Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, notes investors are turning towards sustainable finance solutions, with a strong desire to understand the environmental and social impact of their investments.
“There are increasingly huge pools of capital out there [belonging to people who] really care about what happens with their money and where it goes,” continues Elliott. “It's not just running the numbers but also saying ‘how do we ensure these projects are really delivering the social, community or environmental goods they're supposed to?’”
While this joint venture is an important one, Elliott believes this is an emerging area. “It's not about business vs non-government organisations or business vs. conservation or sustainability, it's about asking ‘how do we work together?’” he says.
Working together is key theme in how the land will be managed moving forward. Sharp says the aim isn’t to lock up the land for conservation only - the new owners will continue to manage sustainable agriculture on the site.
“A lot of these properties require grazing as well. So building up a biomass and locking up places can work absolutely against the way nature intended,” he explains.
In addition to its environmental value, the Great Cumbung is an important Indigenous landscape, with many cultural sites along the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee rivers.
“We know there are thousands of really important cultural sites in this landscape,” Gilmore says. “We're working closely with the traditional owners to make sure their cultural and social aspirations for the property are met as well as the natural, environmental and financial ones.”
Gilmore hopes to see this trend of agriculture and conservation continues across the country.
“Looking back in 10 years - at least from the Nature Conservancy’s point of view - if it's a thriving natural landscape and the wetlands are still in good health, if there are local jobs being sustained and created and if others are replicating this model in other parts of Australia then I think we've really succeeded,” Gilmore says.
Melissa Cutler is Head of Environmental Sustainability and James Dunnett is Corporate Agriculture Relationship Manager at ANZ
Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation.