Biocredit Investment Operations (BIO): finance for nature and people

Biodiversity degradation is reaching unprecedented rates, conservation efforts are often underfunded. This project will pilot a biocredit scheme in Uganda and Zambia to finance community-led conservation, reduce poverty and protect biodiversity.

April 2023 - March 2026
Paul Steele

Chief economist, Shaping Sustainable Markets

Inclusive green economy
A programme of work on increasing equity, access and agency in the green economy
Two people in a boat on a large body of water, next to a group of hippos bathing

Fishermen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the Albertine Rift region, Uganda (Photo: Pim GMX, via FlickrCC BY-NC 2.0)

Biodiversity degradation is occurring at alarming rates: wildlife populations have declined by an average 69% in the past 50 years and natural ecosystems have shrunk by an average of 47%. However, finance for conservation and restoration is inadequate, and people living in biodiversity-rich areas bear the heaviest burden of these natural losses and inequitable conservation funds. 

In response to this emergency, biocredits emerge as a new type of financial asset that can incentivise nature conservation and restoration to benefit marginalised groups living with nature through the creation and sale of biodiversity units.  

When designed correctly, biocredit schemes can channel the majority of revenue to nature’s most effective stewards, specifically to the Indigenous People and local communities. 

What is IIED doing? 

IIED, along with partners, Conserve Global, Tondwa Conservation Ltd, EcoTrust UgandaValueNature, is launching the Biocredit Investment Operations (BIO) project. 

This will trial biocredit schemes in the northern Albertine Rift region of Uganda and the Tondwa Game Management Area in Zambia to increase the finance reaching local communities, help restore and conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods. 

More specifically, the project will: 

  • Establish a supply of biocredits that supports gender-responsive biodiversity conservation 
  • Ensure that the majority of the funds reach local land managers, biodiversity custodians, local organisations, and households 
  • Empower and engage local communities in local-level decision-making on biodiversity conservation, and
  • Share lessons learned with the international conservation and biodiversity finance community to replicate biocredits in other locations and countries. 

Partners from the Biodiversity Investment Operations project met in Hoima, Uganda to discuss the piloting of biodiversity credits in Uganda and Zambia. In the below videos, we asked them what are the main opportunities, challenges, and solutions for this innovative new financing tool.

You can also watch a playlist with the three expert contributions below.

You can also watch these on IIED's YouTube channel.

Additional resources


Conserve Global 

Tondwa Conservation Ltd 

EcoTrust Uganda