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The Terra Carta

HRH The Prince of Wales announces charter that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The Terra Carta

Following his call for a ‘Marshall-like Plan for Nature, People and Planet’ during Climate Week in September 2020, HRH The Prince of Wales has unveiled the Terra Carta as part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative.

The ‘Earth Charter’ provides a roadmap to 2030 so businesses can move towards an ambitious and sustainable future: one that will harness the power of nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector. 

100 actions for businesses

Speaking at the One Planet Summit in Paris, The Prince made an urgent appeal to private sector leaders around the world to join this endeavour and to give their support to the Terra Carta.
In support of global agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement, the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Terra Carta outlines 10 areas for action and comprises nearly 100 actions for business as the basis of a recovery plan that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation.

The aim of the Terra Carta is to encourage and provide a framework for each actor to accelerate their respective transition journeys. 
The Terra Carta has been designed by Sir Jony Ive (the former chief design officer at Apple) and his new team at LoveFrom. In addition to the 17-page charter, the team created a summarium — a single page optimised for both digital and print.

‘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.

‘The ‘Terra Carta’ offers the basis of a recovery plan that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation – one that will harness the precious, irreplaceable power of Nature combined with the transformative innovation and resources of the private sector.’


Ambitious but practical action

The Terra Carta is based on a series of recommendations developed over a year of HRH convening ‘coalitions of the willing’ among global business leaders across industries in almost every sector, challenging them to identify ways to set our planet on a fundamentally more sustainable trajectory.

Together, they have developed a charter of ambitious but practical action aimed at building a truly sustainable future.
The Terra Carta further aims to unlock the catalytic potential of consumer demand, and to drive investment into solutions (nature-based and engineered) that address the climate and biodiversity crises. 
Over the next 10 years, the Terra Carta will be updated and reported on annually by HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative in order to reflect the rapid pace of change and continuous progress being achieved around the world.

Investing in natural capital

One of the actions in the Terra Carta has already been initiated. The Prince’s SMI has created a Natural Capital Investment Alliance to develop Natural Capital to help us arrive at a common language on Natural Capital Investment so that we can start putting money to work and improve the flow of capital.

This Alliance will work to actively increase capital allocation in this direction targeting $10 billion by 2022.

It will also aim to expand the flow of Natural Capital investment through corporate offsetting and carbon pricing prospects.

Founding partners of the Alliance are HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, Lombard Odier and Mirova.  

About the Terra Carta

Taking its name from the historic Magna Carta, which inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people over 800 years ago, the aim of the Terra Carta is to reunite people and planet.

It gives fundamental rights and value to nature, ensuring a lasting impact and tangible legacy for this generation. The Terra Carta is a response to HRH’s call during Climate Week, in September 2020, for a Marshall-like Plan for Nature, People and Planet.
Commitments of the Terra Carta include: 

  • Commit to rapidly accelerating the world’s transition towards a sustainable future.
  • Recognise that ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, on land and under water, requires that climate, oceans, desertification and biodiversity be treated as one common system and addressed simultaneously.
  • Acknowledge that we need to make health our goal; individual health, community health, economic health and the health of our Natural resources (e.g. soil, air and water).
  • Recognise the importance of ‘local’ – local traditions and culture, local products, local jobs and local sustainability – and how these ‘locals’ connect and support each other in the wider tapestry of regional and global systems.
  • Acknowledge that Nature underpins the inherent prosperity, wellbeing and future of all people and the one planet we share.  Further, that the restoration of the natural world is of common benefit to all humankind irrespective of borders.
  • Acknowledge that the required global trajectory is a sustainable one, where the private sector has a critical role to play.  To accelerate along this trajectory, a ‘future of industry’ and ‘future of economy’ approach must be taken.
  • Take into account the need to ensure a skilled workforce and cadre of leaders that are prepared to participate in a fair, equitable and just transition towards a sustainable future.
  • Recognise that to scale sustainable solutions and investment, cross-border and longer term ‘mega’ projects need to be explored underscoring the importance of public, private and philanthropic collaboration.
  • Acknowledge the need for net zero commitments to be achieved by 2050 or sooner.  Setting more ambitious timelines, such as 2035, emphasises and catalyses immediate action, continuous innovation and improvement.
  • Undertake to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas to propel the world towards sustainability at a faster pace through public, private and philanthropic collaboration.

In targeting a global private sector and multi-industry audience, not all actions of the Terra Carta will apply equally to all industries, businesses or investors. 

At the same time, to reach a sustainable future, the systems-level shift required relies on the leadership, resources and interdependence of knowledge and ideas to propel the world towards sustainability at a faster pace through private, public and philanthropic collaboration. 
Initial Supporters of the Terra Carta include: AstraZeneca, Unilever, BlackRock, Fidelity International, Bank of America, freuds, Sir Jony Ive/LoveFrom, Refinitiv, State Street Corporation, Manyone, Heathrow Airport, Coutts, IIGCC, Schroders, EY, BP, Signify, State Street, Pollination, Lombard Odier, Mirova, Drax Group, Eurasia Resources Group, EFI, Compass Group, ReNew Power, Polymateria, CCm Technologies, Lanzatech.

‘The Terra Carta is a comprehensive roadmap for the private sector to help drive toward a sustainable future.  By integrating sustainability into our operating models the private sector can marshal the resources that will be needed to reach the climate, biodiversity and development goals.  HRH Prince of Wales’s leadership and commitment has created a spirit of possibility that business leaders are proud to join.’

Chairman and CEO Bank of America and founding partner of SMI

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