Duration:
29/12/2016 - 28/12/2020

Total LAIF contribution (€):
16 410 000

Total budget (€):
470 610 000

Types of Support:

  • Financial Instruments
  • Technical Assistance

Sectors:

  • Support to SMEs

COUNTRIES:

Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

Lead financing institution:


 

Co-financing institutions:

Context

Latin America is characterized by its wealth of biodiversity and natural resources. Six of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries are situated in this region. It is also a rich genetic reservoir for potential pharmaceutical drugs and for agricultural species preservation as well as biotechnical processes. Its ecosystems provide essential resources for its inhabitants (e.g. water quantity and quality, fertile soil, food, coastal preservation) and for the world environment (CO2-retention, climate control).

This natural ecosystem is threatened by the detrimental practices of some of its inhabitants. The most important drivers for degradation are changes in land use (mostly “large scale” agriculture), water pollution, and non-sustainable forms of fishery, forestry and tourism, among others.

Testimonial

Café Casal is a 255-hectare family-run coffee farm and mill located in the Ahuachapan Province of El Salvador. It receives financing from Banco Hipotecario, one of the eco.business Fund’s partner financial institutions, to modernize its ecological coffee mill and to renovate its plantations of shade-grown coffee. In El Salvador, where native forests represent only 2% of the territory, coffee forests (coffee trees and shade trees) are one of the few remaining refuges for biodiversity. The presence of wild frogs, tiger cats, deer, foxes and the Izote flower (El Salvador’s national flower) on Casal’s plantations provides concrete evidence of the benefits of this agroforestry system.

“We ensure sustainability in every step of our operations - from growing coffee forests that serve as carbon sinks, to our milling process. We have a protected reserve of more than 50 hectares of native forest and we plant an average of 90 000 trees yearly. For us, it is extremely important to conserve the native forests and the secondary forest made of coffee trees. Not only the environment, but also our business benefits from this, because it helps us to save water, reduce our water consumption, and to adapt to the effects of climate change by preparing us for rainfall scarcity”.  - Miguel Menéndez CEO, Café Casal

The project

The eco.business Fund is a joint initiative of investors intent on providing dedicated financing to support businesses and consumption practices that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, to the sustainable use of natural resources, and to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Fund focuses on sustainability in four economic sectors: agriculture and agro-processing, fishery and aquaculture, forestry, and tourism.

The financing can be provided directly or through local financial institutions with the capacity to reach the eco.business Fund’s target group, i.e. local enterprises engaged in or intending to engage in business activities related to the Fund’s environmental goals.

In addition, final beneficiaries and local lending institutions can count on high impact technical assistance provided by the eco.business Development Facility.

LAIF is an investor in the eco.business Fund and also provided a technical assistance grant for the eco.business Development Facility.

Environmental and socio-economic impact

Since inception in December 2014 up to June 2020, the eco.business Fund has contributed to:

 
Agroforestry systems

     271,000 hectares of land cultivated under sustainable management.

Soil conservation

     117,000 hectares of farmland under soil conservation practices.

     480 hectares of soil protected from erosion.

Business and producers     380,000 direct jobs supported.
CO2 stored     8.3 million tons of CO2 stored by agroforestry activities.
water saved     4.3 million cubic meters of water saved.
     33,000 liters of herbicides avoided.
     169,000 cubic meters of waste liquid treated or recycled.

Portfolio and investments

Since inception in December 2014 up to December 2018, the eco.business Fund has achieved:

  • USD 386.3 million in assets under management;
  • USD 489 million in loans to partner financial institutions since its creation;
  • USD 3.8 million invested in technical assistance projects;
  • 21 allied financial institutions in 8 countries;
  • 7 public and 6 private investors in the Fund;
  • 10 partner institutions receiving technical assistance in 12 countries
  • 71 technical assistance projects approved and executed.