This report describes the results of Phase I of the Future Climate Coral Bank project, the first project supported by the Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund. The project is being undertaken by the Maldives Coral Institute (MCI) with support from the University of Exeter. This is the first report of its kind, and it will be updated on a quarterly basis as we publish our progress.
The transition of economies and society towards sustainability is the biggest challenge facing the world today, which is why Deutsche Bank is putting sustainability at the centre of its business and corporate initiatives and ambitions for the future.
In October 2021, Deutsche Bank launched the Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund (DBORPF), the first of its kind by a financial institution. The Fund aims to make a real and tangible impact in advancing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for ocean and marine ecosystems’ conservation, restoration and adaptation to climate change. This is to be achieved by creating the opportunity for philanthropists and the scientific community to collaborate on ocean conservation efforts. To this end, we have created a Grant Advisory Council comprising members of the scientific and research communities and institutions who provide the expertise required to analyse, vet and monitor new projects. Over the past months, the Council has met regularly and is continually developing its criteria and knowledge around the programmes and projects in the field.
NbS are increasingly being viewed not only as a way to reconcile economic development with the stewardship of ecosystems, but also as a means of diversifying and transforming businesses and enabling sustainable development. NbS can be used at different scales and in combination with more conventional or ‘grey’ solutions. In contrast with the latter, NbS are distinguished by their multifunctionality and ability to both conserve and grow the stock of natural capital. Natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. The benefits of NbS have been found to outweigh the costs of implementation and maintenance in a range of contexts, including disaster risk reduction along coasts and in river catchments.
The Fund is open to donations from philanthropists globally, providing donors with a dedicated framework to support ocean conservation. It is a Donor Advised Fund and will be administered in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation. Philanthropy is one important channel to close the wide financing gap for NbS projects, providing the much-needed capital to expand restoration efforts and foster innovation. It can play a vital role in the world’s response to climate change by targeting geographies and solutions that are most in need of support but cannot be funded solely via private market mechanisms.
Since launching the Fund we have hosted several conversations with scientific experts and stakeholders. We held presentations and discussions at Frieze LA and Frieze NY and have organised dedicated discussions for our Next Gen programme attendees. Importantly, we are connected to the scientific community and thought-leaders, with a focus on creating a collaborative environment for the many stakeholders needed to make an impact. Lastly, we are looking at ways to include a philanthropic dimension into our investment products’ offering, by donating portions of the revenues generated to the fund, and we are launching an employee donations program, allowing our employees to contribute to this great cause.
The DBORPF aims to quickly deploy unrestricted funds in response to the urgent challenge of ocean degradation, backing highly innovative projects directly, promoting collaboration with scientific experts and developing cutting-edge solutions. In addition, through the Fund we are working to educate our existing and prospective clients on the importance of philanthropy capital for NbS in ocean conservation, raising their awareness of these important topics.