Family Forest Blog

First-of-Its-Kind $10M Green Bond Issued to Finance Family Forest Carbon Program to Fight Climate Change

Glynnis Breen

July 19, 2022

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Landmark Deal Enhances Innovative Program’s Mission of Expanding Access to Carbon Markets as Natural Climate Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2022) — The American Forest Foundation, the national conservation organization making a meaningful conservation impact through its support of America’s family forest owners, today announced that its affiliate, the Family Forest Impact Foundation, issued a $10 million Series 2022A taxable bond to finance the Family Forest Carbon Program. It is the first green bond designed specifically to support the generation of nature-based carbon credits. Morgan Stanley served as the sole underwriter on the transaction.

With the assistance of Morgan Stanley on this unprecedented green bond issuance, we’ve figured out how to overcome these barriers and catalyze opportunities for hardworking American landowners to have an exponential impact on the health of our planet.

Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Family Forest Carbon Program enables family forest owners, who own the largest portion of America’s forestland, to address climate change, improve forest health and earn income from their land through carbon markets. The program uses a new, science-based forest carbon accounting methodology that isolates the program as the sole intervention responsible for additional carbon sequestered and stored, which is then sold as verified carbon credits.

“We are at this incredible tipping point,” said Rita Hite, president and chief executive officer of the American Forest Foundation. “Carbon markets are the fastest growing tool we have to incentivize climate-smart forest management in family-owned forests. Yet the biggest barrier for many landowners is the large amount of upfront capital typically required by carbon projects. With the assistance of Morgan Stanley on this unprecedented green bond issuance, we’ve figured out how to overcome these barriers and catalyze opportunities for hardworking American landowners to have an exponential impact on the health of our planet.”

Issuance of the green bond will enable the Family Forest Carbon Program to begin moving toward its ultimate goal of reaching 20% of family forest owners in the United States for potential enrollment in the program, improving forest management on more than 55 million acres of land and providing approximately 90 million tons of climate mitigation annually. A portion of the proceeds from the bond is dedicated to supporting underserved and underrepresented landowner groups.

Kestrel Verifiers provided the second-party opinion for the green bond designation, affirming compliance with global green bond principles. The Family Forest Impact Foundation will provide public annual reporting on the impact of bond proceeds, including alignment with key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Investors are increasingly interested in driving nature-based climate mitigation solutions such as those offered by the carbon offset market,” said Rob Feigenson, executive director of Morgan Stanley’s not-for-profit group that led the underwriting of the bond. “We are pleased to be part of this inaugural event in American Forest Foundation’s history as it looks to expand the Family Forest Carbon Program, tapping into private climate finance from carbon markets and bringing a real sense of opportunity in the large number of American landowners being brought off the sidelines and into the solution.”

Contact: Alyssa Oliveri; 202-277-7074; alyssa@alyssaoliveri.com

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About the American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation is a national conservation organization that works with a broad coalition of partners to support America’s family forest owners in addressing our nation’s most pressing conservation challenges around carbon sequestration, wildfire reduction, wildlife habitat, clean water, sustainable wood supplies and support for rural communities.

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