Past Event

Mobilizing finance and business action towards nature-positive outcomes in Africa

February 8, 2023
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
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Online Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi

What are the biggest challenges to bringing large-scale green investments in African countries? How can we ensure that globally active corporations are held to the same standards in Africa as in their home countries when assessing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact, and more precisely, their impact on nature and climate? How can green projects ensure strong local stakeholder inclusion and a high reinvestment rate of project proceeds in the region? 

Research shows that certain instruments are emerging to foster the flow of finance toward environmentally and socially sustainable outcomes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Carbon finance/carbon credits: Generally issued within projects that are developed and executed as per internationally or nationally acknowledged methodology and standards (examples: Verra, Gold Standard). 
  • Green bonds: Projects and companies can acquire a certified “green” status to issue green bonds that can finance specific activities that have diverse frameworks
  • Biodiversity Credits: Currently, these initiatives commoditize biodiversity and create biodiversity markets. 

Join us for this forward-looking webinar, which will seek to answer these questions and propose solutions as to how digital technologies can allow for a much more inclusive process and provide greater transparency in developing projects that have real impact.  


Kolbeinn Hilmarsson

Kolbeinn Hilmarsson is a pilot, and project manager within the commercial aviation industry turned enviropreneur who co-founded the first and now largest carbon finance entity in Iceland, applying global standards to build nature-based carbon credits from afforestation, land & wetland restoration, and other land-use. Kolbeinn has diverse knowledge across nature and carbon finance, business development, aerospace and space-tech, and existing and emerging frameworks for sustainability reporting.

Silvia Garcia Martinez

Silvia leads Svarmi's operations, focusing on data collection, processing, analytics, and delivery. With an M.Sc. in Environmental Science and a strong background in applying remote sensing technology to measure natural assets in terrestrial environments, Silvia leads the continuous alignment of Svarmi's solution to best practices in nature indicators. 

Jon Saunders

Jon Saunders is the Chief Operations Officer of SunCulture, an innovative Africa-based agritech company. SunCulture develops and commercializes life-changing technology to solve the biggest daily challenges of the world's 570M smallholder farming households. Jon has a track record in building infrastructure for growth-stage organizations that leads to institutional and governmental investments. As SunCulture's first Director of Finance & Operations, and now COO, he established the human resources, finance and accounting, sales, supply chain, and IT infrastructure. Jon's passion for creating social impact through operational excellence led him from a five-year career in private banking at J.P. Morgan to nearly ten years in social impact investing and operational leadership in African start-ups. Over his career, he has worked for clients and organizations in Central America, Africa, and North America.

Jon earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University and B.A. in Finance from Fordham University. In his free time, John enjoys playing competitive hockey and currently plays for the Nairobi Ice Lions after playing Division in college. He is a New Jersey native currently based between Nairobi and London.