Backstory

Better Nature has been developed over two years through extensive consultation, and validated and improved through in-depth testing.

Over the first half of 2019 we had the opportunity to test our approach. A major philanthropic player in biodiversity conservation invited us to assist their development of a new grant programme. We analysed the field and consulted with stakeholders to build a picture of current activity and the potential impact of applying our theory of change. This led to the establishment of a new $10 million grant programme focused on political-economic rule change, using narrative and civic mobilisation, in the field of biodiversity finance. We maintain a non-executive position on the fund’s board, opting for continuing light touch engagement, which means we maintain the capacity to support other keystone actors.

The development of Better Nature has only been possible through the generous support of the the Bertha Foundation, the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the MAVA Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Current work

Moving forward, rather than developing any significant organisational infrastructure or running a large grant programme, we plan to influence and support multiple keystone actors to adopt this approach, adapting existing and building new infrastructure, grant and investment programmes so that they address political-economic rules change head on.

We are currently working with a multilateral development agency with global reach, supporting their country offices, thematic programmes and executive office to identify political-economic rules change that will facilitate nature-based solutions to development challenges.

Future work

Our next engagement looks set to be working with another multilateral development agency, this time focused on large-scale land restoration. We have proposed an approach which, through an explicit focus on changing the narrative of hopelessness, poverty and lack of opportunity, aims to activate the regions populations to engage in large-scale restoration efforts. Importantly, in parallel to these efforts, the idea is to focus equally on employment and enterprise development alongside rural renewable energy provision. Communications and narrative mapping work is currently being commissioned and we continue to advise on the programme’s development.

Team

Mark Halle: Most recently IISD’s European Representative and Director for Trade and Investment, and previously with UNEP, IUCN and WWF International, Mark lectures and writes frequently on issues relating to sustainable development.

Randall Krantz: An expert on process design and multi-stakeholder engagement for sustainability. Following a decade in the power sector, Randall has spent 15 years brokering and building partnerships with business, government and civil society in a range of environment and industry domains.

Ben Metz: A psychologist and entrepreneur with 25 years experience across the social sector, Ben is inspired by impending climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse to build solutions that are proportionate to the challenges ahead of us.

The team is supported by a number of advisors, including Darius Nassiry, currently senior adviser at Climate Finance Advisers in Washington.