ABF Receives New Investments For Sustainable Ventures in the Amazon

BNDES invested R$75 million, and another R$75 million was invested by the Soros Economic Development Fund

November/December 2023The Amazon Biodiversity Fund (ABF) received new funding to invest in sustainable ventures with long-term impact on the Amazon. The National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) and the Soros Economic Development Fund committed  R$150 million. The SEDF is part of the Open Society Foundations, billionaire George Soros's philanthropy network, which is making its first investment in Brazil. 

ABF was co-designed by USAID, Impact Earth and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, with the latter being responsible for the anchor capital. It was designed to play an important role in increasing private sector engagement with critical development issues such as conserving biodiversity and better managing natural resources. 

In 2022, it received support from the ASN Biodiversity Fund, managed by ASN Impact Investors and other investors to overcome the financial challenges faced by companies, startups, and projects in the Amazon, offering long-term impact investment to finance sustainable ventures. In total, approximately R$235 million is available to invest in 15 companies. Contracts will range from R$4 million to R$20 million, with five contracts previously signed.

Beneficiaries include Manioca, a food brand that uses Amazon ingredients; Horta da Terra, a company that produces unconventional food plants from the Amazon, such as taioba and jambu; INOCAS, which grows macaúba in agroforestry systems; Amazônia Agroflorestal, which involves rural producers in the recovery of degraded areas through agroforestry systems with a focus on coffee; and the project Agro Verde, a collaboration between Rioterra and Reforest'Action. This initiative will finance the reforestation of 2,000 hectares of permanent protection areas on small rural properties in the Amazon. 

“The second closing is an important milestone for the fund. With the new investors onboard, the fund will now be able to deploy hundreds of millions of Reais of capital to high impact businesses and projects in the Amazon. It will allow ABF to utilize a broader range of innovative financing instruments adapted to the Amazon, and will result in a multiplication of impact for communities and biodiversity of the region”, says ABF manager Nick Oakes about the importance of these new contributions.

The announcement of BNDES financing was made during COP28 in Dubai. “This investment is yet another BNDES initiative aligned with public policies to promote the sustainable development of the Amazon and the green economy, with the differentiation of supporting impact entrepreneurship,” said Natália Dias, director for Capital Markets and Sustainable Finance at BNDES.

Four areas of action are conceptualized: conservation, reforestation and community livelihoods; small producer value chains; sustainable agriculture; and innovation in biodiversity services, finance, and technology to generate positive impacts on biodiversity and local communities. 

Standardized indicators and environmental/social action plans will be adopted to monitor the results of each investment. Initiatives’ success will be assessed in thematic areas including climate, ecosystems, species, subsistence, inclusion, sustainable companies and fair economic return.

ABF wants to enhance positive impacts for local communities in the Amazon region. Today, about 270 small producers benefit from the projects.