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25 Sep 2018

Investing in our Forests for a Carbon Smart Future

Within 100 miles of Seattle are prime examples of some of the most productive natural systems-- forests, fisheries and farms/ranches--in the world. Our region’s natural capital offers us enormous carbon sinks that can stabilize and cool our precipitously warming planet. The stewards of these assets, our farmers, foresters, builders and ranchers are in the middle of a revolution, managing crops, buildings and trees in a different way. By combining old practices and new technologies, these entrepreneurs are revitalizing natural systems and creating rural economic development. As impact investors, we must find ways to invest in this revolution.

We know that investing for change recapitalizes our region’s natural assets, opening opportunity for impact far beyond balance sheets.

At no other time has this convergence of natural potential and innovative investment been more needed. Compelling research by Paul Hawken has shown that transformIng our global forest and farm systems will sequester over 72 gigatons of carbon by 2050. Closer to home, recent research from Ecotrust and the University of Washington demonstrates that, managed differently, our NW forests have the potential to store significant amounts of carbon. A lifetime of study by David Montgomery has shown that it is possible to bring our soils back to life and rebuild carbon storage at the same time.

Humanity is facing a global reckoning with climate change and investors have the opportunity to be at the forefront of change. For us, this has meant investments in both food and forestry systems.

Consider radical change to the food system. Ecotrust, (a Northwest nonprofit that has worked since 1991 to foster new ways of living and doing business), recently opened opportunities for private investors to help develop The Redd on Salmon Street. The Redd is a regional food hub that serves to aggregate and distribute products from midsize Northwest farmers, ranchers and producers who are using regenerative agriculture practices, thus clearing supply chain
obstacles in getting quality food to market and fostering drawdown activities on ranches and farms.

Or consider the beating heart of our region's drawdown potential -- our forests. EFM, a B Corp certified, real asset investment company, has been working for nearly 15 years developing compelling investment opportunities at the intersection of working landscapes, conservation and rural economic development in the western United States. In this time it has been able to measure the myriad positive impacts associated with transitioning over 77,000 acres of
forestland to FSC-certified, climate-smart forestry across Oregon, California and Washington.

We are excited that Ecotrust is expanding its work in our backyard and welcome you to join the conversation at the Impact Hub on September 26.

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