Terra Carta: Prince Charles launches drive to save the planet

London: It is more than 50 years since the Prince of Wales delivered his first landmark speech on the subject of the environment, warning of the dangers of plastic and pollution.

Charles has since conceded that at the time, people thought he was "dotty" but undeterred, he ploughed on, questioning why action should only be prompted by "catastrophes and chaos."

Prince Charles has launched a major initiative to raise money for environmental projects. Credit:AP

The Prince on Monday (British time) unveils his biggest environmental initiative to date, an ambitious Magna Carta-style charter that marks the culmination of his five decades of work.

The Terra Carta will encourage the private sector to safeguard the planet by adopting sustainability and investing $US10 billion ($13 billion) in "natural capital".

It aims to bring sustainability to the heart of industries such as aviation, shipping and urban development.

In its name, Charles leaves little doubt as to his ambitions for the scope and scale of the project.

In the foreword to the 18-page document, he writes: "If we consider the legacy of our generation, more than 800 years ago, Magna Carta inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. As we strive to imagine the next 800 years of human progress, the fundamental rights and value of nature must represent a step-change in our 'future of industry' and 'future of economy' approach."

The charter contains 10 action points and 85 recommendations for businesses to move towards a greener future within the next decade.

Charles will make an "urgent appeal" to business leaders to sign up to the Terra Carta, which gives fundamental rights and value to nature.

It comes at a pivotal moment, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced governments, and the private and public sectors to re-examine practices and relationship with the planet.

Among early signatories are Heathrow Airport, Coutts, Bank of America, HSBC and AstraZeneca.

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

It will encourage the private sector to earmark new funding for "natural capital" projects such as landscape restoration, reforestation and carbon offsetting.

"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."

Brian Moynihan, chief executive of Bank of America, said: "The Terra Carta is a comprehensive road map for the private sector to help drive toward a sustainable future.

"The private sector can marshal the resources that will be needed to reach the climate, biodiversity and development goals."

He added that the Prince's "leadership and commitment has created a spirit of possibility that business leaders are proud to join".

Over the past 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.

In a statement released ahead of the announcement, Charles said: "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."

The Telegraph, London

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