Charles calls on private sector to sign up to his charter to protect the planet


The Prince of Wales is to launch an ambitious Magna Carta-style charter to encourage the private sector to safeguard the planet by adopting sustainability and invest 10 billion dollars (£7.3 billion) in “natural capital”.

At a global environmental summit, Charles will urge industry and business leaders to sign up to his 10-year project that puts “nature, people and planet at the heart of global value creation”.

Called Terra Carta, or Earth Charter, the initiative has parallels with the Magna Carta – the touchstone for human rights and modern democracy – and aims to lay out a “recovery plan” towards sustainability that gives fundamental rights and value to nature.

Charles, pictured releasing a turtle into the sea in Malta, has been a life-long environmentalist. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Charles, pictured releasing a turtle into the sea in Malta, has been a life-long environmentalist. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Sir Jony Ive, credited with designing some of the best loved gadgets of the modern age including Apple’s iPhone, iPod, and iPad, has designed the layout of the charter document.

In his foreword to the Terra Carta, the prince 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.”

Charles will launch his project on Monday at the One Planet Summit, being staged in Paris, when he is expected to tell delegates “…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.”

France, with the @UN and the @WorldBank, will host on Monday a @OnePlanetSummit for biodiversity on Monday.

One goal: to raise the international community's level of ambition for the protection of nature.

Follow live on our social networks.

— One Planet Summit (@oneplanetsummit) January 10, 2021

Speaking virtually the prince will say: “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.”

Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative – launched last year to help accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future – created the charter and a Natural Capital Investment Alliance.

The Alliance aims to encourage 10 billion dollars worth of commitments from founding Terra Carta supporters by 2022, which will be invested in companies and projects providing solutions to preserve and restore natural capital – renewable and non-renewable resources like clean air and water and fertile soils.

Initiatives could include reforestation or landscape restoration, as a means to reduce emissions, restore biodiversity, and boost sustainable economic growth and job creation.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall come face to face with giant tortoises at the Galapagos National Park
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall come face to face with giant tortoises at the Galapagos National Park

Organisations supporting the project include Bank of America, AstraZeneca, HSBC, Heathrow Airport and BP.

The prince will go on to say: “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.”

Charles will highlight how nations have mobilised to combat coronavirus as an example of what can be achieved if there is a will.

The charter features almost 100 recommendations for the private sector that have been drawn from the business world following months of discussions, convened by the prince, with leaders from industry, governments, the investor community and philanthropy.

Charles’ project is the culmination of 50 years of campaigning in support of the environment and comes at a pivotal moment with the pandemic forcing governments and the private and public sectors to re-examine their practices and relationship with the planet.

During Monday morning Charles will virtually co-host a One Planet Summit discussion on green investments with France’s President Emmanuel Macron – who held a telephone meeting with the prince on Friday evening.

In the afternoon the heir to the throne will attend another virtual session when he will give a speech to launch his Terra Carta.

A video has been released of Charles describing his new project and the stark choices humanity faces.

In the footage he says: “But time is fast running out and we are rapidly wiping out, through mass extinctions, many of nature’s unique treasure trove of species, from which we can develop innovative and sustainable products for the future.

“Timelines for change must be brought forward if we are to make a transformative shift by the end of the decade, and before it is quite literally too late.”