Financing a greener future
Thursday, October 11, 2012
World governments will gather soon in Hyderabad, India, for the biennial Convention on Biological Diversity conference to find ways of valuing and safeguarding life on Earth – perhaps one of the most pressing priorities the global community now faces. With the rush to satisfy humanity’s burgeoning energy, food and water needs, we can easily lose sight of the basic fact that true prosperity cannot be achieved without taking care of the living systems – forests, rivers, oceans – that are the foundation of our economy.
Like other multilateral forums, the CBD has struggled to find ways to finance the transition from status quo to sustainability in a way that is socially, economically and politically viable. In 2010, member countries agreed to develop “innovative finance” solutions. To some, that call has seemed a smokescreen – designed to divert attention away from the failure of industrialised countries to put real resources on the table. But real and lasting solutions do exist.
Part of the answer lies in harnessing markets for sustainability. Ecolabels and environmental certification schemes have become increasingly familiar in the marketplace. They look basic enough but are in fact an important and sophisticated way to channel funding into solutions that are both market-viable and in the interests of people, businesses and nature alike.