New biodiversity market launched

A new biodiversity market was launched this week with the first transaction of biodiversity units between Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (the seller) and Profile Group Limited (the buyer). The mainland ecological island is now able to raise funds for conservation management from the sale of biodiversity units through the newly minted Ekos Sustainable Development Units Programme.

These biodiversity units will fund the conservation management of 83 hectares at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari for the 2022 financial year, according to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari CEO Phil Lyons.

“We have to fundraise every year to reach our annual operating budget, and this has typically focused on Visitor Revenue through education programmes and Ecotourism, Philanthropy, Community Grant Funding, Corporate, Local and Central Government Partnerships. Now we have an opportunity to raise funds in a market environment from businesses that want to embed biodiversity into their value chains,” Lyons said.

Mikayla Plaw, Executive Director of Organisational Development and Sustainability at Profile Group (parent company to APL Window Solutions and their other supply chain businesses) is delighted to be an early adopter in this new biodiversity market. “This is a fantastic way for us to deliver on our business responsibility and impact reduction goals as well as supporting a truly meaningful local project. Being able to purchase biodiversity conservation outcomes off the shelf through a transparent funding instrument is a unique offering. We are proud to be involved”, she said.

This transaction was made possible by Ekos through its new ‘Sustainable Development Units Programme’ developed with funding support from Trust Waikato, the Wel Energy Trust, and the D.V Bryant Trust.
Ekos founder and CEO Dr Sean Weaver said he developed this market-based conservation financing mechanism to unlock a new source of private sector money for conservation.

“The delivery of the UN sustainable development goals will require US$6.9 trillion in investment annually. It is a mathematical and financial certainty that there is not enough money in philanthropy and taxpayers’ pockets to meet this funding challenge” Weaver said.

“But the global fund management industry is projected to transact US$145 trillion by 2025 which means that (in theory) there is more than enough money in the private sector to look after the place. In practice, one has to create a robust structure for market transactions, and this is what we have done with our Sustainable Development Units Programme. The proof of concept is this first trade that we are celebrating today”, he said.

The integrity of this biodiversity market programme is based on an environmental markets quality system, including a standard and methodologies developed by Ekos and validated by environmental auditing firm McHugh & Shaw ltd.

“This conservation financing programme does not put a price on nature. It puts a price on the human labour and technology cost to look after nature”, Weaver said.

About Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari:

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is New Zealand’s most ambitious and inspirational ecological restoration project. At 3,363 hectares, Sanctuary Mountain is the largest pest-proof fenced project in the world. The fence, which is 47km in length, encircles a major tract of scarce remnant indigenous forest in the centre of the Waikato basin. The large size and quality of the habitat means Sanctuary Mountain is a viable home for self-sustaining populations of many of our most endangered species – from native birds to bats, frogs to reptiles, tuatara to giant weta.

Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust Board (MEIT) is responsible for leading, establishing and giving visibility to the vision and mission of Sanctuary Mountain® Maungatautari. The Sanctuary is vested in a unique iwi and community co-governance arrangement (Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust Board) with trustees representing landowners, mana whenua and the community.

About Profile Group Limited:

Once a silent holding company, Profile Group has recently been powered up to represent a family of businesses that together, form New Zealand’s only integrated aluminium and glass supply chain for window and door solutions. 

They take responsibility seriously and make commercial decisions to ensure environmental preservation and are working hard to implement circular principles in order to reduce their impact.

About Ekos:

Ekos is an environmental financing business specialising in nature-based solutions using the domestic and international carbon markets and now the biodiversity markets.

Sean Weaver, CEO Ekos, | 027 3563601

Phil Lyons, CEO Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, | 021 224 0946