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Restoring Nature
Restoring Nature

3 ways to manage nature-based project stakeholders

July 29, 2022
Team Cecil

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Nature-based projects work in much the same way! Bringing nature-based solutions (NBS) to life requires a wide spectrum of expertise, and teams must collaborate efficiently to deliver quality projects that the market demands. While diverse perspectives will often enhance social-ecological outcomes, multi-stakeholder approaches also present challenges for nature-based project developers.

In this post, we explore the importance of effective NBS stakeholder management and why teams restoring nature are using technology to streamline this process.

Key stakeholders for delivering quality nature-based projects

Nature-based projects require effective collaboration between a range of different stakeholders:

  • Project sponsors lead the provision or procurement of resources and support required to create an NBS project.
  • Project developers design and deliver NBS projects. Project developers can include NGOs, charities, corporates or partnerships comprising multiple organisations.
  • Landholders control the use of land, marine or coastal areas. Land use models can range from land acquisition, contractual arrangements or designation of areas for particular uses.
  • Indigenous and local communities play a key role in the success of a project and can be engaged from project co-design and consultation, to the ongoing management of the project.
  • Buyers and beneficiaries are a primary source of income generation for NBS projects. Pre-issuance buyers can significantly reduce NBS project risk through offtake agreements by creating demand visibility.
  • Governments and policymakers play a key role in catalysing NBS markets and establishing the regulatory landscape for the NBS sector to scale with integrity.
  • Independent outcome verifiers monitor and evaluate project outcomes to validate that impact objectives and are achieved.
  • Funders and investors provide capital for establishing the operating capital for NBS projects. As the flow of private capital in nature accelerates, new actors are experimenting with a range of participation models in project selection and management.
  • Fund managers are responsible for delivering investment strategies that achieve financial, environmental and social goals. NBS assets requires active management and specialist expertise in delivering both financial and impact outcomes.

Why do project developers face difficulties managing NBS stakeholders?

1. Fragmented communication

The large number of stakeholders involved in the development of nature based projects means that there are many channels of communication, leading to information silos and bottlenecks. Time is often wasted on the phone and following up on endless email threads to keep all parties updated on outcomes.

2. Bespoke reporting needs

In addition to reporting requirements related to specific methodologies and regulatory frameworks, each stakeholder group has its own internal reporting needs. Project investors, for example, often have their own bespoke definition of ‘quality’ ESG metrics and require unique insights to power these requirements.

3. Evolving stakeholder expectations

Regulators, investors and buyers are increasingly concerned with claims of ‘greenwashing’ and have doubled down on the robustness of project data in recent years. Stakeholders now expect project data to be investment grade, delivered with transparency and easily verifiable.

Leveraging technology to simplify NBS stakeholder reporting

Teams restoring nature are adopting fit for purpose management platforms to optimise stakeholder reporting and storytelling. These tools maximise efficient collaboration between all project stakeholders in the following ways:

1. Organise stakeholder communication in one place

Managing tasks, documents and carbon inventories in a single management platform means project developers can invite their stakeholders to engage with project outcomes in one place. By avoiding disparate email threads and document versions, internal and external stakeholders can remain aligned.

2. Share project outcomes in real time

With all project data managed in one place, teams can generate dynamic portfolio reports and summaries tailored to each stakeholder group's needs, saving time in the process. Empowered with digital tools, project developers are also exploring innovative marketing strategies and new ways of storytelling to attract demand for new projects in pre-feasibility stages.

3. Manage your nature data to build trust

Nature-based projects require the management of complex environmental data sets in a variety of formats. Nature-specific management systems enable project developers to control data effectively, building trust with key stakeholders that managers are driving projects towards high quality outcomes.

Conclusion

“The successful scaling up of carbon markets has thus far been stymied by a crippling lack of trust and integrity in the system.”- Simon Zadek, Chair, Finance for Biodiversity Initiative.

Many actors must interact to ensure that carbon markets (and nature markets more broadly) contribute to a nature-positive future. To accelerate the global restoration movement, teams restoring nature should explore leveraging nature-specific management systems that catalyse collaborative efforts between stakeholders and builds integrity in nature markets.

Book a demo to learn more about how Cecil can help you build trust and streamline collaboration between all NBS stakeholders.

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