top of page

Understanding Context and Building Connections to make your capital work

Building trusted relationships with the right people on the ground in order to address gaps, foster linkages, encourage transactions and enable Nature’s critical ecosystems to thrive while supporting your bottom line

Context is King

Without appropriate context, it is difficult to understand the full spectrum of opportunities, challenges, impact, and meaning of situations, projects, culture, or the environment in which something occurred. Without this understanding and additional ground-truthing, making effective decisions proves even more challenging, especially for quickly reaching net-zero commitments and investing in nature – the very assets that underpin 50% of the global economy.

As you read about environmental markets (such as carbon credits and offsetting), the investment readiness of a sector, or how to integrate sustainability across entities, there is a universe of complex and interconnected causes and effects that will further determine Outcomes. Rarely is it as simple as this approach ‘works’ or ‘doesn’t work’. Nuance is critical and nuance built from understanding context and relationships allows for adaptive decision-making leading to successful Outcomes. By applying a systems lens, we can help determine the best approaches, performance, and environmental impact.


  • Systems thinking means understanding the whole context, including social, economic, organizational, political, and environmental factors that surround the issue at hand.

  • Decisions exist in an evolving system and contextual environment where potential trade-offs of yesterday will not be the trade-offs of tomorrow.

  • Impacts can be both positive and negative, intended and unintended.

  • Multiple goals can advance at the same time (in fact, far more than we pursue today).

How you think about context and the role of community are instrumental in succeeding in the spaces you play.




A family-led foundation wants to understand the investment landscape pertaining to small-scale fisheries. They have asked us to:

  • Identify different investment actors;

  • Conduct a capacity-gaps analysis of small-scale fishery grantees; and,

  • Determine what type of capital is needed to cover key aspects of fishery sustainability.

Even as the total amount of impact-oriented capital continues to grow, investor participation remains subscale in both the small-scale fisheries sector and the Ocean economy more broadly. This project aims to identify the necessary relational infrastructure to encourage transactions, match capital providers with the small-scale fisheries most in need of investment, and ultimately increase environmental and social performance.


Our team is visually mapping the investment landscape of small-scale fisheries using desk-based research and field validation. This mapping spans the value chain from specific fishery types and producers to intermediaries and capital providers. The purpose of this mapping is to understand relational context, identify gaps and opportunities and test the robustness of this investment sector.

By taking a systems-level approach across the value chain, we can understand each actors’ challenges and motivations (i.e. stock health, investment requirements, and investment readiness), identify partners to collaborate on solutions, and ultimately build connections and trust between the right actors across the value chain. By linking challenges with solutions and filling current technical or resourcing gaps – all from the basis of trusted relationships and shared objectives – we can catalyze sustainable investments that are commercially viable.

Simplifying the complex. The importance of context for a just and sustainable transition cannot be overstated. It is essential for understanding the complexity of environmental issues, identifying and prioritizing the most relevant risks and potential solutions, promoting equity and inclusiveness, and building support for sustainable and effective solutions over the long term. It also helps identify intended and unintended consequences and build for resilience.

By building connection and trust on the ground and across the value chain, we can connect the right actors, communities, and entities together in the right context, fill gaps and create high-quality solutions that have lasting linkages that will let Nature’s critical ecosystems thrive while supporting your bottom line.

Understand context and build trusted relationships for your capital to work.

Contact our EcoAdvisors team to schedule a call at

62 views0 comments


bottom of page