More than green shoots

June 8, 2009

MacroScope is pleased to post the following from guest blogger Stewart Armer. Stewart is head of socially responsible investing at Fortis Investments. He outlines here how huge stimulus plans could boost sustainable economic development. His team blogs on this issue at SRI Blog.

While we are still debating if the worst is over, it has become clear that economic crisis has turned into an opportunity for sustainable economic development.

Our recent analysis of the fiscal stimulus packages of G-20 countries shows that almost half of the announced spending will be spent on the environment and social sectors.  The major recipients include healthcare ($333 billion), sustainable transport ($209 billion), education ($151 billion), social housing ($95 billion), clean and efficient energy ($84 billion), and clean water and air ($68 billion).

This $1 trillion spending effort is already being recognised as a global “Green New Deal”. The original “New Deal” in the 1930s was about more than fiscal stimulus –- the U.S. government asserted itself as a positive agent in the marketplace and concepts of social welfare were given new prominence.

Echoing this historic turning point, unparalleled spending efforts are now coinciding with demand for change. Over the past decade, the understanding of sustainability and the associated technological platforms has gradually matured. Boosted by stimulus funding, promising concepts can now be rolled out on an unprecedented scale. This marks a step change in sustainable development.

Until now, efforts to promote sustainable development have largely been focused on developing policies and regulatory infrastructure with little financial backing. The stimulus packages mark a radical change: never before have funds been made available on such a scale globally to boost sustainable development.


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Unless governments are willing to allocate sizable resources and legislation to require sustainable development the existing market forces will not move civilization to sustainable green energy infrastructure.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Nice concise analysis. Let’s just hope the money is put to proper use and not to pay committies and consultants huge salaries to not make good on their promises. We need to do some about water efficiency ASAP!

Posted by Marcus | Report as abusive