Using climate risk data to unlock funding for ecosystem restoration projects

Blue Forest's mission is to use innovative finance to achieve sustainable environmental solutions, with a goal of increasing climate and ecological resilience by communicating the environmental and economic value of healthy ecosystems. Their work focuses on identifying the multiple benefits provided by resilient ecosystems such as protected air and water quality, reduced flood and fire risk, and enhanced biodiversity. The financing model relies on quantifying the benefits of ecosystem restoration and habitat management with local beneficiaries to enable traditional and new long-term funding commitments for ecosystem restoration projects. Private investors then provide the upfront capital for projects, accelerating the pace and scale of implementing restoration activities.

The challenge

In order to quantify risks from acute hazards, such as wildfire, Blue Forest relies on earth observation, field data, and local expert knowledge. While satellite observations and historic weather records enable organizations to characterize risk trends, data uncertainty around climate change poses a significant challenge in understanding future hazard risk. Future hazards are unlikely to resemble the recent past, both in location and intensity, and understanding the range of possible futures improves our understanding of current risk to infrastructure, communities, companies, and the environment.

Blue Forest is actively building approaches and tools for hazard mapping in new geographies. Much of their work has focused on forest management projects in California and the Pacific Northwest, where substantial local knowledge enables them to develop high-precision models of wildfire risk. To expand access to their suite of tools for conservation finance, Blue Forest seeks validated, high-resolution datasets on future hazard impacts and climate change vulnerability. New pilots are also exploring financing opportunities in coastal and marine ecosystems, which introduces a broader range of hazard risks and locations required for assessments.

Sust Global's solution

Sust Global evaluates future risk from water stress, drought, and wildfires. High-resolution data has helped Blue Forest to expand its geographical focus, by allowing for resilience modeling in areas that previously would have been too data intensive to undertake. By incorporating future risk into the economic value of ecosystem restoration projects, Sust Global can help Blue Forest more comprehensively assess ideal locations and projects for leveraging innovative finance.

In addition to providing event probabilities and other numerical estimates of hazard severity, the risk products from Sust Global employ a straightforward stoplight approach, indicating a high, medium, or low level of confidence. These outputs can assist Blue Forest in the communication of climate risk with stakeholders who don’t have a science background. It may also provide a valuable means to further project goals where existing data are limited. The spatiotemporal resolution and coverage of Sust Global’s data has also provided additional detail to project assessments: for example, water risk is available from the watershed level to regional and global coverage.

If you would like to learn more about how Sust Global can help your organization assess physical climate risk, get in touch by completing the form below.

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