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Announcing CIB Phase 2: Scaling up one of Canada’s most innovative conservation finance solutions

LONDON, ON – November 24, 2021 - Today, the Leadership Team of the Deshkan Ziibi Conservation Impact Bond (DZCIB) is pleased to welcome the support from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to help launch Phase 2 of their innovative financial instrument aimed at conservation, reconciliation, and local green economic development.

The $300,000 contribution from ECCC will match private sector contributions for a Conservation Impact Bond (CIB) pilot to strategically accelerate wildlife and habitat conservation in one of Canada’s priority places, Long Point Walsingham Forest, while supporting local businesses and community well-being.

The announcement coincides with a major public event showcasing the DZCIB initiative and the key findings of detailed research report evaluating the CIB model and its preliminary outcomes.

“Today’s support from the federal government helps to scale out and replicate the CIB model,” said Michelle Kanter, Executive Director, Carolinian Canada Coalition. “It will continue to drive the CIB team’s mission to grow healthy landscapes in coordination with diverse leaders, including Indigenous, corporate, agriculture, manufacturing and ecotourism.”

“The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin, and we must tackle both crises together. That’s why the Government of Canada is funding projects like the Deshkan Ziibi Conservation Impact Bond Initiative.” Said The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “By supporting conservation, green innovation, green jobs, and reconciliation, this initiative represents the kind of innovative thinking we need to meet Canada’s conservation goals and address the climate crisis.”

The DZCIB model

One of the first of its kind in the world, the DZCIB financing model was conceived to mobilize increased capital toward reversing the trend of habitat loss and accelerating the growth and long-term stewardship of healthy landscapes. Groups and individuals can invest for monetary returns or environmental gains. Developed and launched in 2020 by the DZCIB Leadership Team consisting of Deshkan Ziibiing (Chippewas of the Thames First Nation), VERGE Capital, Thames Talbot Land Trust, Ivey Business School and Carolinian Canada Coalition, with the support of 3M, Phase 1 is the first step towards a goal of improving 400 ha / 1,000 acres of Ontario’s Carolinian Zone. Located between Toronto and Windsor, this area represents Canada's most complex and fragile ecoregion, and is home to many Indigenous Nations, some of the country’s most diverse flora and fauna, and approximately 25% of Canada’s human population.

“We must restore our relationships with the land in order for conservation to have long-term success. Deshkan Ziibiing (Chippewas of the Thames First Nation) has been a partner in developing the conservation impact bond since it’s early inception, through this project, we are able to help fulfill responsibilities given to us by the Creator to protect and steward the lands and waters” said Emma Young, Deshkan Ziibiing Senior Environmental Officer in the report.

She adds, “The name Deshkan Ziibi comes from the original Anishinaabemowin name given to the Thames River which translates to 'antlered or horned river.' It’s important to take time to build relationships, to listen, to learn and eventually trust one another when embarking on collaborative work. Indigenous people have been stewarding the land on the Turtle Island since time immemorial and its imperative the conservation sector begins to acknowledge and work with Indigenous nations who hold vital knowledge on maintaining and revitalizing local ecosystems.”

An Ivey Business School report titled, The Deshkan Ziibi Conservation Impact Bond Project: On Conservation Finance, Decolonization, and Community- Based Participatory Research, which was co-funded by the Smart Prosperity Institute, examines and evaluates principles of the DZCIB model from a conservation finance perspective. The report establishes five evaluation pillars that stand as guideposts for projects on the landscape and aim to track holistic impact including (1) connecting healthy habitats, (2) connecting opportunities, (3) connecting knowledge/circling and learning, (4) connecting our hearts and minds, and (5) connecting our bodies.

Read The Report

“Our current economic systems have not adequately accounted for the value of nature, and thus, do not sufficiently capture the impact and risks posed by environmental degradation,” said Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Associate Professor, Ivey Business School. “There is a fundamental disconnect between the way nature is addressed in mainstream economics and the intrinsic life-sustaining value it provides. The DZCIB will help shift how ecosystems and ecosystem services are valued.”

How the bond works

The CIB model is a “pay-for-success”, outcome-based conservation finance instrument. The core financial model is based on bringing together entities that place a tangible, monetary value on a service provided by nature and are willing to pay to ensure this service continues (“outcome payers”) with investors willing to invest upfront in these conservation outcomes (“impact investors”).

A healthy landscape portfolio of on-ground projects is co-developed and led by Carolinian Canada’s network of diverse landowners and leaders who protect, steward and grow healthy habitat (“habitat growers”). They include Indigenous, business, agriculture and non-profits who have deep local knowledge and experience to support thriving, resilient working landscapes. Project portfolios apply standards to improve local natural assets and advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

Impact investors will receive back their principal plus a monetary return on investment if the agreed upon outcomes from the healthy landscape portfolio are achieved. The pay-for-success model allows outcome payers (e.g. public agencies, foundations or companies benefiting from sustainability) to achieve environmental and sociocultural benefits while simultaneously decreasing their risk, accelerating action and driving innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness through the project implementation. This model allows private finance to flow into public-good projects and be rewarded if the program is successful.

Impact so far

As of July 2021, the DZCIB pilot has supported 53 healthy landscape projects in the Deshkan Ziibi region resulting in numerous ecological, sociocultural, and economic benefits. 69 hectares (171 acres) of habitat in southern Ontario have been improved, 39,000+ native plants have been planted, and approximately 450 people have been engaged in high-quality learning and activities on the land.

For a visual representation of the DZCIB pilot project check out this storymap here.

Interested groups and individuals are invited to accelerate nature-based services and scale up impact in CIB phase 2

About Carolinian Canada

Carolinian Canada is a network of leaders growing a green future with healthy landscapes in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. Together we save wildlife, water and way of life for thriving, resilient communities. Find your place.

About the Ivey Business School, Western University

The Ivey Business School ( at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Education at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.