Briefing: Foresight partners with Eden Project to enhance biodiversity

The firm joins a growing list of LPs and GPs taking steps to measure and improve the biodiversity of their natural capital assets.

Fund manager Foresight Group has partnered with the Eden Project, a UK-based environmental educational charity and social enterprise, to enhance the biodiversity of its relevant assets.

The pair will initially focus on Foresight’s infrastructure and forestry assets, with the Eden Project also helping the firm to implement a natural recovery program.

Why it matters

The need to protect and enhance biodiversity, halt species extinction and prevent ecosystem collapse is high on the environmental agenda – safeguarding this natural capital is arguably on par with the need to limit global warming and the practice changes required to achieve both are intrinsically linked.

While carbon emissions have been priced by voluntary and mandatory trading markets, biodiversity is yet to get to this stage on any sort of large scale. The UK’s Environment Act 2021 has a framework that is expected to facilitate the creation of biodiversity credits that can be acquired by real estate developers, given the legislation stipulates that all new major developments must deliver a 10 percent biodiversity net gain.

Foresight declined to confirm to Agri Investor if its partnership with Eden will explore this monetization avenue, but the firm did provide this statement: “Foresight plans to provide updates on what the partnership will deliver in due course. We will collaboratively investigate ways that the partnership can support other industries in achieving positive outcomes for biodiversity whilst meeting the requirements of key environmental regulation.”

The firm added that it is a delivery partner for the UK government’s Nature Recovery Network, which is part of a 25-year plan to restore nature across the country.

Background: Foresight’s forestry

Foresight spun out the forestry assets held in its Inheritance Tax Solution into Foresight Sustainability Forestry Company in November 2021, making it the first listed UK forestry investment trust.

The firm completed deploying the £130 million ($156 million; €150 million) it raised during its IPO on June 14 and confirmed it had raised £45 million on June 24 through the issuance of ordinary shares.

Foresight also last year signaled its intent to enter food and agriculture investments for the first time. Some food and ag areas into which the firm could invest include onshore recirculating aquaculture systems, greenhouses and vertical farming assets, partner Dan Wells told Agri Investor at the time.

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