18 November 2013 #Clarkslegal
Michael Sippitt, Chairman of Clarkslegal and the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP), explained the opportunities the CEIP creates, at the launch of the Sri Lanka hub held at Colombo Courtyard, on Thursday 14th November, 2013:
“In March this year, during Commonwealth Week, the CEIP was launched in London. It is an alliance between the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Forbury Investment Network, associated with UK law firm Clarkslegal of which I am also Chairman. The CEIP is managed in London by Forbury, and it has affiliated hubs in other countries connecting with London and each other to share trade and investment opportunities in the environmental goods and services sector for the benefit of the Commonwealth and of course our planet.
We have so far established hubs in Canada, London, Wales, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa (in both Cape Town and Durban), the Seychelles, and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka hub will also cover the Maldives, and is operated by Motha Capital Investments, part of GE Group. The MCI team leading this hub are:
Our objective is to build hubs in as many Commonwealth countries as possible, to create a truly global community of business interest in the environment, making best possible use of the deep connections and trade advantages of the Commonwealth. Such advantages include our historic business and cultural ties, our common language and our legal frameworks which facilitate business.
The hubs will link businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in their national markets but also across Commonwealth member nations, and indeed other countries who wish to engage with the Commonwealth for trade and investment.
The CEIP is a unique Commonwealth network of networks to enable enterprise and entrepreneurship for the environment. These are our virtuous three E`s:
Thus we are focused on mobilising enterprise to work for the good of our environment. However much governments of our world may aspire to address the huge environmental and climate challenges of this century, which we applaud and appreciate, it is ultimately for enterprise to progressively make our planet sustainable.
We are all stakeholders in the future of the Earth. Indeed we are all custodians of the Earth for all nature, all species, and future generations. This trusteeship very much includes the obligations of businesses large and small to play their part and indeed to benefit from becoming more sustainable.
We are very pleased that this year the very important theme of the Commonwealth announced in March is "Opportunity through Enterprise".
We at the CEIP see the promotion of trade and investment as crucial for the sustainable development of all nations of the Commonwealth, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs, young people, growing businesses and investors. Trade and investment on a sustainable basis will create jobs, accelerate low carbon economic growth, and enable enterprise to play its crucial role in safeguarding our environment for future generations. All human progress has developed from the exchange of trade, ideas and innovations.
The Commonwealth Platform we have launched is an ideal way to nurture all these ingredients of progress for mutual wealth of member nations, especially those who are vulnerable to climate change, resource scarcity and sea level rise who benefit from sharing their needs and their investment opportunities through the collective voice the Commonwealth can provide.
We particularly focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and the sharing of technologies that address the challenges of how to make energy available and affordable, to manage our fast growing cities sustainably as good environments for their citizens, to solve our enormous challenges of managing water resources, transport, waste, pollution and energy efficient buildings.
To this end we have also launched recently in Cardiff, Wales jointly with the Council of that city, an initiative through the CEIP and the Royal Commonwealth Society to establish city links within the Commonwealth to share experience, innovation, procurement expertise, technical knowhow, and strategic thinking to enable cities to benefit from the learning of others and not to reinvent the wheel. The CEIP held a conference in Cardiff with 150 delegates meeting to hear from CEIP hubs and other technical experts how the world is addressing the sustainability of our cities, which by mid - century will be home to over 70% of humanity.
It is our privilege to have the vast network of the Commonwealth to address our global needs, a network created in the last century ideally suited for the needs of the 21st Century, and a very under-used asset we must make far better use of for enterprise and mutual wealth. It is a Commonwealth of 53 nations across the globe, embracing nearly a third of humanity, and is a truly young Commonwealth having some 60% of its citizens aged under 30. It is a Commonwealth that cares for its youth and must work for their future in protecting the environment and the resources which are under such pressure.
The Commonwealth ably supports cultural and sporting links, but it is also ideally suited to serve the vital commercial interests of its member nations.
The GDP of the Commonwealth now exceeds that of the Eurozone, and a number of its member nations are among the fastest growing in the world.
I see the Commonwealth as a huge deeply rooted tree, an ancient symbol throughout much of the world of interconnectedness. The CEIP is a new branch on a limb of this capacious tree, where so much goes on in, round and under its broad canopy. It is our task to care for and enjoy that tree, to realise we are all connected, we are part of one Commonwealth family, and we can do much better working together than alone. The Commonwealth is arguably the best and most deeply established international network, it would be a grave error to neglect to use it well. Let us not make that mistake.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen acknowledging the first project for the CEIP.
(Left to right): Michael Sippitt, Chairman, The Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform; Roshan Motha, Director, Motha Capital Investment; Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Rohantha Athukorala, Head of National Portfolio Development Sri Lanka and Maldives, UNOPS; Mahendra Jayalath, Owner, EnergySolve International.
This CHOGM in Sri Lanka is for the CEIP not a culmination of planning but the beginning of a journey, as one legacy of CHOGM in this beautiful land.
Sri Lanka is well poised for the CEIP, having a vast renewable energy resource base, due to its geo-climatic conditions, and its renewable energy development will build indigenous knowledge, technology and capacity. This therefore provides sound economic opportunities, especially for local enterprises such as our own hub operators Motha Capital Investments, and the businesses and investors here with which they will engage, in the needed sustainable development of energy resources, conversion facilities, and delivery systems to enable access by all to affordable energy services while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
With his kind permission I should like to share with you some insightful words of the very eminent Sri Lankan jurist and academic, Judge Weeramantry, who served as a judge and Vice President of the International Court of Justice, concerning our shared responsibility for the environment.
In his book "Tread Lightly on the Earth" Judge Weeramantry writes:
"...the environment has in the past century been subject to human interference and future generations are being subject to potential damage at an exponentially increasing rate. Another generation of such exponential increase will render uninhabitable the planet which has supported humanity for thousands of generations in the past. The present generation thus carries on its shoulders an awesome responsibility, the like of which has never been borne by any generation since the human race began."
We at the CEIP recognize that the ingenuity of humanity has led to many of the problems of climate change we now face, but the same ingenuity can produce solutions to these problems, utilising corporate and private wealth to invest in the technologies that give us hope that we can improve life for all our Earth. Humanity being clever has harmed the Earth, humanity being clever can heal the Earth.
I am truly delighted to be with you for the launch of this hub in Sri Lanka, and am confident that the work of promoting opportunities for enterprise for the good of our environment is in safe hands with our very experienced and energetic Sri Lanka team at Motha Capital Investments. I wish our team every success in the future as they fulfil the environmental legacy of CHOGM here in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
I cannot better the remarks of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in her Commonwealth message this year reflecting the theme of opportunity through enterprise:
“Let us think about what can be gained with a bold heart, dedication and teamwork".
I am sure she would say exactly that to the CEIP team here on Sri Lanka.”