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Ten Principles Aim to Inform Coming Wave of Infrastructure Investment | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD – IISD Reporting Services



The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a report on ten principles of good practice for making infrastructure more sustainable. The principles aim to inform “the forthcoming wave of global infrastructure investment” by specifying how to incorporate environmental, social, and economic factors into infrastructure policymaking.

Sustainable infrastructure has great potential to support global goals. Currently, built infrastructure, such as highways, power plants, and office buildings, is responsible for 70% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It can also displace communities and wildlife when designed without the use of sustainable development principles. In her foreword to the report, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen highlights an opportunity: the majority of infrastructure that is predicted to exist in 2050 has not yet been built, and the new infrastructure will mainly be built in developing countries.

Investing in renewables and energy efficiency creates five times more jobs than fossil fuel investments.

The UNEP report, titled ‘International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure,’ calls for a more systematic approach by planners and policymakers to incorporate sustainable infrastructure into long-term development plans, ensuring that “human-made systems work with natural ones.” The publication offers guiding principles for such decision-making.

The recommendations include: aligning infrastructure decisions with the 2030 Agenda and other global sustainable development agendas; making services flexible to allow for changing needs over time; assessing the impacts of infrastructure projects on ecosystems and communities, not just at the start of the project but over the projects’ entire lifespan; maximizing resource efficiency to make services affordable and reduce emissions and other pollutants; generate employment and support for the local economy; include stakeholder analysis, public participation, and grievance mechanisms in decision-making about the project; and monitor infrastructure performance and impacts regularly and share resulting data with stakeholders.

The authors assert that these approaches can help governments meet service needs with “less infrastructure that is more resource efficient, pollutes less, is more resilient, more cost effective and has fewer risks” than business-as-usual approaches to infrastructure. The report also highlights the economic return on projects like renewable energy plants, eco-friendly public buildings, and low-carbon transport. It reports that investing in renewables and energy efficiency creates five times more jobs than investments in fossil fuels.

Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and the President of the Global Green Growth Institute, a UNEP partner, said the principles can help governments to “lay the groundwork for a future where sustainable infrastructure is the only kind of infrastructure we know.”

The report is accompanied by a set of case studies from Afghanistan, Austria, Chile, Ecuador, Iran, Malawi, Mongolia, Saint Lucia, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

The principles and case studies were developed as part of the implementation of a resolution on sustainable infrastructure adopted during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). [Publication: International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrated, Systems-level Approaches for Policymakers] [UNEP news]

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More China coal investments overseas cancelled than commissioned since 2017



More China-invested overseas coal-fired power capacity was cancelled than commissioned since 2017, research showed on Wednesday, highlighting the obstacles facing the industry as countries work to reduce carbon emissions.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said that the amount of capacity shelved or cancelled since 2017 was 4.5 times higher than the amount that went into construction over the period.

Coal-fired power is one of the biggest sources of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions, and the wave of cancellations also reflects rising concerns about the sector’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Since 2016, the top 10 banks involved in global coal financing were all Chinese, and around 12% of all coal plants operating outside of China can be linked to Chinese banks, utilities, equipment manufacturers and construction firms, CREA said.

But although 80 gigawatts of China-backed capacity is still in the pipeline, many of the projects could face further setbacks as public opposition rises and financing becomes more difficult, it added.

China is currently drawing up policies that it says will allow it to bring greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by 2030 and to become carbon-neutral by 2060.

But it was responsible for more than half the world’s coal-fired power generation last year, and it will not start to cut coal consumption until 2026, President Xi Jinping said in April.

Environmental groups have called on China to stop financing coal-fired power entirely and to use the funds to invest in cleaner forms of energy, and there are already signs that it is cutting back on coal investments both at home and abroad.

Following rule changes implemented by the central bank earlier this year, “clean coal” is no longer eligible for green financing.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest bank by assets and a major source of global coal financing, is also drawing up a “road map” to pull out of the sector, its chief economist Zhou Yueqiu said at the end of May.


(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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Bank of Montreal CEO sees growth in U.S. share of earnings



Bank of Montreal expects its earnings contribution from the U.S. to keep growing, even without any mergers and acquisitions, driven by a much smaller market share than at home and nearly C$1 trillion ($823.38 billion) of assets, Chief Executive Officer Darryl White said on Monday.

“We do think we have plenty of scale,” and the ability to compete with both banks of similar as well as smaller size, White said at a Morgan Stanley conference, adding that the bank’s U.S. market share is between 1% and 5% based on the business line, versus 10% to 35% in Canada. “And we do it off the scale of our global balance sheet of C$950 billion.”

($1 = 1.2145 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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GameStop falls 27% on potential share sale



Shares of GameStop Corp lost more than a quarter of their value on Thursday and other so-called meme stocks also declined in a sell-off that hit a broad range of names favored by retail investors.

The video game retailer’s shares closed down 27.16% at $220.39, their biggest one-day percentage loss in 11 weeks. The drop came a day after GameStop said in a quarterly report that it may sell up to 5 million new shares, sparking concerns of potential dilution for existing shareholders.

“The threat of dilution from the five million-share sale is the dagger in the hearts of GameStop shareholders,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management. “The meme trade is not working today, so logic for at least one day has returned.”

Soaring rallies in the shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment Holdings over the past month have helped reinvigorate the meme stock frenzy that began earlier this year and fueled big moves in a fresh crop of names popular with investors on forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets.

Many of those names traded lower on Thursday, with shares of Clover Health Investments Corp down 15.2%, burger chain Wendy’s falling 3.1% and prison operator Geo Group Inc, one of the more recently minted meme stocks, down nearly 20% after surging more than 38% on Wednesday. AMC shares were off more than 13%.

Worries that other companies could leverage recent stock price gains by announcing share sales may be rippling out to the broader meme stock universe, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital.

AMC last week took advantage of a 400% surge in its share price since mid-May to announce a pair of stock offerings.

“It appears that other companies, like GameStop, are hoping to follow AMC’s lead by issuing shares and otherwise profit from the meme stocks run-up,” Ablin said. “Investors are taking a dim view of that strategy.”

Wedbush Securities on Thursday raised its price target on GameStop to $50, from $39. GameStop will likely sell all 5 million new shares but that amount only represents a “modest” dilution of 7%, Wedbush analysts wrote.

GameStop on Wednesday reported stronger-than-expected earnings, and named the former head of Inc’s Australian business as its chief executive officer.

GameStop’s shares rallied more than 1,600% in January when a surge of buying forced bearish investors to unwind their bets in a phenomenon known as a short squeeze.

The company on Wednesday said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had requested documents and information related to an investigation into that trading.

In the past two weeks, the so-called “meme stocks” have received $1.27 billion of retail inflows, Vanda Research said on Wednesday, matching their January peak.


(Reporting by Aaron Saldanha and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru and Sinead Carew in New York; Additional reporting by Ira Iosebashvili; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Shounak Dasgupta, Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski)

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