Impact investing—investment dollars designed to deliver both financial and social or environmental returns—is being used by investors to deliver social progress and secure a worthwhile economic return on their investment.
The idea is very simple: better managed fisheries are more profitable than poorly managed ones. Money can be made by putting in place the management measures that allow fish stocks to rebound.
We have seen this work for the farming and forestry sectors. But given the depleted state of global fisheries, it’s time we apply these learnings to fisheries management.
Because the usual ways of doing business have failed and government action alone has not solved the challenge, we at The Rockefeller Foundation thought it was time to look outside the usual approaches and see what was working and could be deployed to help improve the state of our global ocean.
Good things are happening
Much of the recent progress towards improving the state of fisheries is coming from the private sector. Seafood buyers and retailers are working with fishers to make sure that the fish they are buying is well managed. In many cases, seafood sellers are investing their money to improve conditions in poorly managed fisheries through Fishery Improvement Partnerships (FIPs). They are doing it because their customers want and demand well managed fisheries, and because it makes good business sense.
The Rockefeller Foundation is exploring new approaches to bring together actors who will benefit from improved fisheries. Impact investors, seafood retailers, processors, government regulators, and fishers are working together to revitalize small scale fisheries.
3 Simple Steps
EKO Assessment Management Partners have proposed 3 mechanisms to help change the future of fisheries, which we have the honor to present in the latest edition of Handshake, the quarterly journal of the World Bank on PPPs:
- A microfinance/small and medium-enterprise route-to-market vehicle, which targets improved processing and distribution logistics to increase the sourcing of sustainable seafood in developing countries. This mechanism gives local fisheries the opportunity to benefit from the success of this model.
- A public-private partnership vehicle whereby investors fund private partners to deliver a number of data, enforcement, management, and assessment services that support sustainable fishing practices and increased employment in the fisheries sector.
- A pay-for-performance impact vehicle. This would fund interventions targeted at specific seafood production systems, providing long-term supply contracts that alleviate the burden of risk borne by fishers in exchange for measures that improve the management of the fishery.
Impact Investing has leveraged transformative change in many sectors. It’s time that to propel fisheries to a sustainable future.