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Prince Charles’ ‘Terra Carta’ Urges Business, Finance to Put Nature at Heart of 2030 Recovery Plan

Inspired by the Magna Carta, the ‘Terra Carta’ (Earth Charter) calls on CEOs from around the world to engage and play their part in leading the global transition to a low-carbon future by 2030.

On Monday, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, Prince Charles launched the Terra Carta — a charter that offers the basis of a recovery plan to 2030 that "works in harmony with Nature's own economy, rather than against it."

A year after the launch of his Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Prince of Wales — a lifelong environmentalist and heir to the British throne — is using the charter to urge big business, industry and the financial worlds to commit to the plan that he hopes will "reunite people and planet,” with nearly 100 actions to become sustainable by 2030.

Video credit: Sky News

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.

As the Prince says in the foreward to the charter:

“To build a productive and sustainable future, it is critical that we accelerate and mainstream sustainability into every aspect of our economy. To move forward, there must be a center of gravity to catalyze such a monumental effort, and to mobilize the resources and incentives required.

"Over the past year, through my Sustainable Markets Initiative, I have convened leaders from across industries and almost every sector, and challenged them to identify ways to set our planet on a fundamentally more sustainable trajectory. Together, these outstanding business leaders have seized this opportunity to develop a charter of ambitious, but practical action. With these insights, I am launching this ‘Terra Carta’ as the basis of a recovery plan for Nature, People & Planet. I am calling on CEOs from around the world to engage and play their part in leading the global transition.”

Early supporters including AstraZeneca, Bank of America, BP, BlackRock, EY, Fidelity International, Heathrow Airport, HSBC and Unilever have signed on to the charter — and committed to a $10B fund to invest in environmental sustainability initiatives, according to Sky News. While some of these signatories remain big investors or financiers for the fossil fuel industry and sectors linked to biodiversity loss, this latest commitment hopefully signals an intention to move beyond pronouncements and toward definitive action — to enable the transition to a low-carbon future that also backs biodiversity restoration.

The Terra Carta now serves as SMI’s "guiding mandate," and will be updated annually over the next ten years.

According to CNN, one of the initiatives arising out of the charter is a private-sector alliance that aims to invest $10 billion in natural capital by 2022, including regenerative farming and biofuels.

Swiss bank Lombard Odier, asset manager Mirova, and funds jointly managed by HSBC and climate advisory firm Pollination Group are founding partners of the initiative — dubbed the Natural Capital Investment Alliance. The group will direct money to businesses that try to harness or preserve the power of nature, such as those using nature-based materials or deploying zero-waste strategies. The Alliance will also seek to capitalize on the growing number of companies investing in sustainable development projects in order to offset carbon emissions and reach net-zero targets — as even more brands (including Unilever) and financial institutions demonstrated just before the new year.