and places. Currently, he’s focused on reversing climate change by working with farmers to sequester carbon in the soil, creating a more inclusive and regenerative economy in the process.
Today, Ryan joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the principles of ecological economics and the debate around financializing ecosystem services. He describes his work with The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), sharing its successes and failures and explaining what Nori can learn from his experience with the project. Listen in for Ryan’s advice to impact investors on diversifying their portfolios with farmland and learn about the Delta Institute’s recent report on valuing the ecosystem service benefits of regenerative agriculture practices.
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[2:29] Ryan’s path to reversing climate change
[7:59] The principles of ecological economics
[9:44] Ryan’s take on financializing ecosystem services
[16:28] Basic market terminology
[21:52] The function of The Chicago Climate Exchange
[28:19] The successes and failures of CCX
[33:44] What Nori can learn from CCX
[38:46] The mission of the Delta Institute
[42:18] Ryan’s advice for impact investors
[47:41] Ryan’s hope for the Nori pilot