International fisheries nonprofit Ocean Outcomes and social enterprise Blue Finance have received grants from blended finance provider Convergence to implement marine sustainability-focused projects.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based Convergence, which provides blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries, announced the grants on 8 June, World Oceans Day.
Ocean Outcomes (O2) works with commercial fishing companies, local communities, and other nonprofits to develop and implement sustainable fisheries and fish farming practices. Convergence has awarded O2 with funding to explore the feasibility of a USD 50 million (EUR 44.2 million) sustainable seafood fund to support improved practices in fisheries production.
The fund for O2 will leverage private and public capital to provide a pipeline for funding to reach development projects that improve the sustainability of global fisheries, according to Neel Inamdar, who is leading development of the fund for O2. Specifically, the project will target the creation and management of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The lack of substantial, long-term financing for fisheries improvement is a significant barrier to meeting sustainable seafood production goals,” Inamdar said. “Support from Convergence will allow us to scope a solution to this critical need by providing an opportunity for leading companies to mainstream sustainability into their business models while also addressing long-term seafood supply risks.”
Blue Finance, a social enterprise that works to develop solutions for the management and financial sustainability of marine protected areas (MPAs), has received a proof of concept grant for the Blended Blue Finance Facility (BBFF), which will fund more effective management of several MPAs in Southeast Asia.
“The BBFF structure brings together local communities, NGOs, government, donors, and investors in a collaboration that seeks to blend commercial finance and grant funding to finance the up-front capital needs of the MPAs,” the organization said. “Marine and coastal ecosystems face ongoing threats from a variety of sources including unsustainable fishing, poor agricultural practices, coastal development and tourism. New financing models are needed to inject additional capital to support development projects advancing sustainable management of marine areas and fishing practices. “
With the funding, more attention and resources will flow to efforts to improve the sustainability of the fishing sector in Southeast Asia, Blue Finance Executive Director and Co-Founder Nicolas Pascal said.
“Conservation projects, particularly those focused on marine ecosystems, are not attracting enough commercial capital due to a shortage of investment-ready projects. This grant enables Blue Finance to increase investment in marine conservation and economic development in Southeast Asia,” Pascal said.
Convergence is funding the projects through its Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window’s Design Funding Program. The program aims to attract private investment at scale to “enhance and proect the world’s stock of natural assets,” in particular, aiming early-stage capital to support blended finance to accelerate the number of investible transactions in projects that work through the market to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The projects receive funding will directly support SDGs 13, 14, and 15, Convergence said. The anchor funder for these projects is RS Group, which contributed USD 3 million (EUR 2.7 million) to the cause.
“We are delighted to use our design funding program as a true market accelerator to support Blue Finance and O2, both presenting promising and scalable blended finance solutions to attract greater private and public sector investment towards projects focused on natural capital across the Asia-Pacific,” Convergence CEO Joan Larrea said in a press release.