Financing Sustainable Infrastructure
What is sustainable infrastructure? Infrastructure is the backbone to sustainable development, comprising of energy and water infrastructure, transport systems and building, as well as social and nature-based infrastructure.
None of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved without infrastructure, but financing it is a challenge which requires careful consideration due to the enormous impacts to the well-being of people and the planet.
Planning phases for sustainable infrastructure can be longer and more expensive than for traditional projects, since they require systemic thinking, concerted design for the environment, and expertise in project and infrastructure finance. Using of greener and cleaner materials and technologies may involve higher performance risks, as these new solutions have yet to develop robust track records. Design and construction phases are also periods of high risk, trial, error and experimentation; when expenditure is high, delays are common place and no stable revenues are flowing in.
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. This includes
- Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi)
- Innovative financing strategies to blend public and private capital
- Dedicated focus on credit enhancement instruments
- Development of domestic bond markets
- Strategies to crowd in domestic investors into financing infrastructure
- Public–private partnerships (PPPs), stressing the importance of risk allocation and moreover, that PPPs can present significant stress on public balance sheets for many years to come.
Since 2018, we have also been working on digital finance and tokenization, which promises to disrupt and democratize the financing of infrastructure in an unprecedented manner. Our preliminary thoughts are presented in the report Tokenization of infrastructure. This report examines how blockchain and other digital finance technologies can address the inherent barriers of the infrastructure asset class.
Ongoing flagship projects are:
- Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi), a simulation tool to calculate the costs of risks and externalities of infrastructure projects. SAVi is built on systems dynamics and project finance models that are customized to projects, portfolios and policies.
- Inventory of credit enhancement instruments for infrastructure, an online inventory of over 100 credit enhancement and de-risking instruments and more than 60 instrument providers.
- Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Portal reporting on news and views of the infrastructure finance.
- Second Opinions for Green and Sustainability Bond Frameworks
We serve on the B20 Infrastructure Taskforce, UNECE Expert Group on PPP, the OECD Experts Groups on PPP, Green Finance and Long-Term Investment, and the Expert Network on Second Opinions (ENSO). We work closely with the Berne Union (a global association for the export credit and investment insurance industry), Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), New Development Bank (NDB), Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Tomorrow Needs Us Today: IISD’s 2020-2025 Strategic Direction
We are guided by five core priorities—Climate, Resources, Economies, Act Together and Engage—which form our CREATE strategy, presented in this document.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation of the Kalivaç and Poçem Hydropower Projects
The SAVi results suggest that the hydropower assets cannot be considered a preferable solution to generate electricity for the Albanian people as they cause higher costs to communities, the environment and the state than they generate benefits.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Senegal’s Saloum Delta
The assessment provides an economic valuation of the contribution of the Saloum Delta to local livelihoods and regional development.Read More
An Application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) Methodology: Assessing the economic value of restoring the wetlands of S'Ena Arrubia and Corru S'Ittiri-Marceddì-San Giovanni in the Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy
This assessment uses the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) to calculate the economic and societal value generated by the S’Ena Arrubia and Corru S’Ittiri-Marceddì-San Giovanni wetlands in the Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy.Read More
Economic Stimulus Should Reward Front Runners on Sustainable Development
How can we ensure COVID-19 stimulus packages include targets on environmental performance, social cohesion, and economic governance?Read More
Environmental, Social, and Governance Targets of the March 2020 Economic Stimulus
Can these economic stimulus packages be accompanied by targets on environmental performance, social cohesion, and economic governance?Read More
SAVi Database: A primer
IISD has developed a database of available knowledge on the valuation of infrastructure project externalities, costs and climate risks. This publication demonstrates how we use the database for the assessments of infrastructure projects with the SAVi methodology.Read More
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of a Public Bicycle Sharing System in Dwarka, New Delhi, India: A focus on the environmental, social and economic impacts of non-motorized transport infrastructure
This SAVi assessment values the environmental, social and economic benefits generated by a public bicycle sharing system. Its results demonstrate how the transport system delivers to sustainable mobility targets in Delhi.Read More
An Application of the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) Methodology in Sri Lanka: Assessing the economic value of restoring the ecological health of Beira Lake in Colombo
The SAVi assessment quantifies the economic value of investing into different ecological restoration options for South-West Beira Lake in Colombo and makes a strong case for such investments given the positive effects on property values and recreational value of the lake.Read More
Modelling for Sustainable Development: New decisions for a new age
This book provides a detailed overview of models used in designing projects and policies that integrate sustainable development considerations and objectives.Read More