This framework is intended for any project developer or enterprise interested in restoring or creating natural habitats in the UK with the use of private finance – including farmers, estate owners, charities, local authorities, project developers or aggregators.
The Toolkit has been developed based on learnings from projects across the UK, including those in the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund, and is updated regularly as those learnings develop and as case studies are added.
We recommend reading the “What is Investment Readiness” section before beginning. Click here to read.
Hover and click to view milestones and complementary steps
How to use this toolkit
At any point, you can return to the infographic ‘snake’ and click on the milestones to learn more. Each milestone includes key considerations for your project or enterprise, with rationale for why these are important, a checklist of activities that represent these considerations, useful links and in-depth case studies specific to each milestone.
These milestones are not intended to be linear in practice but have been ordered here for ease of learning. The development of every project follows a unique sequence of activities, and it is likely that a project developer will undertake activities across multiple milestones at once. The colour groupings represent which milestones are most often worked on in tandem.
Some activities within these milestones may not be applicable to every project.
What is ‘Investment Readiness’?
This framework defines ‘Investment Readiness’ as a stage in the development of a project or enterprise at which private investment or a loan is ready to be deployed. At this stage, the project or enterprise will be able to demonstrate that it is:
An important clarification is the difference between investors and buyers.
Like any business, all nature-based projects and enterprises will need at least one revenue stream and buyer of their ecosystem services, whether that is a corporate buying carbon offsets, a housing developer buying nutrient offsets or a local council buying reduced flood risk. This income can sometimes be delivered early enough to cover the costs of the project so that, together with grant funding, the need for a loan or investment is eliminated. In many cases however, a separate upfront investment will be needed, such as a loan or an equity stake, to be paid back from the sale of your ecosystem service, plus an additional financial return.
Investment readiness in the context of this Toolkit refers to this upfront investment. The Toolkit, however, will be also helpful for those seeking buyers only.
The Wyre Catchment Natural Flood Management project is a massively useful case study from before my time with the movement. I also find myself dipping into the Investment Readiness Toolkit quite often for a reminder on how to progress similar projects.
Lauren Duffield, Project Manager for Natural Course Funded Catchment Partnership Business Support Project, Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd
The GFI Investment Readiness Toolkit has proven to be incredibly useful to our stakeholders, equipping them with valuable advice on how to create investible projects, and giving them ideas for accessing more innovative finance sources.
The current state of environmental markets in the UK is complex; multiple routes toward similar outcomes risk creating inertia rather than progress. The GFI Toolkit is therefore an invaluable resource for those seeking to navigate this complexity, and we consider it essential for those looking to engage with nature finance projects.
With so many new codes, methodologies and standards emerging, natural capital can be a daunting strategy for any landowner. The Investment Readiness Toolkit provides a step by step guide through the challenges and a comprehensive blueprint for making it happen. Great job by the GFI Nature Team
The Investment Readiness toolkit has been a useful resource for us in providing practical guidance, checklist, and case studies in navigating the complex world of green finance. The step by step process helped us to identify and address key challenges, and the case studies provided ideas for our project. The toolkit is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to navigate investments in green projects.
The Green Finance Space is rapidly evolving and can be daunting. THE GFI toolkit offers a comprehensive and dynamic reference of the fundamental steps required to develop your project or market infrastructure initiative, continuously updated by those at the forefront of green finance and who are best positioned to guide on latest developments. It’s an excellent example of accessible, accumulated learning and best practice.
The GFI toolkit is a fantastic resource for anyone looking at developing projects. A much-needed tool in emerging environmental market space and something I personally use regularly as well as referring to others too.
The Investment Readiness Toolkit is extremely helpful in providing a clear, accessible process to follow when developing any project for investment opportunities. Whether you are fairly knowledgeable and experienced in natural capital investment or at the start of your journey in this area – the Toolkit provides a useful framework and makes what can seem a daunting task much simpler.
As a pilot Landscape Recovery Project, it was important for us to locate the tools necessary to help plan our journey in the earliest phases of our project. After seeing what the GFI toolkit has to offer, it was quickly apparent that few resources are as clear and iterative in their advice, from both a detail and checklist approach. We plan to use the toolkit to help guide us through the set-up for the project through to its hopefully delivery stages over the next few years.
In addition to the input of experts from nature-based projects and enterprises across the UK, this Toolkit was developed with the support and review of the below organisations. With great thanks for their contributions: