Prince Charles calls for ‘urgent’ action as he launches £7.3bn Earth Charter plan

The Prince of Wales today launched an ambitious £7.3billion recovery plan to right a string of ‘broken promises’ over the environment.

Marking 50 years since he first began campaigning on green issues, Charles unveiled his ‘Terra Carta’, a pioneering multi-national agreement between some of the biggest firms in the world to put sustainability at the heart of the global post-pandemic recovery.

His project has been inspired by the Magna Carta, which defines fundamental rights and liberties. 

Now, 805 years on, his ten-year ‘Earth Charter’ is designed to give ‘fundamental rights and values to Nature’. 

The prince hopes it will put an end to decades of unfulfilled agreements on the environment and give ‘our children and grandchildren the future they deserve’.

As he addressed the summit today, Prince Charles made reference to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has had on the economy. 

He said: ‘The current pandemic exemplifies the devastating impact global threats can pose to human and economic wellbeing – after all, nature is central to all aspects of our existence; from the air we breathe, our nourishment and shelter, to out spiritual, cultural and recreational wellbeing.’  

As he addressed the summit today, Prince Charles made reference to the coronavirus pandemic

As he addressed the summit today, Prince Charles made reference to the coronavirus pandemic

The Prince of Wales launched an ambitious £7.3billion recovery plan to right a string of 'broken promises' over the environment

The Prince of Wales launched an ambitious £7.3billion recovery plan to right a string of ‘broken promises’ over the environment

The 17-page, 85-point Terra Carta, designed by Sir Jony, sets out an immediate ten-point action plan for businesses which will provide a roadmap to a more sustainable future for the private sector

The 17-page, 85-point Terra Carta, designed by Sir Jony, sets out an immediate ten-point action plan for businesses which will provide a roadmap to a more sustainable future for the private sector

He believes harnessing the private sector and big business is the way to do it.  

The prince has spent the past year meeting world leaders from industry, government, philanthropy and technology to convene a ‘coalition of the willing’, who have vowed to bring sustainability ‘to the heart’ of their work.

Those that have signed up include Bank of America, AstraZeneca, Schroders, HSBC, Heathrow Airport, Coutts, BP and Sir Jony Ive, the British-born former chief design officer at Apple. 

Charles launched his Terra Carta today via video link at the One Planet Summit in Paris. 

Charles told the summit this morning: ‘The interdependence between human health and planetary health has never been more clear. For so many of the problems we face, nature – with the benefit of billions of years of evolution – has already provided us with the solutions.

‘As we urgently seek to rescue the situation we must now look to invest in natural capital as the engine of our economy.

‘With growing interest in natural capital as an investment theme, the financial sector has come to see that natural capital can come to play a decisive role in addressing climate change as well as supporting the sustainable development goals.

‘Integration of biodiversity, related risks and opportunities into the finance sector is already underway.

‘We also need to think holistically about land, food, and health systems. Climate change, land use change, food production and human health are all deeply interconnected.

‘Regenerative agriculture, including practices such as organic and no-till farming, to restoring soil fertility or using silvopastural or agroforestry systems ,could enable agriculture to become a net carbon sync – rolling climate change backwards profitably as it revitalises rural communities and enhances human health.

‘As we look towards the United Nations biodiversity conference in China later this year, the Great Green Wall has the potential to serve as an example of large scale natural capital investment in critical areas such as wider Africa, the Amazon, small island states and the Great Barrier Reef. 

‘It can also be instrumental not only in bringing together Commonwealth countries ..but around landscape restoration in Africa in particular.

‘This is why I am so grateful to all of you here today for taking an interest in natural capital and the Great Green Wall initiative.

‘It is also why have created a natural capital investors alliance targeting $10bn in investment by 2022 to help us arrive at a common language on natural capital investment so that we can start putting money to work and improve the flow of capital.’ 

Those that have signed up include Bank of America, AstraZeneca, Schroders, HSBC, Heathrow Airport, Coutts, BP and Sir Jony Ive (pictured), the British-born former chief design officer at Apple

Those that have signed up include Bank of America, AstraZeneca, Schroders, HSBC, Heathrow Airport, Coutts, BP and Sir Jony Ive (pictured), the British-born former chief design officer at Apple

The 17-page, 85-point Terra Carta, designed by Sir Jony, sets out an immediate ten-point action plan for businesses which will provide a roadmap to a more sustainable future for the private sector.

Writing in the foreword to the document, he says: ‘To guarantee our future, we have no other choice but to make each day count – and it must start today.’ 

Most eye-catching is the creation of a ‘Natural Capital Investors Alliance’, promising an ambitious $10billion (£7.3billion) in investment for green initiatives by 2022. 

All those who are involved in the initiative will have to commit to an allocation of that figure to invest in ‘natural capital’ – reducing emissions, restoring biodiversity and boosting sustainable economic growth. 

Other aspects include a demand for industry to recognise the importance of local traditions, culture, products and jobs.

He added: ‘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.’

A senior royal source said the prince sees the charter as a ‘pivotal moment’ in his life’s work on green issues – which began when he warned against the perils of plastics in a speech in 1970, aged just 21.

Greta mocks UK eco vows 

Greta Thunberg has rubbished Boris Johnson’s promises of a ‘green revolution’ after the Government approved the use of a bee-killing pesticide and a new coal mine.

Environment Secretary George Eustice gave farmers in England permission to use a chemical that is a known risk to bees and is banned by the EU. Climate-change activist Miss Thunberg, 18, wrote on Twitter: ‘New coal mines and pesticides… the UK’s so-called ‘green industrial revolution’ is off to a great start.’

The approval for a deep coal mine in Cumbria comes despite the Government’s vow to cut carbon levels.

The Department for Environment insisted the pesticide would be controlled.

 

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