In 1993, Lorenzo led the binational, multi-sectorial initiative to design Mexico’s first independent, national environmental fund (EF): The Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN). Lorenzo brought the subject of conservation finance to the table with governments, environmental organizations and citizens alike. Thanks to his leadership, one can speak of conservation in Mexico “before and after” FMCN. He sits on the boards of five important national and international conservation organizations leveraging his influence on the field.
Lorenzo raised $75 million between 1992 and 1996 from the United States and Mexican governments, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank (WB), and private US foundations to launch FMCN. Today, its endowment has grown to 125 million dollars; it has financed over 1,500 conservation projects; invested over $70 million in the field; and has provided technical and financial support to approximately 300 Mexican organizations.
He helped established the Natural Protected Areas Fund (FANP) in 1997 by engaging the Mexican government, GEF, the WB, and Mexican and American private foundations. By 2000, he had raised an endowment worth $31 million. Today, FANP manages $76 million to support 28 NPAs protecting nearly 9.5 million hectares. FANP works in full partnership with the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas and involves local communities in designing NPA management plans, a model that has been applied to the entire NPA system.
In 2000, FMCN and the World Wildlife Fund created the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund to protect forests crucial to the animal’s migration from Canada. It is the first, successful payments for ecosystems services scheme in Mexico, compensating local communities to relinquish logging rights on their lands. It is financed by its founders, the Packard Foundation, the federal government, and the states of Michoacán and Mexico. In 2008, Lorenzo secured 1:1 matching funds from the National Forestry Commission.
In 1999, with EFs in Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Chile and Panama, Lorenzo helped launch RedLAC, a network of 21 Latin American EFs dedicated to strengthening their effectiveness in funding conservation initiatives. Lorenzo helped create other EFs in Mexico and Latin America, including the Mesoamerican Reef Fund, founded with EFs in Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras that have raised over $35 million for the region.
In 2014, he secured the largest, single donation by the GEF to Mexico, $39.5 million, to develop an integrated conservation plan for 16 coastal watersheds throughout the country.
Lorenzo has done more than strengthen and stabilize the flow of financial resources to conservation work. He has launched platforms to foster a culture of conservation and capacitate individuals, communities and organizations to be effective agents of change. He helped raised $12 million for the IMAX film The Flight of the Butterflies and brought the installation of the first camera in a golden eagle nest in Mexico to fruition. He created capacity building programs for young conservation leaders in the Mesoamerican Reef region and for civil society organizations in the Gulf of California, training over 400 individuals. He is currently working on innovative financial mechanisms with the government and private sectors.
One of Lorenzo’s proudest achievements is leading a team whose extraordinary talent and flawless follow-up has allowed FMCN to achieve even its most ambitious goals for biodiversity conservation.