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UNEP and WWF Release Reports on How to Invest Sustainably
By Tyler Collins

According to two recent reports from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), responsible investing is a critically important way of driving social change and advancing environmental sustainability.

The 2011 UNEP report, Investing in a Climate for Change, shows how investing US$1.3 trillion (2% of global GDP) each year in ten key industries would deliver long-term stability in the global economy.  The report emphasizes that investment into agriculture, buildings, energy, fisheries, forestry, industry, tourism, transport, waste, and water could reduce the global ecological footprint by nearly half over the next 40 years.

The UNEP states that achieving a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy will require the scaling-up of private-sector investment in clean technology applications around the world. “Governments have a central role in changing laws and policies, and in investing public money in public wealth to make the transition possible. By doing so, they can also unleash the trillions of dollars of private capital in favor of a green economy,” said Pavan Sukhdev, head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative.

Like the UNEP report, the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) responsible investing guide entitled The 2050 Criteria, also addresses 10 major global commodities sectors, albeit in a more specified manner. Referred to as “soft commodities,” goods and resources such as forestry, agriculture, and seafood are critical foundations for global economies. As of late, soft commodities have suffered historical volatility and scarcity, placing increased strain on global sustainability.

The WWF’s publication combines scientific, industry, and financial research in order to make it easier to assess responsible and sustainable investments.

“Current land, energy, water, and weather constraints are placing unprecedented pressure on humankind’s ability to access its most basic goods” the WWF says. “Yet humanity must now produce more food in the next four decades than we have in the last 8,000 years of agriculture combined. There is no choice but to do so sustainably.”

These two guidance documents from UNEP and the WWF hope to inform investors of how to invest sustainably and provide the tools to help drive corporate behavior for environmental conservation.

Read the full UNEP report.

Read the full WWF report.

Posted: October 23, 2012