Environmental Funds must invest wisely to grow their endowments – and ensure their ability to deliver critical ongoing annual funding to in-country conservation programs. Over the past few years there has been a plethora of new research on fund management, use of investors, and average returns. The yearly Conservation Trust Fund Investment Surveys provide an opportunity for Environmental Funds to share information and learn from both good and bad market experiences. The 2009 Survey (based on 2007 and 2008 economic data) indicates that Environmental Funds, committed to biodiversity conservation, managed over US $420 million. How Funds invest these assets, their relationships with investment managers, and their use of environmental or social responsibility criteria are covered in these surveys.
The good news is that, as a whole during this global economic recession, Environmental Funds did well: preserving their assets; maintaining a positive rate of return for the 3-5 year period; and continuing to serve as viable long-term mechanisms for financing biodiversity conservation.
This Tool Kit provides examples of specific investment policies, asset manager selection policies and the investment reports used for Board of Director oversight. The majority of Environmental Funds pay for expertise in fund management through advisors and asset managers, and Fund Boards play a critical role in investment oversight.
Many of the Operations Manuals in Finance and Administration, also have chapters on investment management, providing more details on the approval processes and internal mechanisms that go into managing equities, cash, and fixed income allocations.