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How Big Finance Can Scale Up Sustainability

The disconnect between those developing sustainability projects and the world of traditional finance means that scaling such initiatives is not straightforward. Three steps in particular are necessary to help mobilize the trillions of dollars needed to address the ever-worsening climate crisis.

EAGLE RIVER, ALASKA – Addressing the ever-worsening climate crisis will require the largest sustained movement of capital in history. At least $100 trillion must be invested over the next 20-30 years to shift to a low-carbon economy, and $3-4 trillion of additional annual investment is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and stabilize the world’s oceans.

Mobilizing these huge sums and investing them efficiently is well within the capacity of the global economy and existing financial markets, but it will require fundamental changes to how these markets work. In particular, traditional financial institutions will need help in sourcing the right projects, simplifying the design and negotiation of transactions, and raising the capital to fund them.

Many sustainability ideas are small-scale, which partly reflects the nature of innovation, whereby ideas are developed, tested, and, if successful, eventually copied. But the disconnect between those developing sustainability projects and the world of traditional finance means that scaling such initiatives is not straightforward.

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