Press release

Innovative investment treaty supporting clean energy transition tops global contest

July 24, 2018

A team including experts from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) was chosen as one of two winners of the Stockholm Treaty Lab’s top prize. The global competition crowdsourced expertise in various areas—including law, economics, science and climate change policy—to encourage climate-friendly investment through international law. 

Over 20 teams from around the world entered the contest, which challenged them to draft a state-of-the-art international agreement that, if adopted by states, would generate investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation, in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Creative Disrupters, a team of international lawyers, senior economists, policy advisers and communication specialists from IISD, as well as other experts, submitted an innovative treaty built around three pillars: demoting unsustainable investments, promoting sustainable investments, and ensuring a just transition to sustainable, climate-friendly and resilient economies and societies.

To demote unsustainable investments, for example, the treaty recognizes the right of states to adopt disruptive but necessary measures to address climate change—such as leaving fossil fuels undeveloped.

“To reach the commitments under the Paris Agreement, over two thirds of the proven coal, oil and natural gas reserves in countries should be left in the ground,” explains Ivetta Gerasimchuk, IISD’s lead on Sustainable Energy Supplies. “Our treaty does not allow investors to claim compensation over government policies that aim to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Achieving climate change goals also requires significantly scaling up investment in renewable energy and other low-carbon projects. “Our treaty commits states to cooperate on promoting sustainable investment. It also allows them to introduce incentives and adopt green industrial policy measures to foster climate-friendly investments,” says Martin Dietrich Brauch, Associate and International Law Advisor with IISD and Team Captain of The Creative Disrupters.

In a statement announcing the jury’s decision, the Stockholm Treaty Lab noted:

“The text contains innovative and out-of-the box ideas and strong language to promote and encourage green investments while at the same time seeking to address the risks posed by non-green investments and supporting the need for just transitions. The model by which States own the definition of sustainable and unsustainable investments is innovative.”

In coming months, team members from The Creative Disrupters will head to New York, Stockholm and Davos to present the treaty to policymakers. 

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

Press release details

Focus area