Ban urges private sector to invest in sustainable development initiatives

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

12 January 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged investors today to lend their support to sustainable development initiatives to deal with climate change and provide efficient energy solutions around the world.

“In these times of austerity and economic uncertainty, public sector efforts alone will not be sufficient,” Mr. Ban said in his message to participants at the Investor Summit in New York. “Limited public sector resources will need to leverage much larger pools of private sector financing and know-how.”

In his remarks, delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning Robert Orr, Mr. Ban stressed that partnerships with the private sector can make a “crucial difference” in development projects, and encouraged investors to take part in the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), which will be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in June.

“Rio offers a tremendous chance to expand economic opportunity, strengthen equity and protect the environment – the three “E’s”. But to make the most of this moment, we need global investors who take the long view and invest for sustainable prosperity.”

Mr. Ban also invited investors to take part in the high-level group he set up in November for his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.

“We need everyone at the table – investors, CEOs [Chief Executive Officers], governments, civil society groups, technical experts and practitioners – working in common cause,” Mr. Ban said.

“We need investors who can provide seed money for clean technologies or invest in other solutions in untapped new markets. Already, solar power stations are providing clean, safe and reliable electricity to impoverished rural communities across Africa and Asia,” he added.

Mr. Ban said he was pleased to note that investors are increasingly evaluating companies on their climate and energy footprint and are urging corporations to advance energy efficiency in their operations and supply chains.

“Such scrutiny reflects a growing and very welcome embrace of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The efforts of PRI and other such projects are helping to sensitize capital markets to the importance of sustainability, and are becoming a major force in driving a green economy and carbon reduction,” he said.


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