The Prince of Wales has evoked the history of the Magna Carta for the health of the planet and people.
He wrote in the foreword of the Terra Carta for Nature, People, and Planet report:
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. With this in mind, Nature, of which we are an integral part, lies at the heart of the ‘Terra Carta.’
Prince Charles launched the Terra Carta – the Earth charter – which urges businesses to invest in sustainability and asks signatories to agree to nearly 100 actions to become more sustainable by 2030. He said:
I am calling on CEOs from around the world to engage and play their part in leading the global transition.
The voluntary commitments listed in the Terra Carta’s statement of intent include supporting international climate, biodiversity, and desertification agreements, make financial flows and investments consistent with a future of low greenhouse gas emissions, and backing efforts to protect 50% of the planet by 2050.
Prince Charles continued:
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 the 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 can mobilize the innovation, scale, and resources that are required to transform our global economy.
Many companies (like Bank of America, BlackRock, and HSBC) support the launch of the Terra Carta already. Some signatories are big financiers or investors of the fossil fuel industry and other sectors linked to biodiversity loss. The fact that they’re committing reveals intent to transition to a low-carbon future that supports biodiversity restoration.
In the Terra Carta foreword, Prince Charles also wrote about the importance of mainstreaming sustainability throughout all aspects of the global economy. He said:
The interdependence between human health and planetary health has never been more clear. As we start a new decade, it is time to focus on the future we wish to build and indeed leave for generations to come. Humanity has made incredible progress over the past century, yet the cost of this progress has caused immense destruction to the planet that sustains us. We simply cannot maintain this course indefinitely.
The Prince launched the charter one week before the One Planet summit in Paris intentionally to attract more backers interested in investing in nature. He points out how the Natural Capital Investment Alliance is looking to raise $10bn (£7bn) by 2022. The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chinese vice premier, Han Zheng, will address the summit.