Dr Aled Jones, director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge UK, has been invited to join an initiative spearheaded by former US president Bill Clinton designed to win more business cash for global low carbon initiatives.Dr Jones, who has been appointed a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer, will give a lecture on Friday, December 14 to the influential Club de Madrid, whose members include Clinton and which focuses on financing climate change solutions in developing countries.
Club de Madrid is a group of more than 90 democratic former Heads of State and Government from across the world – at their annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.
His speech, in President Clinton’s home town, will set out the objectives for a new taskforce aimed at supporting the role of private sector finance, particularly sovereign wealth and pension funds, in generating low carbon, sustainable growth in developing countries.
The taskforce – to serve as an action group to mobilise political will across the world – forms part of the Little Rock Accord, which is expected to be signed during the conference.
Pension funds are considered a prime source of potential investment because their long-term horizons are ideal for investing early in the companies and projects that will produce profitable solutions.
This finance can be used to address shortages of key resources needed for development including energy, water, food, clean air and medical services.
Dr Jones said: “We will be talking about how to get more urgency into climate change solution investments across the world and how to engage both private and public sector in this. The plan is for the Club de Madrid to sign a declaration in Little Rock and make this one of their priorities over the next couple of years.
“The taskforce will work to build an acceptance that early and ambitious action to create these innovative financing tools will be cost effective, create jobs, drive economic growth, and provide good returns on investments.
“President Clinton, who is hosting the conference, is a vocal supporter of the need for new financing solutions, and his Clinton Climate Initiative has already been working on many of these issues, particularly in India.”
In addition to President Clinton, numerous other Club de Madrid members are heavily involved in climate change and sustainable development issues, including Gro Harlem Brundtland (Prime Minister of Norway, 1986-1989 and 1990‐1996) who is a UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, a Member of the UN Secretary General’s High‐level Panel on Global Sustainability and Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Dr Jones previously ran the P8 Group of pension funds (growing into the P80 Group) through his work with the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership.
As well as heading up Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, Dr Jones also chairs a working group on climate finance within the Capital Markets Climate Initiative on behalf of Greg Barker, the Minister for Climate Change in the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The Global Sustainability Institute’s core research is focused around personal motivations and systems change, set against the challenges of sustainability.
The ‘system’ is the political, financial, industrial and social frameworks that contribute to challenges we face and lock us into future pathways. These may be environmental challenges, such as climate change, natural capital challenges, such as resource limits, or social challenges, such as local and global inequity.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Aled Jones