Banks can help to turn the tide in the battle against climate breakdown by investing more in nature, the Duke of Cambridge has said.
Prince William told a joint International Monetary Fund and World Bank event on the climate emergency that there needed to be a marked stepping-up of investment in projects such as reforestation and cleaner oceans.
At a time when commercial banks have been coming under increasing pressure from campaigners to green their lending practices, the duke said the Washington-based World Bank should set an example.
“All of you here at the World Bank and across each of the multilateral development banks have that crucial part to play by supporting a green, inclusive and resilient recovery from the pandemic, by valuing nature and putting it at the heart of your work, and by increasing investment in a future where the natural world can thrive.”
The IMF and the World Bank have used their virtual spring meetings this week to call for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, urging rich countries to help finance the transition to a zero-carbon future for developing nations.
The IMF’s main policy body – the international monetary and financial committee – said in its communique that it was committed “strongly to addressing climate change through measures to accelerate the transitions to greener societies and job-rich economies, while protecting those adversely affected”.
The duke, who has joined his father, Prince Charles, in campaigning on environmental issues, said investing in nature accounted for only a “fraction of the money that is spent on the fight against climate change”.
He added: “We cannot recover sustainably from coronavirus, eradicate global poverty, achieve net-zero emissions or adapt to climate change without investing in nature.
“We must invest in nature, through reforestation, sustainable agriculture and supporting healthy oceans … because doing so is one of the most cost-effective and impactful ways of tackling climate change.
“It removes carbon from the atmosphere, helps build more resilient communities, tackles biodiversity loss, and protects people’s livelihoods.”