Prince of Wales proposes new initiative to help environmental projects

26 November 2015

The Prince of Wales addressing delegates at the Commonwealth summit.

The Prince of Wales today proposed a new initiative to guarantee financing for small-scale environmental projects. He was addressing delegates at the concluding session of the Commonwealth Business Forum.

His vision for a Commonwealth Green Finance Facility sets out cost efficient and effective guarantees and credit enhancement for green projects that struggle to access finance. The programme will seek investment from sovereign wealth funds and pension funds.

“So much of the problem, as I understand it, when dealing with projects that aim to tackle some of the critical challenges we face worldwide, is that they are small and risky for investors.  Finding ways to scale up and aggregate these developments is therefore a vital part of the solution,” he said.

Prince Charles also congratulated the government of Seychelles for their announcements on a Blue Bond, which aims to boost their fishing sector. He described the project as proof that “economic growth and ecological resilience really do go hand in hand”.

The Prince praised the Business Forum for its strong outcomes. He said the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council announcement of the launch of the Commonwealth Sustainable Business Challenge will “provide for those essential ingredients to make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed in New York in September.”

The 10th Commonwealth Business Forum, which took place from 24 to 26 November, brought together 1,300 business leader from around 80 countries, including 21 heads of government. The conference aimed to create new investment opportunities and increase the involvement of the private sector to bring about sustainable economic growth.

The Forum comes days before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where leaders will issue a joint statement on climate change that is expected to influence the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) outcome.

Stressing the critical importance of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the achievement of the recently ratified Sustainable Development Goals and next month’s Paris deliberation on climate change, the Prince of Wales said: “The Commonwealth, its members and businesses have a huge role to play.

“We face an unprecedented set of interlocking challenges, all of which are creeping up on us in the shape of a perfect storm – a global rise in unsustainable population growth and consumption; migration; rapid urbanisation; climate change; natural capital depletion and social, economic and energy insecurity.”

Closing the Forum, Prince Charles declared: “We look towards Paris and an agreement that will determine the survival of our species and all of those that share this precious planet with us.  We do not have the right to test to destruction the planet’s tolerance to our indiscretions.  We do not have the right to steal our children’s and grandchildren’s inheritance.

“We do, however, have the responsibility to act now, to seize this opportunity to build a truly resilient future and I am sure that the Commonwealth, and those of you here today, will play a critical and leading part in this endeavour.”

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