IIED launches new 'Insights' series linking business and sustainability

IIED has today released the first in a new series that will deliver practical evidence and strategic insights to support businesses and investors as they address environment and development challenges.

News, 02 October 2019
Insights: linking business and sustainability
A series of articles helping businesses and investors address development and environment challenges
A shoal of fish

The first 'Insights' examines models for investment in marine protected areas (Photo: Philip Hamilton/Blue finance)

IIED's new series of 'Insights' is aimed at bringing together business, investors and civil society to work on effective sustainable development solutions.

The Insights will explore a variety of current environmental and development challenges and examine practical ways that business and investors can contribute.

Supporting positive change

Laura Kelly, director of IIED’s Shaping Sustainable Markets research group, says IIED aims to support business to deliver positive change. She says: "The increase in interest in finance and business helping to address the environmental and social crises is very timely – but how do we ensure that these efforts have real impacts and reach the poorest?"

She says: "These Insights aim to draw on our experience of working with communities on issues from climate change to food systems to analyse how business and investors can better address sustainability and demonstrate they’re taking it seriously."

Supporting investment for impact

The first Insights is focused on impact investment and marine conservation. Impact investment aims to generate positive social and environmental outcomes alongside financial gains. It is a huge and growing sector, estimated to be worth more than US$500 billion. 

It is being launched to coincide with a major event in the global impact investment calendar, the 2019 Impact Investor Forum. This event, organised by the Global Impact Investing Network takes place in Amsterdam on 2-3 October 2019 and is the world's largest gathering of impact investment professionals.

'Navigating ocean investments' examines a business model that could spur impact investment in marine conservation areas. Currently the expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs) – vital reserves safeguarding marine biodiversity and supporting livelihoods – is limited by available finance. The publication identifies the main challenges to investing in marine reserves and suggests a model for investors: collaborative management arrangements. 

Researchers have found that collaboratively managed MPAs are financially sustainable and can help redistribute the financial burden faced by governments and attract long-term economic and technical support. By providing and detailed evidence, the brief offers investors a pathway for creating positive outcomes.

A shoal of fishDownload the full Insights publication: 'Navigating ocean investments: how collaborative management can fill the marine conservation funding gap', Laura Kelly, Annabelle Bladon (2019), IIED briefing

Future work

Future Insights will look at models for financing energy access in developing countries and how to promote sustainable food systems. 

The Insights are part of IIED's wider work to engage with business and investors and promote investment for positive change.