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
Using Systemic Approaches and Simulation to Scale Nature-Based Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation
Together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the MAVA Foundation, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), IISD is working on systemic approaches and simulations for nature-based infrastructure (NBI).
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.
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
The Value of Natural Infrastructure
How municipalities advance climate change adaptation through management of natural infrastructure assets that provide municipal and ecosystem services.
The Multiple Benefits of Natural Infrastructure
We explain exactly what natural infrastructure is and all the multiple benefits that it brings to humans and to the environment.
Combatting Canada’s Rising Flood Costs: Natural infrastructure is an underutilized option
This report presents ample evidence to suggest that efforts by governments to limit flood risk may be consistent with – and reinforce – their fiduciary responsibility to administer good governance.
Texas disaster shows need for climate audits of power grids, experts say
The frigid disaster unfolding in Texas is being seen as a warning to urgently assess the resilience of key systems like electricity to the risks posed by the climate crisis.
Testing grounds for sustainability
From UBC to Mohawk College, Canadian colleges and universities are deepening their green commitments.
It’s time to reveal the hidden value of Canada’s natural assets
The economic value of our abundant network of forests, wetlands and green spaces is not reflected in financial statements, even though it could be higher than our debt.
Sustainable Development in the Year of COVID-19
The global pandemic has brought challenges the likes of which this generation has never seen. But there have also been bright spots worth celebrating.
How Can Nature Play a Leading Role in Adapting to Climate Change?
Five key takeaways from Canada’s Action on Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation Roundtable Dialogue.
Building the Investment Case for Nature-Based Infrastructure
Nature-based infrastructure help increase societies' resilience to climate change and the insurance industry can play a key role.
Canada Is Stepping Up its Climate Ambition, Now we all have to step up
A new climate plan includes clear commitments to reduce our carbon footprint, build resilience, and play a leading role on the world stage.
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.
The green economy can drive future economic growth and help address climate change.