The International Development Finance Club (IDFC)—a group of international, national, and regional development banks based in the developed and the developing world—released its annual report on green investment (i.e. mitigation, adaptation and ‘other’ environmental finance which includes environmental protection and remediation related projects)—as the world’s climate negotiators were meeting in Lima, and its numbers are significant.
Blog Posts: green economy
Homes and commercial buildings account for 74 percent of electricity demand in the United States, making them a critical part of any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The good news is that policies put into place over the last three decades—including appliance efficiency standards, voluntary labeling programs like ENERGY STAR, and state energy-savings targets—have already helped offset rising demand for electricity and saved consumers billions of dollars. New research shows that with the right policies in place, consumers and the environment can capture even greater benefits.
How should politicians prioritize between robust economic growth and solving the problem of climate change?
A new report reveals an encouraging answer: There’s no need to choose. Better Growth, Better Climate, finds that low-carbon investments—if done right—could cost about the same as conventional infrastructure, but would deliver significantly greater economic, social, and environmental benefits in the long-run.
U.S. manufacturing—and the jobs that go with it—have been steadily increasing since 2010.
The future of U.S. manufacturing jobs is not set in stone—it will be highly influenced by company investments and new policies. As policymakers, private companies, and industry stakeholders turn their attention to the ongoing resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, policy and private sector programs are available to generate the Good Jobs, Green Jobs needed to sustain American prosperity.
This is the fifth installment of a five-part blog series on scaling environmental entrepreneurship in emerging markets. In this series, experts in the field provide insights on how business accelerators, technical assistance providers, investors, and the philanthropic community can work with developing market entrepreneurs to increase their economic, environmental, and social impacts. Read the rest of the series.
Here at WRI, our mantra is “making big ideas happen.” But these “big ideas” don’t need to come exclusively from “big” players like corporations and development banks. In 1999, we set out to prove a new concept—that entrepreneurs and the small and medium-sized businesses they create could make a profound impact on the health of the planet.
Thirteen years on, the proof of our concept is demonstrated daily around the world. As engines of economic growth and laboratories for environmental and social innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are helping to build modern economies that improve people’s lives while conserving natural resources.
This is especially true in developing countries, where such businesses can account for as many as four in five jobs and almost one-third of GDP. Which is why, back in 1999, WRI chose Latin America and Asia as the focus of its pioneering New Ventures project to nurture environmental entrepreneurs.
The Global Impact Investment Network defines impact investments as “investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” Few people understand that concept better than Jed Emerson.
A recognized international leader in the field of strategic philanthropy and impact investing, Emerson has spent more than two decades exploring how capital investment strategies may be executed to create multiple returns. Currently, he is Chief Impact Strategist at ImpactAssets, a senior fellow with Heidelberg University’s Center for Social Investing, and a senior advisor to the Sterling Group in Hong Kong. In 2011, he co-authored the book, Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making A Difference, the first book published on the topic of impact investing. We caught up with Emerson to discuss how impact investors can help developing market entrepreneurs increase their economic, environmental, and social impacts.
1) If you were in an elevator with a promising developing country environmental entrepreneur, what would be your advice on how to lock-in investment (whether from the traditional or impact investment community)?
With President Obama’s re-election, he has the opportunity to extend his legacy and take on big challenges. Climate change stands high on the list of issues that need to be addressed. As the President said in his acceptance speech:
“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
In the final days of the campaign, Hurricane Sandy provided a wake-up call about the impacts of climate change. Recent extreme weather and climate events make clear that ignoring climate change will be costly in human, environmental, and economic terms for the United States and the world. How President Obama addresses climate and energy issues will help define his legacy.
As America recovers economically, we can--and must--also protect the environment and safeguard people’s health. The economy, environment, and public health are not in conflict, but complementary--they cannot be sustained over time without each other. America needs to get on a path that builds economic strength through investment and policy decisions that reward clean energy and enhance climate resilience.
“To tell the story of the corporation is to tell the story of a grand bargain gone awry,” says Pavan Sukhdev in his new book, Corporation 2020: Transforming Business for Tomorrow’s World. It’s a bold statement, but he backs up his claim persuasively. While many companies are reaching record profits, they’ve oftentimes come at the expense of ecological degradation, rising greenhouse gas emissions, unemployment, spikes in food and fuel costs, and social inequalities.
But Sukhdev has developed what he believes is a framework for shifting the private sector towards a greener, more equitable economy. WRI recently hosted Sukhdev at our Washington, D.C. office to discuss his new book and his vision for the future. The founder of GIST Advisory and former head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative joined a panel discussion with WRI’s Managing Director, Manish Bapna, and Naoko Ishii, CEO of the Global Environment Facility.
“Pavan has written a remarkable new book,” said WRI’s president, Andrew Steer, who opened Wednesday’s event. “It not just a book, but really a campaign to change corporations in four viable ways.”
The 4 “Planks” for Corporate Sustainability
Sukhdev’s framework for shifting the private sector towards greater social and environmental sustainability includes what he calls the “four planks of change:”
Australia, one of world’s most carbon-intensive countries, recently began implementing a comprehensive national policy to address climate change and transition to a clean-energy economy. Yesterday, WRI had the pleasure of hosting Mark Dreyfus, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, who outlined his country’s plans to a group of business, congressional, and NGO representatives.
One point that came through at the event is that Australia’s recent energy and climate choices can be very instructive to the United States. This post provides a quick look at Australia’s new policy and explores how it can inform and inspire U.S. efforts to move toward a low-carbon future.
Why Did Australia Adopt a National Climate and Energy Policy?
Australia faces a high level of climate risk, with significant vulnerability to sea level rise as well as to extreme weather events like drought, heat waves, and wildfires. At the same time, the country is heavily dependent on carbon-intensive resources. Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any country in the developed world, and it's the 15th largest emitter overall.
A few months back, I attended the US-China-Brazil Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure and Development, organized by the International Fund for China’s Environment. I was joined by a few other development experts, including representatives from the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, Pacific Environment, the Brookings Institution, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation of North America. Our “Infrastructure Investment Strategies and Project Selection Criteria” panel provided an opportunity to discuss the final report of the G20 High-Level Panel (HLP) on infrastructure.
The HLP report, “High Level Panel on Infrastructure Recommendations to G20-Final Report,” acts as a guide for infrastructure project selection in the developing world. While the report successfully draws attention to the important topic of infrastructure development in developing countries, it has been criticized by civil society groups for failing to include effective governance strategies and for focusing too much on large-scale projects.
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