11 january 2021

Magna Carta-style project aims to ‘bring prosperity into harmony with nature

Prince Charles:‘Nature, of which we are an integral part, lies at the heart of the Terra Carta,’

Patrick Greenfield, The Guardian, Mon 11 Jan 2021

Prince Charles is urging businesses to invest in the health of the planet and people at the launch of a sustainable finance charter backed by several international institutions.

Evoking the history of Magna Carta, the Prince of Wales is launching the Terra Carta – the Earth charter – that will ask signatories to agree to almost 100 actions to become more sustainable by 2030.

In the Terra Carta’s statement of intent, the voluntary commitments include supporting international agreements on the climate, biodiversity and desertification, backing efforts to protect half of the planet by 2050, and make investment and financial flows consistent with a future of low greenhouse gas emissions.

The charter, launched on Monday before the One Planet summit in Paris, aims to raise more finance to invest in nature, citing the example of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance, which is looking to raise $10bn (£7bn) by 2022.

“I am making an urgent appeal to leaders, from all sectors and from around the world, to give their support to this Terra Carta, to bring prosperity into harmony with nature, people and planet over the coming decade,” Charles will tell the conference on Monday.

“I can only encourage, in particular, those in industry and finance to provide practical leadership to this common project, as only they are able to mobilise the innovation, scale and resources that are required to transform our global economy.”

Companies supporting the launch of the Terra Carta include BlackRock, Bank of America and HSBC. While some signatories are big investors or financiers for the fossil fuel industry and sectors linked to biodiversity loss, the commitments signal an intention to transition to a low-carbon future that also backs biodiversity restoration.

In the foreword for the launch, Charles has written about the importance of mainstreaming sustainability into all aspects of the global economy.

“If we consider the legacy of our generation, more than 800 years ago, Magna Carta inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. As we strive to imagine the next 800 years of human progress, the fundamental rights and value of nature must represent a step-change in our ‘future of industry’ and ‘future of economy’ approach,” he states.

“With this in mind, nature, of which we are an integral part, lies at the heart of the Terra Carta. I am calling on CEOs from around the world to engage and play their part in leading the global transition.”

Later on Monday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the Chinese vice premier, Han Zheng, will address the One Planet summit.

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