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Sustainable Infrastructure

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Sustainable infrastructure holds enormous potential for alleviating poverty, improving access to basic services, creating employment and business, and ultimately contributing to the well-being of people and the planet.

Emerging markets and developing economies need vast investments for new infrastructure to spur growth. At the same time, advanced economies need equally large amounts to replace or upgrade aging public assets.

Yet more investment is not all that is needed. When funding the roads, bridges, power plants, water supplies and ports that power economic growth, investors and governments must also consider carbon and environmental footprints, social cohesion, stewardship of natural ecosystems, and the financial viability of projects. In short, they must plan and build infrastructure that is sustainable.

Roads, buildings, energy and water infrastructure must be sustainable if the world is to meet the goals and targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Highly sophisticated instruments are needed to enable better decision-making, mitigate risks, generate returns and optimize value for money across the lifecycle of an asset. IISD created the Sustainable Asset Valuation tool (SAVi) to meet this demand. We also created the Sustainable Infrastructure Portal as a repository of news and views on sustainable infrastructure. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive all the latest updates.

  • Blog
    IISD Contributes to the Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank

    IISD Contributes to the Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank

    IISD applauds the New Development Bank for setting out a clear target whereby two thirds of its portfolio will advance sustainable infrastructure as well as their strategic focus on clean energy, irrigation and water resource management.

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  • Report
    Low-Carbon Innovation for Sustainable Infrastructure: The role of public procurement

    Low-Carbon Innovation for Sustainable Infrastructure: The role of public procurement

    This report discusses how to leverage the power of public procurement laws, policies and practices to drive low-carbon innovation in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

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  • Report
    Stormwater Markets: Concepts and applications

    Stormwater Markets: Concepts and applications

    This paper provides an overview of the technology and financing options available to address the stormwater problem in urban areas. The analysis focuses on policy instruments for incentivising private investments into green infrastructure, specifically through the creation of stormwater markets.

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  • Discussion Paper
    Infrastructure Banks: Solutions and best practices

    Infrastructure Banks: Solutions and best practices

    This discussion paper features infrastructure bank best practices and recommendations for countries exploring similar models to support their infrastructure pipelines.

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  • Report
    Contracts for Sustainable Infrastructure: Ensuring the economic, social and environmental co-benefits of infrastructure investment projects

    Contracts for Sustainable Infrastructure: Ensuring the economic, social and environmental co-benefits of infrastructure investment projects

    This report defines sustainable infrastructure, outlines its expected characteristics and co-benefits, and presents why governments must and how they can integrate sustainability into public–private partnerships (PPP) and other infrastructure contracts.

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  • Policy Brief
    Biodiversity and Infrastructure: A better nexus?

    Biodiversity and Infrastructure: A better nexus?

    In this brief, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) provide initial policy guidance for parties to consider prior to COP 14 in Egypt on how biodiversity mainstreaming can be reconciled with the infrastructure sector. 

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  • Blog
    Financing Infrastructure – How can multilateral development banks avoid crowding out institutional investors?

    Financing Infrastructure – How can multilateral development banks avoid crowding out institutional investors?

    David Uzsoki takes a look at the role multilateral development banks should play in financing infrastructure.

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  • Discussion Paper
    The Role of Public Procurement in Deploying Sustainable Infrastructure

    The Role of Public Procurement in Deploying Sustainable Infrastructure

    This report discusses how to maximise value-for-money when procuring sustainable infrastructure. 

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