FIRNS - The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland
The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) is closed for Expressions of Interest and applications.
If you would like to find out more about the programme, please read our Aims and Outcomes and our Guidance and Eligibility guidance documents and all other documents in the Resources section of the How to Apply page.
The Scottish Government and NatureScot, working in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the support of the Green Finance Institute, have announced a second round of a grant scheme to support projects that shape and grow the use of private investment and market-based mechanisms to finance the restoration of Scotland’s nature. Through the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS), grants of up to £160,000 will be offered to organisations and partnerships to help develop a viable business case and financial model, to attract investment in projects that can restore and improve the natural environment.
If managed properly, restoring of our environment and nature will not only help put Scotland on the path to meeting its climate and nature commitments, but also yield rewards in terms of a just transition and bringing economic benefits to communities.
Both public and responsible private investment in Scotland’s natural capital will be essential to meet the pace and scale of the challenge of delivering on our climate change and biodiversity targets and wider land use policy objectives.
Leveraging responsible private investment will be vital and Scotland will need to position itself accordingly in order to trade in nascent, but rapidly growing, natural capital markets.
The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring these markets are values-led and high-integrity*, as set out in its Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital. These markets, and the projects that supply them, will restore Scotland’s nature and grow its natural capital, providing beneficial ecosystem services, economic and social benefits, and contributing to Scotland’s prosperity. They will also create good quality jobs, support a diverse and robust indigenous supply chain and directly benefit local communities including through financial contributions, opportunities for business and increasing wellbeing.
Delivered by NatureScot in collaboration with The Scottish Government and in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund. FIRNS will help selected projects to bridge the gap between the conceptual idea and the investment ready proposition capable of attracting private capital and finance.
FIRNS will support the development of natural capital markets in two broad ways. Firstly, by creating a pipeline of investible projects that is ready to meet demand from responsible buyers and investors in values-led, high-integrity natural capital-based markets. FIRNS grants will help pay for the costs of the development of business and governance models for nature-based projects seeking to attract buyers and investors.
Secondly, FIRNS will help in the development of supportive elements needed for the success of natural capital markets. FIRNS' grants in this case will pay towards the costs of exploring and developing natural capital market infrastructure such as codes, standards and aggregating mechanisms.
FIRNS will benefit market development, by instilling confidence amongst developers and investors through developing a track-record, creating new models of ‘business as usual’ by demonstrating what does and does not work and through the sharing of new knowledge and approaches that subsequent projects can adopt and adapt.
Minister for Energy and the Environment Gillian Martin said:
“The Scottish Government is already investing in nature at scale – with £65 million in the nature restoration fund and £250 million peatland restoration alone.
“However, given the scale of the challenges we face, public investment alone will not be sufficient to meet our ambitious climate change and nature targets. That is why both public and responsible private investment in Scotland’s natural environment will be essential.
“As set out in our new Programme for Government, we are committed to taking forward our distinctive market vision in Scotland – that is a market for responsible investment that contributes to a just transition by benefitting the environment and supporting communities.
“The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland will support a diverse range of projects - from those seeking to restore coastal saltmarshes, to iconic Atlantic rainforests, peatlands, rivers, lochs, farmland biodiversity and green spaces for nature and people. Encouraging responsible private investment will help ensure these projects can continue to grow and thrive.”
NatureScot’s Director of Green Economy Robbie Kernahan said:
“Scotland’s nature is in crisis: its unique habitats and ecosystems will only continue providing the benefits to our wellbeing if we act now to value it and invest in it. The new Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland is a vital opportunity to stimulate that investment and will help us halt nature loss – we must grasp it with both hands.”
Heritage Fund Director for Scotland Caroline Clark said:
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are delighted to support this programme which will ensure more of Scotland’s natural capital can be unlocked for the benefit of the environment and communities.
“FIRNS offers an exciting opportunity to explore ways of diversifying income for Scotland’s nature sector and building skills, capacity and resilience for the communities and organisations who are caring for the future of our natural world in a time of immense change.”
*The Scottish Government’s Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital define values-led and high-integrity in terms of delivery of integrated land-use and genuine and meaningful public and community benefits through inclusive engagement and collaboration in projects that are ethical and values-led, demonstrate high environmental integrity and support diverse and productive land ownership.