Prince of Wales launches unprecedented drive to ‘put nature at the heart of big business’ 

The Prince of Wales will launch an unprecedented drive to “put nature at the heart of big business” as he warns the climate is at a “tipping point”.

On Monday 11 January he will unveil an ambitious roadmap for the private sector called the Terra Carta – or Earth Treaty – his biggest environmental initiative to date.

It includes a call for a $10bn investment in the natural environment within a year.

The charter is described as a “recovery plan” designed to “lead the transition towards a more sustainable future” and has already been backed by companies including BP, HSBC and Unilever.

For the Prince, it marks the culmination of 50 years of work on sustainability and is set to become his primary focus, aside from matters of state.

It contains ten action points and 85 recommendations for businesses to move towards a greener future within the next decade.

As the Prince announces the treaty, he will warn that “goals and targets” are only a first step and that to force change requires a much bolder, more practical move.

“It is this which will determine whether or not our children and grandchildren look back on a series of broken promises or, instead, reflect on a tipping point at which the world shifted to a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous trajectory,” he will say.

The Prince, speaking virtually at the One Planet Summit in Paris, will appeal to private sector leaders around the world to support the Terra Carta, which he hopes will bring sustainability to the heart of industries such as aviation, shipping and urban development.

Among other early signatories are Heathrow Airport, Blackrock, Coutts and Bank of America. 

The treaty is part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative that the Prince launched last January as a forum to encourage business to operate with greener principles.

It will act in parallel to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, UN climate actions to which the private sector is not accountable.

One of its actions is designed to encourage the private sector to earmark new funding for “natural capital” projects such as landscape restoration, reforestation and carbon offsetting.

The Natural Capital Investors Alliance aims to plough $10 billion into such projects by 2022.

The Prince has said that “investing in nature as the true economy” offers an opportunity to reinvigorate sustainable industries.

“For the Prince, the Terra Carta represents the absolute essence of a recovery plan,” a royal source said.

“It has been designed by the private sector, for the private sector and he believes it will be the catalyst for the biggest changes in our future development.”

Prince Charles: a life of environmentalism

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, said: “The Terra Carta is a comprehensive roadmap for the private sector to help drive toward a sustainable future.  

“By integrating sustainability into our operating models the private sector can marshal the resources that will be needed to reach the climate, biodiversity and development goals.”

He added: “HRH Prince of Wales’s leadership and commitment has created a spirit of possibility that business leaders are proud to join.”   

The name of the treaty emerged from group discussions but a source said the Prince “liked the echo” from the Magna Carta.

Over the last year, the heir to the throne has convened almost 100 meetings with leaders from key industries, as well as governments, philanthropists and investors, enabling him to identify “key themes” that collectively, they believe can make a real difference.

The 18-page document, printed in green ink, was designed by Sir Jony Ive, the former Apple design chief.

Terra Carta's ten articles

In the foreword, the Prince states that for nearly every problem we face, nature has already provided solutions. But he warns that “time is fast running out and we are rapidly wiping out” species that could form the basis of innovative and sustainable products for the future. 

The Prince will say: “Today, I am making an urgent appeal to leaders, from all sectors and from around the world…to give their support to this ‘Terra Carta’ – to bring prosperity into harmony with nature, people and planet over the coming decade. 

“I can only encourage, in particular, those in industry and finance to provide practical leadership to this common project, as only they are able to mobilise the innovation, scale and resources that are required to transform our global economy.

“Sustainability is a choice. If we make it a part of our core values it will define our purpose, determine our choices and drive our actions. 

“Whether as a business, an investor, an asset owner, or as a country, let us choose to make sustainability a core value so that, together, we can build the sustainable and prosperous future our children and grandchildren deserve.”

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