The Conference of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers today issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking responses from qualified firms to manage the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Blue Growth Fund. The Blue Growth Fund seeks to attract investment capital for a multi-asset portfolio of projects and other real assets that contribute to the sustainable management, use and development of the region’s waters and generate non-concessionary, market-based financial returns.
The Fund is driven by three impact goals:
- 20% reduction of nutrient inputs to sensitive watersheds;
- 10% increase in energy efficiency for water utilities;
- 10-15% reduction in emissions resulting from less energy use, sustainable forestry and nutrient management.
The Fund’s investment portfolio will be built around three themes: sustainable forestry management and products; smart water systems; and sustainable agriculture production and agriculture technology. These themes were selected for their importance to the regional economy, direct connection to water, and capacity to deliver on the core impact targets. Portfolio assets may include debt instruments (including green bonds) private equity investments, public equities, derivatives (e.g., carbon credits), project finance vehicles, and other strategies to achieve both the targeted impact and targeted returns for the Fund as a whole.
The Conference of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers is leading the team that has been developing the Fund and will select the fund manager. The development team includes staff from The Nature Conservancy – Great Lakes Project/NatureVest; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP; and Corymbus, LLC. Representatives of Credit Suisse, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and others have as also advised the development team. Initial work is being funded under a grant by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service as part of on-going support to cross-border engagement via the U.S./Canada Forest Health & Innovation Summits.