FAST-Infra: Promoting sustainable growth through common standards on sustainability

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(FAST-Infra)—is pushing for collective action to mobilize private finance and de-risk investments in sustainable infrastructure
FAST-Infra is pushing for collective action to mobilize private finance and de-risk investments in sustainable infrastructure | © kkssr, Shutterstock

Much of the infrastructure built in the last century—which people need to thrive: energy, transportation, sanitation, hospitals, and schools—has been significantly carbon intensive. And the world needs much more infrastructure in the coming years as the population expands, urbanization increases, and the ambitions of people to improve their livelihoods grow. In the face of an intensifying climate crisis, unless we quickly develop ways to deliver a new generation of infrastructure that is sustainable, it will be impossible to meet our national and global decarbonization goals in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement commitments.

Public budgets alone remain insufficient to close a sustainable infrastructure investment gap estimated to be in excess of $3 trillion a year over the next 10 years, particularly in developing countries where infrastructure deficits are particularly staggering. And while investors see significant upside opportunity presented by sustainable and low-carbon investments, the supply of bankable infrastructure projects that are genuinely sustainable remains inadequate and insufficient to achieve the scale necessary to truly the move the needle on this issue.

FAST-Infra: —the ‘Finance to Accelerate the Sustainable Transition-Infrastructure initiative

Recognizing the need to crowd-in more private investment into sustainable infrastructure, the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) has collaborated with the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), HSBC, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on a joint venture called FAST-Infra—the ‘Finance to Accelerate the Sustainable Transition-Infrastructure initiative. Developed in early 2020 under the auspices of French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Lab, FAST-Infra is a public-private initiative bringing more than 50 organizations together to push for collective action to mobilize private finance and de-risk investments in sustainable infrastructure in developing countries. 

As part of this initiative, GIF co-chairs a working group with Macquarie Green Investment Group on a key component of FAST-Infra—the creation of a consistent, globally applicable labeling system for sustainable infrastructure assets. The Sustainable Infrastructure Label (SI Label) is meant to add value across the infrastructure lifecycle—serving as a tool to inform upstream project planning, prioritization, and design.  It will also send clear market signals further downstream post-construction to help investors align their decisions with environmental, social, resiliency, and governance needs. The label certification aims to increase financing potential and motivate governments to design more projects with sustainability criteria at their core—encouraging developers to maintain high environmental, social, and resiliency standards at all stages of the infrastructure lifecycle.

"A key motivation behind the SI Label is not to reinvent the wheel, but rather build on existing standards, frameworks, and taxonomies to create a comprehensive framework and set of sustainability criteria that takes into account best practices and evolves with changes in the market."

While this might seem like a simple curation exercise, the final product will be the first-of-its-kind framework that provides holistic, actionable guidance at the asset level of key sustainable considerations for infrastructure.

Next steps in the FAST-Infra journey

After many months of refinement and consultation among FAST-Infra members, the SI Label has reached an exciting milestone—the creation of the overall framework and underlying set of sustainability criteria that will guide the SI Label process. Each criterion is further described by reference to existing standards and associated with a series of key performance indicators and methodologies.

While getting to this point has been the product of contributions from the FAST-Infra working group, we know that the more voices we have, the more we can work together to solve sustainable infrastructure finance challenges and make this initiative a success.  Therefore, we’ve opened the SI Label Framework and Criteria for public consultation through August 31, 2021. The inputs from this consultation will help us further refine the SI Label Framework and build momentum ahead of COP26 this November. In parallel, we have issued a call for Expressions of Interest also through August 31, 2021, to provide support for the SI Label’s Secretariat and Data Reporting Function—key components that will allow for the longevity of this label for COP26 and beyond.

Creating a sustainable future cannot be done alone—it will require the joint action of stakeholders across the public and private sectors.  Initiatives like FAST-Infra demonstrate the power of partnerships and offer a viable pathway to close the infrastructure investment gap and promote sustainable, inclusive growth.

We hope that you will be a part of this journey with us and offer your voice in enacting lasting change.

What action do you need to take?

Public Consultation

Expression of Interest

  • Please submit a document of no more than five pages (plus additional annexes as required) to [email protected] outlining the fulfillment of requirements of this call for your motivation to become a partner of the FAST-Infra SI Label and outline of proposals to establish and maintain the Secretariat and Data Reporting Platform.
     

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This blog is managed by the Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Group of the World Bank. Learn more about our work here.

Authors

Towfiqua Hoque

Senior Investment Officer, IFC/Global Infrastructure Facility

Carmel Lev

Strategy, Knowledge & Partnerships Consultant, Global Infrastructure Facility

Join the Conversation

Babajide Soyode
August 25, 2021

We at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering will be much interested in this Initiative as a Technological Stakeholder in Nigeria.

Hossein Nourzad
August 25, 2021

This is a fantastic initiative. In our Smart-In research lab, we have spent a few years working on sustainable infrastructure. We will do our best to send our feedback by its due date.

Muhammad saminu
August 25, 2021

Thank to world Bank

Simon Bityong
August 25, 2021

Very good policy but can you work the talk?

SAMUEL BOCKARIE KARTEWU
August 25, 2021

I'm a Microfinance Finance practitioner based in Sierra Leone for over seventeen years of experience in the field.
My country has been grappling of late on the issues of public -private partnership initiative in our development stripes. The Public had been used to donor assistant and sometimes grants that we often received from our development partners. But when the new government came in, led by President Bio,he is gradually succeeding in changing that narrative by undertaking major infrastraturer through the Public - Private partnership initiative. Our main airport terminal building is one major typical example to the deal that was struck off between our government and a Turkish company. I think this the drive that most developing countries should adopt in other to meet their development aspirations .

Chaluma kicha
August 25, 2021

The best venture to develop jointly

Omary rwegsila buyuya
August 25, 2021

I need this post to translate in Kiswahili

Dr. Prosenjit Bose
August 25, 2021

Absolutely helpful and scientific research for development.

Taiwo. AkinmolayanFS
August 25, 2021

The fast lnfra is a good towards development of sustainability.

Robert Adupa
August 25, 2021

Great team. I want to joint as I am a consultant in livelihoods and food security

Abubakar Hussein
August 25, 2021

Financing fast infrastructure will go along way by the world bank in addressing the desired global impact due resent decay in global climate change dislocations occasioned by disasters and

Hussein Mubarak
September 02, 2021

Investment in infrastructure is not the best way to achieve sustainable development goals.
This investment leads to more capital accumulation by the rich class, the top 10% of society, while the poor and middle classes are still struggling to live and earn a living.
There are many developing countries that have spent huge amounts of money on infrastructure development, which has led to more inequality and more poverty.
This is mainly due to the failure of macroeconomic policies and the absence of an progressive tax system, so the result will be more conflict between the rich and poor classes, and the goals of sustainable development will never be achieved.

Taiye Akinmolayan
October 12, 2021

Infrastructure development is one of the inputs needed for sustainable development.Care must be taken in implementing it.Could also lead to costs and urban congestion.