Investors fear to tread risky path towards building a greener world

(Reuters News, 7 Mar 2019) Winning trillions of dollars for low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure requires better understanding of its benefits and risks.

Build a road to a shopping mall, or more energy-efficient social housing? Convincing investors to bankroll construction and services that do not heat up the climate or succumb to disasters, while boosting jobs and quality of life, is a tough task, international organisations said this week.

Gathered to discuss the challenge in Barcelona, officials from development banks, businesses and governments agreed to work together to push the need for low-carbon, resilient infrastructure up the political agenda.

They also said they would explore the development of common standards to help markets pour trillions of dollars into it.

Luigi Carafa, executive director of the Climate Infrastructure Partnership, which hosted the conference, said large investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, do not know which transport, electricity, water or telecommunications projects tick the right green boxes.

"We really need to define what ... are sustainable infrastructure assets, because we need to reduce the uncertainties for institutional investors," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation after the event.

Tools that measure the environmental, social and economic impacts of projects are emerging, ranging from an online platform run by the Mexican government and the Inter-American Development Bank to a carbon savings registry for cities.

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Reuters News, 7 Mar 2019: Investors fear to tread risky path towards building a greener world