Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised October 2012)

Patagonia Sur: For-Profit Land Conservation in Chile

by Arthur I Segel, Nicolas Ibanez and Jay Verjee

Abstract

Warren Adams founded Patagonia Sur in 2007 as one of the world's first for-profit land conservation businesses. His goal was to purchase over 100,000 acres of land in southern Chile and to run a variety of sustainable businesses to generate annual returns for investors. Patagonia Sur planned to derive various streams of revenue from the land—including eco-tourism, sustainable land development, carbon credits, water rights and eco-brokerage—thereby giving a financial return to investors on top of achieving a positive environmental impact. By 2011, Warren had raised over $20 million from high net worth individuals and Patagonia Sur had over 60,000 acres in Patagonia under management. However, institutional investors seriously questioned whether Patagonia Sur could ever do more than break even on an annual basis. Further, they worried that in fact the risk of the investment went up significantly as the company spent both its capital and management time on so many different revenue streams. In addition, some investors felt that for-profit conservation was morally wrong. Warren needed to convince both individual and institutional investors that his vision would succeed in both generating returns and preserving the natural beauty of Patagonia.

Keywords: Business Model; Environmental Sustainability; Profit; Investment; For-Profit Firms; Entrepreneurship; Investment Return; Revenue; Risk and Uncertainty; Capital; SWOT Analysis; Real Estate Industry; Chile;

Citation:

Segel, Arthur I., Nicolas Ibanez, and Jay Verjee. "Patagonia Sur: For-Profit Land Conservation in Chile." Harvard Business School Case 211-103, June 2011. (Revised October 2012.)