Bettina von Hagen: Blending Capital & Worldviews That See the Forest for the Trees [Ep. 103]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


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Bettina helped launch Ecotrust Forests and joined Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM) as CEO in 2008. Bettina has spent the past 15 years working to promote economic viability, social equity, and environmental health in the Pacific Northwest with a particular focus on forestry. A former commercial banker, Bettina has over 20 years of experience in banking, impact investing, and fund management. She also has significant expertise in emerging markets in ecosystem services, particularly the forest carbon market, where she is involved in developing markets and protocols for high-quality forest carbon projects at the state, regional, and federal levels. Previously, Bettina was Vice President at Ecotrust for forestry programs and for the Natural Capital Fund, a $20M fund which invests in key businesses and initiatives in the conservation economy. Prior to joining Ecotrust in 1993, she was a vice president and commercial lender at First Interstate Bank of Oregon and has been a Member of Environmental Advisory Board of Wells Fargo & Company since March 2006. She currently serves on the board of Forest Trends. Bettina has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of the Pacific.


Some highlights from Erin’s interview with Bettina include:

  • The origin story of Ecotrust & Ecotrust Forest Management and the blended capital approaches to addressing complex ecological challenges

  • How unlike early U.S. conservation approaches that divorced people from the land, Ecotrust brings an approach that integrates conservation w/ community needs in ways that advances conservation while advancing livelihoods (ie: 100% of the landscape matters & 100% of people matter)

  • Ecotrust’s creation of a for-profit bank that targeted enterprises enhancing ecological and social outcomes – a bank that grew into and was acquired by Beneficial State Bank, carrying the same original intention

  • Ecotrust describes their worldview & style of forestry as the 5 R’s – Rotation, retention, reserves, resilience, relationships – suggesting practices that foster regional forest systems which yield greater value and health, rather than narrowly managing for a single commodity like timber

  • Ecotrust’s deep involvement & relationship w/ tribal communities from elevating indigenous worldviews to repatriating ancestral lands and other natural resources








LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.

Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at

Erin Axelrod is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. She is an avid ecologist, grassroots organizer and regularly forages for wild food in her home in rural Sonoma County.  You can follow Erin on Twitter @erinaxelrod or email her