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Romain Pison on Nature’s Role: Unlocking Scalability and Financing in Reforestation Initiatives

Romain Pison on Nature’s Role: Unlocking Scalability and Financing in Reforestation Initiatives

As Europe confronts the escalating climate crisis, Romain Pison, a decarbonisation expert with experience in environmental stewardship, emphasizes the continent’s unique opportunity to lead in reforestation and afforestation initiatives. He advocates on his platform,, for these nature-based solutions as critical strategies to address climate change while yielding significant economic benefits in our energy transition.

Scaling Up Carbon Dioxide Removal

Romain Pison argues that reforestation and afforestation extend beyond mere tree planting and growing; they are about reviving entire ecosystems, restoring biodiversity, and stabilizing soils. He discusses on how European landscapes, once lush with forests, have suffered extensive deforestation. By reintroducing forests, he points out, we can bring back native flora and fauna, enhancing regional water cycles and air quality, thus laying the foundation for a more sustainable living environment and help carbon dioxide removal (CDR). 

To meet the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement, Pison stresses the importance of scaling up carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects. On his website, he explains how afforestation and reforestation, as cost-effective methods, surpass technological solutions by being less capital-intensive and offering additional benefits like biodiversity conservation and soil stabilization. He cites studies which showed that expanding forest cover by 15% could lead to an annual absorption of 2 million tons of CO2, coupled with enhancements in local biodiversity. He also argues that 99% of the carbon dioxide effectively removed in the past years has been from nature-based solutions such as afforestation and reforestation. 

Financing Forest Initiatives

On the financial front, Romain Pison delves into the intricacies of funding these environmental projects. He champions a sustainable economic model, elaborating about the effectiveness of blended finance. Blended finance works by leveraging public, private and philanthropic funds to attract and de-risk private investments. For instance, Romain Pison quotes “an excellent real-world example of a reforestation initiative combining government grants with private investments” – the “Systemic solutions for upscaling of urgent ecosystem restoration for forest-related biodiversity and ecosystem services” (SUPERB) project. This project, led by the European Forest Institute, is a collaborative effort involving a consortium of 36 science and practice partners from across Europe, supported by at least 90 regional to international associate project partners, including ministries, government agencies, landowner associations, certifiers, funders, and NGOs.

Romain Pison further underscores the critical role of banks and financial institutions in these initiatives. He elaborates on financial instruments like green bonds and sustainability-linked loans, offering insights into their mechanisms and benefits. One such mechanism is the support provided by the Government of Germany through the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The IKI project portfolio supports forest landscape restoration efforts in various countries, with funding available through large-scale programmes and thematic/country calls.

Another significant source of funding for reforestation comes from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which offers long-term financing opportunities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This fund supports multi-country forest and land-use projects that can demonstrate strong climate rationale and country-driven impact potential. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is also a crucial player, having dedicated around $350 million in grants towards restoration purposes in its current funding cycle (2018-2022). The GEF supports restoration activities based on countries’ requests, especially in support of the Bonn Challenge.

Carbon Credits and Investor Engagement

Pison also discusses the role of carbon credits in these projects. By assigning a monetary value to the reduction of carbon emissions, these credits create a market for carbon sequestration, as he explains on his website. Such projects generate carbon credits, which can be sold on carbon markets, providing additional revenue streams. This financial viability incentivizes companies to invest in environmentally friendly practices.

Moreover, Pison notes the potential of these financial instruments to attract a diverse range of investors. From environmentally conscious individuals to large corporations and institutional investors like pension funds and insurance companies, these tools cater to a wide audience, promoting sustainable investment opportunities.

Regulations and EU Nature Restoration Law

Romain Pison offers a nuanced view on the evolving scenario of forest restoration in Europe, particularly in the context of the impending EU Nature Restoration Law (NRL). Pison’s perspective, shaped by his extensive experience in nature-based solutions, focuses on the broader implications of the NRL and the necessary actions to ensure its success across varied European ecosystems.

Pison acknowledges the significance of the NRL in the European context. This legislation is a bold step towards addressing biodiversity loss, requiring member states to implement restoration measures in critical ecosystems. The law’s ambitious targets, aiming for restoration measures on at least 20% of land and marine areas by 2030 and extending to all ecosystems in need by 2050, represent a comprehensive effort to reverse ecological degradation.

In his analysis, Pison emphasizes the importance of a strategic approach to the NRL’s implementation. He notes that the law’s success hinges not just on legislative approval but on the practical effectiveness of restoration efforts on the ground. Drawing from his experience, Pison suggests that the true measure of the NRL’s impact will be seen in how member states translate its directives into actionable, localized strategies that address specific ecological challenges.

Charting a Sustainable Future Through Strategic Forestry Initiatives

Romain Pison emphasizes the necessity of a strategic, multifaceted approach to reforestation and afforestation initiatives. As detailed on, this includes meticulous project development, innovative financing models, and scientific rigor in carbon sequestration and ecological impact assessment. Aligning these initiatives with global sustainability standards and the materiality threshold concept enhances their environmental and corporate impact.

As Europe advances in this green revolution, Pison highlights the long-term implications of our actions on the planet’s health. He calls for a comprehensive strategy that intertwines environmental science, financial innovation, and sustainable development. Pison invites readers to explore further insights on, emphasizing the importance of every tree in our collective pursuit of a sustainable future.

Editor-in-Chief since 2011.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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