An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers


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.

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2023 PROFILE

Blue Forest Finance Inc

Total Assets Under Management: Less than $25M
Asset Class: Private Debt - Absolute Return / Notes
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 13 – Climate Action
Natural Resources and Conservation
Water and Sanitation

Firm Overview

Category: Private Debt - Other

Blue Forest is an innovative climate finance non-profit that addresses pressing environmental challenges by developing ecological investment opportunities. In partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the World Resources Institute, Blue Forest developed our signature environmental product, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB), to overcome the funding gap for forest management. As a first of its kind public-private partnership, the FRB enables private capital to catalyze public land management on National Forest land by valuing the resulting ecosystem services, thereby reducing wildfire risk and promoting ecological sustainability. More recently, Blue Forest has also established Blue Forest Asset Management (BFAM), an investment management platform connecting investors to compelling, mission-aligned opportunities in a broader set of asset classes beyond FRB projects, such as private equity and private credit investments.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 5 – 9 years
Total Assets Under Management:
Less than $25M
Total Number of Investors: Between 5 – 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 50% – 99%
Investment Thesis:

The Forest Resilience Bond is a first of its kind natural infrastructure financing solution that overcomes the funding gap for ecological restoration by allowing private capital to play a role in supporting restoration projects on public land.

Investment Overview:

The FRB is a first of its kind natural infrastructure financing solution that overcomes the funding gap for ecological restoration by allowing private capital to play a role in supporting public restoration. The unique contracting structure of the FRB allows both private investment on public lands and cost-sharing among entities who benefit from the completed restoration work and resulting ecosystem services. The FRB is a sustainable and replicable solution to help scale ecological restoration across millions of acres - reducing wildfire risk, protecting ecosystems and watersheds, and strengthening rural communities.

Company Differentiator:

Blue Forest is a unique investment firm that offers the following strengths: 1. Innovative Financial Product. The FRB is an innovative "environmental impact bond". Blue Forest is one of two firms using EIBs to finance natural infrastructure projects in the US, and the only one committed to applying this solution to mitigate wildfire risk. 2. Committed Partners. Blue Forest has a 7+ year history as the leading conservation finance partner of the USFS, while maintaining dozens of interdisciplinary partnerships across government, science, finance, and environmental sectors. 3. Active $200 million+ Pipeline. A pipeline of $200 million + in forest restoration projects, with regional, state, and federal agencies looking to significantly increase their funding to and implementation of these very projects over the next five years. 4. Proven Model. $29mm in forest restoration projects with financing secured through the Yuba I and Yuba II FRB vehicles.

Investment Example

The Yuba II FRB seeks to reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire to forests and communities in the Yuba River watershed by financing the Trapper, Camp, and Pendola Restoration projects. These projects will protect over 40,000 acres of forest land in Yuba and Sierra Counties. Historically, the project area experienced relatively frequent, low-to-moderate intensity wildfires. Over the last 100 years, however, policies of fire suppression have transformed these forests, resulting in dense forests more prone to large scale wildfires. When fully implemented, the Yuba II FRB will restore forest health by creating habitat for native species, reducing forest overgrowth, and supporting the development of wildfire resistant forest structure. An expected ~$25mm of project work is expected to be completed and financed through the $11mm FRB.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
10 – 19 years
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
10 – 19 years
Zach Knight – Co-Founder & CEO More Info

Zach Knight is the Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Forest. Prior to founding Blue Forest, Zach started his career in finance at Merrill Lynch where he specialized in structured finance. Zach also served as a high-yield and distressed corporate bond trader before leaving Wall Street to pursue an MBA at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with a focus on sustainability and environmental investing. Zach holds an MBA with honors from UC Berkeley and a BA in economics from Cornell. At BFC, Zach leads the outreach program with foundations and the conservation finance community. Zach also leads BFC’s engagement with the US Forest Service and the State of California.

Phil Saksa – Co-Founder & Chief Scientist More Info

Phil Saksa is co-founder & Chief Scientist at Blue Forest and has more than a decade of experience in ecosystem services and watershed management. Phil has a Ph.D. in Environmental Systems, and was previously with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced, where he focused on water supply impacts from forest management, wildfire, and climate in California’s Sierra Nevada. Phil joined Blue Forest in 2017, and leads the evaluation of environmental benefits from ecosystem restoration projects. He also leads Blue Forest’s partnerships with academic and research organizations for developing evaluation tools and metrics that can quantify the intrinsic and economic benefits of healthy ecosystems.

Nick Wobbrock – Co-Founder & COO More Info

Nick Wobbrock is co-founder and COO of Blue Forest. He is a licensed civil engineer who developed drinking water and sanitation infrastructure in the US and internationally in Honduras and Malawi. Prior to joining Blue Forest, he worked as a consulting engineer for Brown & Caldwell and for the U.S. Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders. Nick presently sits on the Board of EOS International where he continues to support communities in Honduras from his days in the Peace Corps.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
*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

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Conserving land, oceans, ecosystems and natural resources
Creating jobs
Value-added Services Offered:

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

Blue Forest is distinct from typical investment firms in that we don't raise a fund and then go out to find deals to support; Blue Forest is the project developer as well. Blue Forest's team of scientists, forestry, and other professionals work with the USFS and partners to source high-priority forestry projects. Projects are evaluated across a range of criteria - for example that they will require funding, yield strong environmental outcomes, and have a strong partnership network, including potential funders. Then, Blue Forest works collaboratively to make these forestry projects investment ready through convening the right stakeholders, developing contracts, securing funding, and more. Once partners and funding has been secured, then Blue Forest will seek and secure investment through the FRB.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
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: Luke Carpenter
Phone: 503-929-8727
Mailing Address:

5960 S Land Park Dr #1264, Sacramento, CA 95822 USA

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