The environment needs more investment protection – not less

Does investment protection represent a threat against the environment? On the contrary; there is a good argument to be made that investment protection – with the support of ISDS – can be used to enhance measures to mitigate climate change.

In a recent report by Calvert Investments, Ceres and the WWF global investments in renewable energy is discussed. In the report it is shown that a large number of the world’s biggest companies invest significantly in renewable energy as it simply makes good business sense. But the report also identifies several potential obstacles to these investments. In addressing the concerns, future investment protection treaties such as TTIP could play an important role, for example by safeguarding stable and predictable environments for investments in renewable energy.

The key point is this. Investment protection treaties offer states a great potential to set the standard for environmental development. While the substantive protection is important when drafting future treaties – what should states offer in order to attract investments in the renewable sector? – ISDS plays an integral part because having neutral, third-party adjudication is an essential aspect of providing confidence and security.

The potential to use investment treaties to combat climate change is currently discussed a lot in academic circles, but so far it has failed to enter the general public discussion. Let’s help each other – and the environment – by changing this and unlocking this potential for development.