Prince Charles urges companies to join ‘Earth Charter’, launches natural capital alliance

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, at the World Economic Forum in 2020, where he launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative. (Photo: Keystone/Alessandro della Valle)

The Prince of Wales is urging global businesses to sign up to a new 2030 roadmap to move to a more sustainable future and has also launched a new investment alliance to protect the world's "natural capital".

Speaking at the virtual One Planet Summit in France today, Prince Charles launched what he called a “Terra Carta”, or Earth Charter, backed by businesses including BlackRock, AstaZeneca, BP and Unilever.

The 17-page living document forms part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), which he initiated at the World Economic Forum last year to accelerate the shift towards more eco-friendly markets.

The charter includes nearly 100 different actions and commitments such as “ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, on land and below water” and the need to explore longer-term and cross-border mega projects  “to scale sustainable solutions and investment”.

Among its aims is to meeting “and where possible exceed” the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as other UN initiatives including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In a statement on the SMI website, the heir to the British throne, said:

“The 'Terra Carta' offers the basis of a recovery plan that puts nature, people and planet at the heart of global value creation – one that will harness the precious, irreplaceable power of nature combined with the transformative innovation and resources of the private sector.”

A new alliance for natural capital. One of the terms that features no less than 28 times in the document is protecting the world’s “natural capital”, or the supply of renewable and non-renewable resources that the planet provides, from plants and animals to the air, water, minerals and soils.

As part of this effort, Prince Charles’ SMI also announced the launch of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance, in collaboration with HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, and investment management firms Mirova, and Lombard Odier.

The alliance will promote the idea of nature as an investment theme in its own right and will aim to mobilise $10bn around the theme of natural capital across all asset classes by 2022.

Investments could, for example, take the shape of projects to preserve and restore natural ecosystems over large land and marine areas, particularly in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Small Island Developing States.

Hubert Keller, managing partner of the Lombard Odier Group , said:

“The primary objective of the investment industry is to seek returns and today some of the most compelling growth and return opportunities come from the transition towards a more sustainable economic model capable of both taking advantage of nature and preserving it.

“We are proud to be a founding member of this important alliance, inspired by the vision of His Royal Highness, and to help raise capital at a scale commensurate with the levels of opportunity and challenge.”