IMPACTASSETS 50™

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2021 PROFILE

Ecotrust Forest Management

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Commodities
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 15 – Life on Land
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Natural Resources and Conservation
Water and Sanitation

Firm Overview

Category: Real Assets - Forestry

EFM is dedicated to developing natural climate solutions for a carbon-constrained future. We are a real asset investment company that develops land based solutions that aim to generate positive environmental and social impacts, including carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, and water quality protection while creating investor value. We steward $170M in AUM (as of 6/30/20) and since our founding in 2004, have transitioned more than 100,000 acres of forestland to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified management. Our objective in managing forests is to produce a full range of goods and services - logs for mills, clean water for communities, carbon sequestration and biodiversity - for the benefit of all our stakeholders. Our team has deep experience in natural climate investments and management, finance, tax credits, and environmental markets. EFM is proud to be a top 50 Impact Fund Manager since 2012 and among the top 10% of B Corps globally since 2013.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

EFM believes that climate-smart strategies are the future of real asset investing in a carbon-constrained future. We develop approaches that consider traditional markets for timber while also monetizing unique conservation, cultural, and environmental assets that we believe will create enduring value for investors and for ecosystems.

Investment Overview:

The natural forests of the western U.S. have unique social, environmental and cultural dimensions that are largely ignored by traditional investment approaches and this creates opportunities for differentiated investment and management strategies. Forestland is a largely mature asset class, but conservation finance opportunities create an avenue for forestland owners to access previously untapped revenue streams while also generating public benefit. EFM acquires assets that are largely overlooked by conventional investors because of their unique operational, environmental, or social attributes—targeting landscapes that will benefit from our management strategies and conservation finance expertise. We specialize in the use of tools like conservation easements, carbon offsets, tax credits and recreational permits that can monetize the value of standing trees, and our climate-smart management approaches are designed to generate selective timber income while growing and restoring forest health.  

Company Differentiator:
  • EFM has transitioned more than 100,000 acres of forestland to FSC-certified, ecological management. EFM specializes in blending public, private and philanthropic capital in investment strategies that monetize conservation easements, tax credits, and carbon contracts.
  • We primarily focus on the forests of the western U.S., one of the few places globally where commercial forestry is attractive within a natural forest context and have been pioneering climate-smart silvicultural strategies that balance ecological goals with economic outcomes.
  • We believe we are the only TIMO committed to strategic exits to conservation minded buyers that preserve the conservation impact of our action and many of our properties are intended to become state parks, wilderness areas, community forests, preserves, or owned by Tribes.
  • EFM is one of the few TIMOs to be majority Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified – the gold standard for sustainable forest management. 

Investment Example

In 2014 EFM acquired Desolation Creek, a 13,300 acre mixed conifer property in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. We were drawn to the property’s spring-fed salmon spawning streams which feed the John Day River. Upon acquisition EFM embarked on an ambitious restoration plan to remedy decades of prior overharvesting, involving dozens of partners including the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the U.S. Forest Service and the North Fork John Day Watershed Council. Six years into our ownership and management there are thriving populations of elk, deer, bear, bobcat, Chinook salmon, bull trout and many other species, including a breeding pair of wolves. Through an arrangement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the property is open to the public for recreation, foraging and hunting, providing food and other benefits to local communities, many of which are economically distressed. 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Bettina von Hagen – CEO More Info

Bettina helped launch EFM and joined the company as CEO in 2008. Bettina has spent the past 30 years working to promote economic viability, social equity, and environmental health in the Pacific Northwest with a particular focus on forestry. A former vice president of Ecotrust’s Natural Capital Fund and commercial banker, Bettina has over 30 years of experience in banking, impact investing, and fund management. She also has significant expertise in ecosystem service markets, particularly the forest carbon market, where she is involved in developing protocols for forest carbon projects at the state and federal levels.

Amrita VK Vatsal – Managing Director More Info

Amrita joined EFM in 2011 and is a member of EFM’s management team. In this role, she shapes the company’s growth and impact investment strategies managing new product development, fund structuring and investor recruitment. Additionally, as a member of the investment committee, she contributes to property sourcing, transaction structuring, conservation finance, and carbon project development. Prior to EFM, Amrita was an Assistant Manager with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Singapore for 5 years and she subsequently cultivated a passion for financing the growth of environmental business while working for Piper Jaffray’s clean-tech banking group.

Chris Sweeney – COO More Info

Chris leads the day-to-day operations of the Management Company and its Funds including finance, accounting, tax, valuation, financial reporting, investor reporting, compliance and office operations. He has 30 years of experience in the financial services and investment industry most recently as Chief Operating Officer at Prime Buchholz, an institutional investment advisor headquartered in the greater Boston area. Prior to Prime Buchholz, Chris served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of World Learning, Inc., a global education organization, and held several executive roles at State Street Global Advisors and State Street Corporation.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
50% or more
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Conserving land, oceans, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Increasing access to water and sanitation
Value-added Services Offered:
Other: We have no direct investees since investments are made in forestland. We provide employment to residents of low-income and underserved rural communities through the implement of our climatesmart forestry strategy.

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

Since 2004 EFM has been developing climate-smart approaches to natural forest management that are the keys to unlocking value in a carbon-constrained future. Our approach allows us to create value beyond producing logs and wood fiber, including improved carbon storage, habitat, soil formation, climate regulation, and water storage and purification. Additional benefits include community enhancement by creating locally based employment opportunities alongside the economic contributions of timber harvests and forest management and restoration activities.

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

We deploy our investors’ capital alongside conservation finance tools to acquire forestland assets with unique environmental and social attributes. We specialize in the use of tools like conservation easements, carbon offsets and public financing that can monetize the value of the standing trees without harvesting the logs for lumber. We manage these lands to FSC standards – the highest benchmark for responsible forestry. As an active forestland manager, we work to enhance forest health and productivity, harvest timber sustainably and develop non-timber forest products to create jobs in economically distressed rural communities.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Member of Impact Capital Managers
Impact Frontiers Cohort Participant
Implement recommendations from Task Force on Climate Related-Financial Disclosure
Net Zero Assets Managers Initiative
Utilizes standardized impact metrics (e.g. IRIS+, GIIRS, etc.)
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Kim Foley
Phone: 503-467-0823
Mailing Address:

721 NW 9th Ave, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97209 USA

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