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Tropical ecosystems are the most biodiverse in the world, and one of the most threatened. The main factor contributing to loss of habitat and biodiversity in these areas is the conversion of forest to agricultural land. A large part of the resulting commodities are then imported into Europe and transformed into food and consumer goods, thereby fueling a lot of the deforestation. This is exacerbated by the enormous loss that European forest ecosystems are suffering themselves due to unsustainable industrial agriculture. The N4C Fund aims to alter the incentive structures and economic drivers at play by redirecting capital and resources from current practices to more sustainable alternatives. This will generate real benefit not only in the short term but allow sustainable land use for future generations.
 
By pooling capital to direct towards such activities, we will create an alternative finance model. The impact of traditional charity and grant models can drop off significantly once funding is depleted; and mainstream private sector financing models, including conventional lending or private equity, often lack the holistic approach necessary to alter underlying economic and social drivers - and individual investors to fund such commercially viable and holistic projects. We aim to be the bridge between commercial interests and long-term solutions. We connect capital with conservation.
 
In doing so, we create an asset class that allows direct investment into sustainable development and rewilding of ecosystems. We aim to demonstrate that through carefully structured business models, it is possible to generate real returns: economically and ecologically.

NSI will build on the extensive networks and track record of Natural Strategies’ consulting work: With experience in 40+ countries across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, working with actors like the UN, WWF, GIZ and private investors, Natural Strategies is among the leaders on conservation finance globally. The company has piloted more than 30 projects on innovative carbon finance, community reforestation, and sustainable agriculture; and managed the largest UN project portfolio to mobilize USD 10.3 billion from the Green Climate Fund, the largest climate fund in the world.

Vision

Our Team

 
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Alexander Koch
CEO

15+ years executing UN nature-based solutions projects across 49 countries

  • Alexander Koch LinkedIn profile

Alexander is the Founder & Director of Natural Strategies. He has supported ecosystem conservation & sustainable land use in more than 49 countries in Africa, Latin America & Asia with the UN & the private sector.

 

Working with the Finance Unit of UN Environment for nine years, including as its REDD+ focal point person, he designed the largest global programme for UN Environment to help developing countries prepare to access the Green Climate Fund.

 

He also co-managed a pilot programme in seven African countries to launch forest & agroforestry projects through the carbon markets, including one of the first registered African REDD+ projects, and provided a broad range of technical assistance on

climate change & biodiversity, in support of governments, private sector & NGOs.

Alexander holds a University Master's Degree in Environmental Management & Restoration, a German University Law Degree & a University Diploma in Wildlife & Natural Areas Management.

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Ludwig Liagre 
Director, Global Pipeline and Partnerships

12 years leadership on economic and financial analysis of nature conservation with the UN and investors

  • Ludwig Liagre LinkedIn profile

With more than 12 years of work experience on economics and financial analyses related to nature and biodiversity, Ludwig leads our work on developing investment plans for protected areas and national parks. Ludwig is an in-depth expert for cost - benefit analysis of nature and land management strategies, the design of biodiversity - & climate funds and PES schemes.

 

He is also a highly skilled trainer with more than 20 trainings organized and facilitated in the last five years for UN, NGOs and private sector, including on economic valuation of nature conservation. He has co-authored more than 20 high profile publications about climate finance, innovative financial mechanisms for land-use conservation and financial flows to combat climate change.

 

Ludwig holds an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs (France-Germany-Italy), an MScs in Environmental Economics and Rural development from AgroParisTech, France and is currently pursuing his PhD on National Funds for Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Action.

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Destin Whitehurst
Chief Operating Officer (COO)

10+ years managing business operations across the private & public sectors

  • Destin Whitehurst LinkedIn profile

Destin brings deep experience in operational execution, having spent over a decade managing large-scale projects and programs for Fortune 500 clients. He has the versatility to navigate a range of topics including investment strategy, impact assessment, management reporting, regulatory compliance, and operations.

In the private sector, he has led initiatives to inform investment decision-making for a $200M portfolio of 70+ digital assets, managing financials, enabling go-to-market plans, and communicating the resulting impact. He has also managed integration activities for corporate acquisitions of $500M and $350M, and coordinated a global team to execute a multi-faceted supply chain program. With regards to ecosystem conservation & sustainable land use, he has led efforts related to protected area financing. 

Prior to Natural Strategies, Destin spent 9 years with Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy & Operations group. Destin holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's in Finance.

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Marianne Sulzer
Global Lead, Corporate Climate Action

15+ years in sustainable commodity production and green project development

  • Marianne Sulzer linkedin

Marianne is Natural Strategies’ global lead for corporate engagements for climate action. She advises our private sector clients on innovative financial solutions for carbon reduction and offsetting. As such, Marianne leads our advisory services for footprint analysis, strategy, verification and monitoring and manages the portfolio of Natural Strategies’ projects for corporate investments and carbon credits.

With more than 15 years of experience, Marianne Sulzer is highly experienced as international project manager and advisor to corporates for the greening of supply chains, sustainable sourcing and supplier development for agricultural products in emerging markets. As a manager and advisor to international impact investment funds including Finance in Motion, she has furthermore developed in depth expertise in the mobilization of green finance for sustainable supply chain management through investment deal origination and structuring.

Marianne is an Economist and holds an MBA in Supply Chain Management from the ETH Zurich.

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Florian Vernaz
Regional Lead, Nature-based Solutions South East Asia

15+ years in sustainable commodity production and green project development

  • Florian Vernaz LinkedIn profile

Based in Indonesia, Florian has been working on governance and sustainability issues in South East Asia for 15 years. With private sector and GGGI, he developed deep experience on sustainable land-use, integrating 

small-holder farmers into sustainable value chains and on business planning for social forestry. 

 

Among others, Florian  facilitated communal Plan Vivo Projects in South Sumatra to restore & conserve over 5,000 ha of peatland; supported spatial planning and green investments in Papua & West Papua; and advises private sector and indigenous groups on organic production of palm sugar, spices & nuts.

Florian graduated from Copenhagen Business School in 2005 with a MSc
in Development Economics. He was a member the Danish University Consortium for Environment and Development.

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Alexander Hunfeld
Investment Analyst

Deep multi-country experience in sustainable investments & fund structuring

  • Alexander Hunfeld LinkedIn profile

As an Investment Analyst with Natural Strategies, Alexander assesses innovative approaches for Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change around the world. Among others, he gained extensive theoretical and practical experience on concession systems targeting the agroforestry and ecotourism sectors in developing countries; explored capitalization options for conservation trust funds to secure sustainable long-term financing of protected areas; and assessed best practices on structuring impact investment funds for climate change mitigation.

In addition, having studied and worked in international contexts, Alexander gained strong skills in multinational project management and the development of impact driven startups.

Alexander holds a Master’s in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development from the University of Bologna, Italy and has completed additional trainings on Nature-based Solutions and innovative finance mechanisms.