IISD defines sustainable infrastructure as assets that:
- Lower carbon and environmental footprints
- Conserve natural ecosystems and biodiversity
- Optimize the use of nature-based infrastructure
- Move beyond compliance on core labour and human rights standards
- Trigger technological and industrial innovation across value chains
- Spur investment in education, skill building, and R&D
- Increase long-term employment
- Are financially viable
- Crowd in domestic investors and businesses
- Increase opportunities for foreign direct investment
- Optimize value for money for taxpayers and investors across the asset life cycle
Infrastructure investment is a powerful driver of economic activity. Done right, it 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 ageing public assets.
IISD provides research and advisory services on infrastructure and project finance. We help policy-makers and their many stakeholders appreciate the technical dynamics of investing in both large and small projects and help develop their skills in managing project and infrastructure finance.
IISD also focuses on natural infrastructure, defined as an area or system that is either naturally occurring or naturalized and then intentionally managed to provide multiple benefits or "ecosystem services" for the environment and human well-being.
We are working to advance the conversation around implementing and financing natural infrastructure in Canada and around the world.
Learn more about sustainable infrastructure
The Nature-Based Infrastructure Global Resource Centre
The leading global hub for nature-based infrastructure (NBI). Together, we can help build a better, fairer, and more sustainable future through NBI projects.
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi)
A simulation tool to calculate the costs of risks and externalities, SAVi is built on systems dynamics and project finance models customized to projects, portfolios and policies.
Sustainable Asset Valuation of Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in South Africa
This report presents the results of a Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) assessment for wastewater treatment infrastructure in South Africa
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Tree Planting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This report presents the results of a Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) assessment for tree planting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tokenization of Infrastructure: A blockchain-based solution to financing sustainable infrastructure
This report presents how tokenization can address some of the fundamental challenges of financing sustainable infrastructure projects.
Credit Enhancement for Sustainable Infrastructure
The paper identifies the demand and supply-side barriers for upscaling credit enhancement solutions for sustainable infrastructure projects.
Learn more about natural infrastructure
Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions (NIWS)
Put simply, it’s about looking after nature, so nature can look after us.
Nature-based solutions—solutions that involve working with nature to address societal challenges—have gained momentum as a tool that can deliver multiple benefits.
Nature for Climate Adaptation Initiative
A new initiative aims to support nature-based climate action that protects livelihoods and biodiversity in the most vulnerable parts of the world.
Interim Co-President and Co-CEO | Vice-President, Global Strategies and Managing Director, Europe
Director, Sustainable Infrastructure
Lead, Public Procurement and Sustainable Infrastructure Policy and Coordinator of the NBI Global Resource Centre
Lead, Sustainable Finance
Policy Analyst, Sustainable Finance
Director, Project Management Office | Head of Operations, Economic Law and Policy
Senior Project Manager
Ukraine's 2035 coal phase-out needs concrete plan now
By rapidly installing solar, wind, and heat pumps, Ukraine can simultaneously plug the holes in its energy supplies now, and establish the basis for a decentralized, fully renewables-based power system fit for the future.
Richard Halsey: Revised electricity infrastructure plan must admit benefits of energy storage
As the government concludes a much-delayed revision of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity infrastructure there is one technology that can offer multiple benefits to SA's struggling power system and shouldn’t be underrepresented in the new proposal—energy storage. Strategically located energy storage can help optimise the use of the existing transmission grid. While this is just one of many benefits it can provide, it is an important one for the government to factor in when deciding how much storage capacity to procure at the national level.
Municipality counts on renewable energy to counter loadshedding
Mossel Bay municipality in South Africa's Western Cape province has embarked on an infrastructure roadmap that includes the use of renewable energy sources like solar in a bid to offset loadshedding.
War in Ukraine Makes Just Transition on Energy More Urgent
Even in the midst of war, there is a struggle for Ukraine's energy future. It's one that international allies of Ukraine's social movements need to pay attention to, because states like the United States and United Kingdom, and international organizations like the European Union, will be influential in how that tussle turns out.
What Does Canada's 2023 Budget Signal for the Future of Fresh Water, Adaptation, and Natural Infrastructure on the Prairies?
Canada's 2023 Budget proved to be historic, with unprecedented investments for fresh water and the clean energy transition. As the Budget Implementation Act 2023 passed the House of Commons in June, what does this budget mean for fresh water, climate change adaptation, and natural infrastructure on the Canadian Prairies?
Russia is accused of 'ecocide' in Ukraine. But what does that mean?
On June 6, Ukraine suffered an environmental catastrophe. The collapse of the Kakhovka dam in the south of the country sent water thundering downstream, killing more than 100 people according to Ukrainian officials. It wiped out villages, flooded farmland and nature reserves, and swept up pollutants like oil and agricultural chemicals as it made its destructive path towards the Black Sea.
Gender Equality at the Heart of Recovery: Advocating for Gender-Responsive Procurement in Ukraine
Ukraine is already preparing for reconstruction, which will cost an estimated USD 411 billion and take at least 10 years. The integration of gender considerations into public procurement processes could generate greater inclusivity in a rebuilt Ukraine.
You might also be interested in
Government purchasing power should be leveraged towards buying the most sustainable goods, services, and works.
Climate Change Adaptation
As climate risks escalate, we help governments and communities anticipate, cope, and adapt.
Sustainable finance has gained considerable traction in recent years, becoming a significant trend in the financial industry.