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.
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 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.
Since inception in December 2014 up to December 2018, the eco.business Fund has contributed to:
|47,000 hectares under agroforestry systems receiving support.|
|70,000 hectares of farmland under soil conservation practices.|
|3,269 businesses and producers supported.|
|4.3 million tons of CO2 stored by agroforestry activities.|
|4.2 million cubic meters of water saved.|
Since inception in December 2014 up to December 2018, the eco.business Fund has achieved:
- USD 291.5 million of cumulative investments made in partner financial institutions;
- USD 457 million disbursed to end borrowers;
- USD 2.4 million invested in technical assistance projects;
- investments in 7 countries;
- 7 public and 6 private investors in the Fund;
- 42 technical assistance projects approved, of which 21 have been completed;
- 14 financial institutions supported with financing in 7 countries;
- 11 financial institutions supported with technical assistance in 7 countries.