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The Need
The health and diversity of the world’s natural ecosystems are in rapid decline. With dramatic increases in the human populations, the pressure on this natural capital will only accelerate, with significant negative consequences for human welfare and the global economy.

The Opportunity
To endure, natural ecosystems need to prove their economic, social and ultimately political case. Most have significant potential in this regard, but it remains largely unrealised.

Our Response
We design and build smart business plans for terrestrial and marine conservation areas. Our approach uses commercial business and creative institutional structures to support long-term financial and ecological viability of these natural environments. Our project areas range from single sites, through to entire conservation landscapes and networks of protected areas.

Our Track Record
Our work spans over 15 countries, more than 25 conservation landscapes and almost 80 conservation businesses. We have so far helped raise, structure and manage nearly US$250 million for sustainable ecosystems initiatives.

For an overview of our wider portfolio of case studies under Sustainable Ecosystems please click here.


Core Competency: Conservation Area Business Planning
We conduct a thorough assessment of conservation areas, across a range of public, private and community-based contexts, to identify conservation needs and priorities, commercial revenue development opportunities, and the appropriate institutional structuring required to optimise management performance and related revenue generation.

Examples include: 

  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Kenya): Led the US$ 21 million acquisition, development and early governance of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy - now an IUCN recognised, award-winning enterprise-driven conservancy in central Kenya generating annual revenues of US$ 12 million across four industry sectors; with 85,000 visitors a year; and now home to the largest black rhino population in East Africa.

  • Chuilexi Conservancy (Mozambique): We designed, planned and secured one of the largest private sector tourism holdings in Africa. Operating today as Chuilexi Conservancy, a collaboration with Fauna & Flora International, we provide management and business development leadership to this 1.4 million-acre wilderness set within the vastness of Niassa National Reserve.

  • Dundreggan Reserve (Scotland): Developed a cost management and commercial revenue generation plan to finance Trees for Life’s flagship 10,000-acre ecosystem and forest restoration project at Glen Moriston near Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.


Private Sector Partnerships
Partnerships with the private sector are a rapidly emerging trend for optimal conservation area management. We design, negotiate and help implement public-private partnerships across state protected areas, local community lands and private holdings.

Examples include:

  • Mara Conservancy (Kenya): Co-founded the Mara Conservancy - the first ever example of a public-private partnership for the management of part of the iconic Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and 17 years on a leading example of conservation area management in East Africa.

  • Gonarezhou National Park (Zimbabwe): We provided detailed design input to an innovative new public-private partnership model between the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) for the management of the 1.2 million-acre Gonarezhou National Park in south western Zimbabwe, part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area.


Commercial Revenue Scoping
We evaluate conservation areas for their potential to generate commercial revenue, delivering recommendations for optimal management and the institutional structures to support this.

Examples include:

  • Carpathian National Parks (Ukraine): A rapid revenue assessment scoping exercise in collaboration with FZS to inform the development of innovative conservation businesses across nine national parks in Western Ukraine.

  • Grumeti Reserves (Tanzania): Provided recommendations following a thorough review of the institutional arrangements for the Grumeti Reserves on behalf of the Singita Grumeti Fund, twinned with an assessment of the current and possible tourism development opportunities across these reserves, a 350,000-acre mosaic of state, community and private land on the border of the legendary Serengeti National Park.

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Tendering & Concession Management
We design and lead structured tendering and concession processes for government protected area authorities, communities and private landowners – particularly around the development of conservation tourism enterprises.

Examples include:

  • Niassa National Reserve (Mozambique): A comprehensive redesign of the tendering and contracting process for this 10-million acre protected area, working with Deloitte. Our work led to the award of 10 hunting and photographic tourism concessions to private sector operators; which increased revenues by more than 500%.

  • The Uganda Conservation & Investment Forum (Uganda): A major new public-private partnership initiative together with the Giants Club, Space for Giants and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), we are leading the design and development of significant new tourism and public-private partnership concessions across the entirety of Uganda’s protected area estate on behalf of the Government of Uganda.


Developing Conservation Businesses
We develop business and related financing plans for individual commercial enterprises designed to drive both commercial success and meaningful conservation outcomes in and around high-value conservation areas.

Examples include:

  • Rungwe Avocado Company (Tanzania): As advisor to Umiliki Investments, a founder investor, together with Maris Capital, Agdevco (funded by DfID) and the African Enterprise Challenge Fund, we co-developed the initial business plan for this innovative example of how investment in sustainable agriculture can be used to drive improved livelihoods and increased conservation incentives in the high-value natural landscapes of southern Tanzania.

  • Linking Livestock Markets to Conservation (Kenya): As founder investor, we developed the business plan for a pioneering trading partnership between one of Kenya’s largest commercial livestock operations and a growing base of pastoralist communities across the semi-arid savannah landscapes of northern Kenya. The Nature Conservancy subsequently provided follow-on investment of US$ 7 million via NatureVest.


Organisational Development
We design and implement strategies for conservation organisations to engage and harness commercial business at the heart of their environmental work.

Examples include:

  • African Wildlife Foundation (Africa): AWF is the oldest international African conservation organisation – now recognised as having one of the best track records for an NGO in the field of ‘conservation enterprise’. Over 10 years we worked with AWF to design and roll out this strategy via a portfolio of more than 20 enterprises across the tourism, livestock, agricultural, bio-enterprise and aquaculture sectors in 10 countries.

  • Rewilding Europe (pan-Europe): Together with WWF, The Ark Foundation and Wild Wonders of Europe, we co-founded one of Europe’s most innovative conservation organisations, shaping its pioneering commercial enterprise and related finance strategy. In seven years we have helped conceive 10 new business opportunities and advised or financed more than 50 ‘rewilding SMEs’ across 9 countries and 5 sectors.


Sector-Wide Strategy Development
We work at national and regional levels to develop strategies for specific industry sectors to harness economic activity for conservation benefit.

Examples include:

  • National Wildlife Tourism Strategy (Ethiopia): Having developed tourism plans for the Simien Mountains, Bale Mountains and Nechisar National Parks, we were commissioned by AWF and the Ethiopian Government to develop a protected area wildlife tourism strategy for Ethiopia.

  • Regional Tourism Strategy (Botswana / Zambia / Zimbabwe): Conducted an in-depth tourism sector assessment along the Zambezi River. This study addressed conservation, community and tourism markets, trends and new enterprise opportunities.

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Building Political Relevance
Sustainable conservation activity, particularly in developing nations, is increasingly dependent on conservation’s economic and social relevance to local communities - and their elected political representatives. In addition to business planning for conservation areas, we have developed a specific framework to help conservation projects and businesses systematically assess and optimise their performance around this critical dynamic.

Examples include:

  • The Black Rhino Performance Bond (Pan-African): Conservation Capital is building a political relevance and risk management component around the US$ 50 million outcomes-based, species-focused financing instrument it is currently developing for rhino conservation across six protected areas in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

  • Laikipia Conservancies (Kenya): Conservation Capital is currently undertaking a review of five high profile conservancies in Kenya’s Laikipia County, with the specific objective of enhancing their local and national economic and social utility, and hence political relevance – likely to be driven by a diversified portfolio of conservation businesses.

  • Carpathian Mountains (Romania): Conservation Capital is supporting the creation of a network of community conservation areas which will ultimately form the basis for a new national park, subject to local political support.

Our future will depend on private sector involvement… Conservation Capital can shake things up.’
— Richard Vigne, CEO, Ol Pejeta Conservancy