Can the attraction of Foreign Investment and sustainability work in the same space?
The attraction of Foreign Investment and sustainability
In the past, it was almost unthinkable that business or foreign investment and sustainability could have some relationship or even produce economic growth if they co-existed. But over the years and with the arrival of COVID-19, we are seeing a change in consumption and greater awareness, creating a new scenario in which both business and sustainability are needed by each other.
Thanks to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), created in 2015, there is a more comprehensive and cross-cutting agenda, that has made it possible to align political, economic and business activities to find greater well-being for society, increase levels of equity, social justice, institutional commitment and a better relationship with the environment.
But to have an optimal achievement of the SDGs it is important to create synergies and unify the efforts of all actors in society.
For this reason, investment promotion agencies play a key role in focusing on efforts such as the promotion, facilitation and retention of investment in projects that aim to achieve the SDGs and the post-COVID-19 reconstruction process.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) argues that investment promotion agencies "integrated at the local level" can be critical to identify sustainable development projects at the city level, develop proposals for financing initiatives, promote projects that have a major impact on sustainability, and help find appropriate financial arrangements (including public-private partnerships, APP), for funding.
Besides, it is important not to see infrastructure projects, as the only ones that manage to impact different sectors such as health and/or education, but also to see that projects from all the different sectors have "sustainable FDI" as well, so that this investment is able to exceed social and human rights standards and environmental evaluations, of both their home economy and the new host economy that receives them.
This is why more investment promotion agencies over the world must focus their strategies on identifying and creating sustainable portfolios that will allow foreign companies see the approach the city is taking and the potential growth of their companies in the foreign city, as well as to guarantee the conditions of the environment and investment climate that will allow them position their territories as attractive destinations for these types of projects.