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.
Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy
Senior Policy Advisor
Senior Advisor & Lead, Sustainable Finance
Director, Water Management
Director, Adaptation (Canada)
System Dynamics Analyst
Cesar Henrique Arrais
Communications and Editorial Manager, Economic Law and Policy
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Agroforestry Nature-Based Infrastructure in Welkenraedt (Belgium)
This report describes the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) assessment of an agroforestry project in the municipality of Welkenraedt, Belgium.
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Paterson Park's Building Infrastructure: City of Johannesburg (South Africa)
The assessment of Paterson Park's building infrastructure is one of the use cases demonstrating the value of integrating climate data from the Copernicus database into SAVi.
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Stormwater Infrastructure Solutions in Johannesburg, South Africa
A SAVi assessment of grey-green infrastructure upgrade options for stormwater infrastructure in the Paterson Park Precinct, Johannesburg.
The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: The Governance Challenge
Over-exploitation of natural resources harms the health of ecosystems and the livelihoods and wellbeing of people, but there are fair policy options.
Power by All: Alternatives to a privately owned future for renewable energy in South Africa
This report explores new models for renewable energy development that create a greater role for public and community ownership in South Africa.
Biden's proposed $2-trillion stimulus will spill over into Canada — but it could also hurt our competitiveness
With US$2 trillion in proposed spending over eight years, the plan lays out a roadmap to address climate change through emission reduction and investment in aging infrastructure, and it has delighted many in Canada.
Developing a Pathway for Universal Infrastructure Coverage
This discussion paper argues that, for developing countries in particular, structuring infrastructure as a business has many advantages over structuring infrastructure as a project.
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