Investing in...Nature?


Natural Capital

Saving nature is the smartest commercial investment any business or government can make.

Our CEO Mark Tercek, former managing director and partner at Goldman Sachs, makes this point in his new book, NATURE’S FORTUNE: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

Through citing case studies ranging from Columbian sugar cane growers and Central California fisheries to Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical, Tercek shows how economic growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive.

New Business Models in California

Tercek highlights the Conservancy’s pioneering partnership with California fishermen and coastal communities to make the groundfish industry more economically viable and ensure a healthy and productive ocean.

Historically, groundfish—fish that live on the bottom of the ocean, such as black cod, sand dabs and petrale sole—have served as the backbone of fisheries in Central California. But, the fishery collapsed in the late 1990s due to interrelated environmental and economic problems.

In short, the fishery was overinvested in a business model that focused on catching high volumes of fish and selling them for low values.

As regulation was introduced into the fishery to rebuild certain stocks, the fishery was unable to continue its volume-focused business model. As a result, many fishing communities began to witness a drastic decline in the local catch, fishery revenue and jobs. Processors and fish buying companies began to close their doors or move their businesses elsewhere.

There was a critical need for a new business model if our fishing communities were to survive.

To address problems in the fishery and to help rebuild fish populations, local fishermen worked with The Conservancy to establish 3.8 million acres of no-trawl zones off California's Central Coast. The Nature Conservancy then purchased boats and trawl-fishing permits to mitigate the economic impact of these closures.

We’re now leasing these permits back to fishermen who agree to fish in more environmentally friendly ways, which also tend to bring in higher quality fish and a higher price for the fishermen.

NATURE’S FORTUNE: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature is a revolutionary guide to the new conservation—innovative, collaborative, financially sophisticated and relevant from megacities to small towns, from trackless wilderness to the factory floor, from remote countryside to the corner office. 

  • Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.