As corporations and investors around the world face growing pressure to invest in sustainable projects, a new fund in Australia has been born to benefit one of the planet’s most iconic endangered species, the koala bear.
One of Australia’s largest online alternative asset investment platforms, Ipartners, is assisting the Koala Farmland Fund, which will establish new habitats for koalas, whose numbers have dropped from 10 million at European settlement to fewer than 80,000 this year.
Ipartners is targeting to raise up to A$20 million (US$16 million) to acquire farmland that can be used as protected koala habitats, offsetting the destruction that is close to more populated areas.
“The climate-resilient fund provides solid returns to a new and growing group of investors, who are committed to the protection of koalas and their population numbers, as well as the environment,” says Ipartners’ spokesman Alex Thompson.
According to the company, new housing, roads and infrastructure are transforming the fast-growing Southeast Queensland area, negatively impacting the populations and health of koalas and other species. Government regulations now require property developers, who are responsible for habitat destruction, to mitigate or replace (offset) vegetation.
The Queensland Government is now providing an option of financial settlements for offsets, meaning that developers who destroy designated koala habitats can pay a fee for the offset, or buy land to replace the trees or outsource the program to a third party to manage the offset.
Ipartners has appointed Country Asset Management to manage the Koala Farmland Fund, a company that has since 2016 upscaled eight suitable properties in Southeast Queensland for new koala habitats on behalf of four funds.
The new Koala Farmland Fund plans to buy up to five farms within 150km of Brisbane with ecology and zoning suited to grow trees as offsets for koalas and other flora and fauna. Existing property streams come from accommodation, tourism and farming.
Investors will receive returns from the offset income and rental revenue from the properties, which will eventually be resold as lifestyle farms.
Cloud-based Ipartners was set up by investment professionals Travis Miller and Rob Nankivell. It has raised more than $850 million (US$620 million) during the past four years on behalf of a wide range of alternative asset opportunities, including private credit, providing asset-backed debt and investing in and developing property transactions.
Main image credit: @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20.