Clients of investment consultancy WTW have invested in Gresham House’s $380m (€444m) biodiversity strategy, aimed at tackling UK biodiversity loss through nature-based solutions.

Gresham House said WTW has cornerstoned the Gresham House Biodiversity Co-Invest (GHBC), which has been created to invest in habitat banks created by Environment Bank Limited (EBL) – a portfolio business within Gresham House’s British Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (BSIF) strategy.

Gresham House which closed its BSIF II fund at $570m in November last year said it also planning to launch BSIF III with a funding target of $950m.

Habitat banks transform large, unused farmland into a mix of forests, ponds and grasslands teeming with life, following the UK government’s biodiversity net gain (BNG) guidelines for nature recovery. By transforming farmland into diverse ecosystems, habitat banks generate “BNG units” that developers can purchase to meet their legal requirements for nature improvement.

The WTW-backed GHBC strategy enables EBL to offer developers across England a fully-funded, one-stop solution to the challenges posed by the BNG requirements, providing legal and financial certainty.

Gresham House said EBL, which aims to create around 8,000ha of habitat banks by 2026, is the only national scale operator and already has a network of habitat banks across England ready to meet the needs of developers.

Peter Bachmann, managing director of sustainable infrastructure at Gresham House, said: “With nature consistently emerging as a key theme in the global narrative around climate, it shows consensus is rapidly growing among political and business leaders that we cannot combat the climate crisis without addressing biodiversity loss.

“We are extremely proud of having co-created a nature-based solution with EBL tailored to the needs of the UK government and industry alike. With the UK in the bottom 10% globally in terms of biodiversity, we can see no better place to partner with forward-thinking investors such as WTW to tackle this grave threat.”

So Yeun Lim, global head of infrastructure research at WTW, said: “WTW identified growing demand for opportunities to establish nature-positive credentials as there was a clear need for new, investible nature-based solutions.

“This type of solution provides an opportunity to deliver environmental impact alongside risk-adjusted financial returns in the natural capital space.”

Ruth Murray, investment director of sustainable infrastructure at Gresham House, said: “The backing of WTW speaks to their desire for climate leadership within the insurance and advisory sectors. We look forward to helping other investors deliver robust financial returns through driving positive impact for nature.”

David Hill, chairman and founder of EBL, said: “The rapid mobilisation of capital from world-leading institutions like WTW and Gresham House into the nascent biodiversity market speaks volumes about the quality of the ecology and proposition we’ve delivered.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Gresham House to bring this truly game-changing solution to market, and to see the growing recognition globally around the critical need to fund nature restoration at scale.”

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