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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 04/08

Up Front 04/08

Environmentalists will be closely monitoring a city investment after the announcement that a British based investment firm, Canopy Capital, has bought a large piece of the Guyanan rainforest – currently with the intention of not clearing it. Larger than the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, the tract of forest is home to some of the world’s most endangered species including jaguar, giant river otter, anaconda and giant anteater, and Canopy Capital hopes the investment will lead to conservation of the rainforest. Although the investment is not entirely based on altruistic ideals – the company hopes to sell it at a profit within the next 18 months – the concept of valuing rainforest for something other than land clearance is surely a step forward. Rainforests act as pumps, drawing water from the Atlantic Ocean inland to the Amazon, where they help to seed clouds and deliver moisture over vast distances. With deforestation contributing to a high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, leaders at last December’s UN climate summit did agree to try to halt their destruction. However, no matter what the UN, Governments, NGOs or other charitable organisations do, it is the investment community that is likely to have the power to bring about meaningful change to the environment. Canopy Capital is creating a financial asset out of conserving a rainforest and, as one of their directors pointed out, if you can generate income from standing trees maybe people won’t chop them down.

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