Rapid growth of the global economy has accelerated the degradation of the Earth’s most important asset: the environment. Increasing poverty and challenges arising from climate change further threaten the planet’s natural systems. With a rising global population, the demand on natural resources to cover even basic human needs is intensifying – supporting businesses that promote the sustainable use of natural resources and help ensure their long-term viability is imperative. As part of a pioneering movement to harness business towards effecting environmental change, The Nature Conservancy launched EcoEnterprises Fund in 2000 to provide investment capital to grow small "eco"-businesses in Latin America. There is a compelling need for financing this niche. Companies of this size truly drive change – creating the engine for economic activity and generating livelihoods for bottom of the pyramid rural peoples which brings about positive social and conservation impacts.
EcoEnterprises Fund’s portfolio highlights twenty-three cutting-edge companies, in expanding sectors such as organic agriculture, ecotourism, sustainable forestry, and non-timber forest products which include innovative industry first-movers—from organic shrimp to biodynamic flowers, and ready-to-drink smoothies made from the latest Amazonian berry. With a successful ten-year track record, EcoEnterprises Fund has valuable learning to share – from what pitfalls to avoid when structuring investments to what types of assistance entrepreneurs in these emerging environmental sectors need most. Portfolio for the Planet translates a decade of experience into accessible lessons for both veterans and newcomers in the field: for those interested in investing in sustainable businesses, discovering novel approaches to environmental conservation, or seeing entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.
Tammy E. Newmark has been a leader in the impact investing field for 20 years. She has headed EcoEnterprises Fund since 1998, first for The Nature Conservancy and then, under EcoEnterprises Capital Management, LLC, her own company. Newmark led TechnoServe, Inc.’s environmental business advisory services in Latin America and Africa. Prior to that, she was a founding officer of Environmental Enterprises Assistance Fund where she established funds in Indonesia and Philippines focused on renewable energy, clean technology, and green investments.
Michele Pena has been part of the senior team at EcoEnterprises Fund for over decade, serving in a Chief Operating Officer capacity and as a partner in EcoEnterprises Capital Management, LLC. Pena has extensive organizational management and marketing expertise from her work at the Climate Institute, a nonprofit organization that facilitates dialogue regarding global climate change among scientists, policy makers, business executives and citizens.