IISD defines sustainable infrastructure as assets that:
- Lower carbon and environmental footprints
- Conserve natural ecosystems and biodiversity
- Optimize the use of nature-based infrastructure
- Move beyond compliance on core labour and human rights standards
- Trigger technological and industrial innovation across value chains
- Spur investment in education, skill building, and R&D
- Increase long-term employment
- Are financially viable
- Crowd in domestic investors and businesses
- Increase opportunities for foreign direct investment
- Optimize value for money for taxpayers and investors across the asset life cycle
Infrastructure investment is a powerful driver of economic activity. Done right, it holds enormous potential for alleviating poverty, improving access to basic services, creating employment and business, and ultimately contributing to the well-being of people and the planet.
Emerging markets and developing economies need vast investments for new infrastructure to spur growth. At the same time, advanced economies need equally large amounts to replace or upgrade ageing public assets.
IISD provides research and advisory services on infrastructure and project finance. We help policy-makers and their many stakeholders appreciate the technical dynamics of investing in both large and small projects and help develop their skills in managing project and infrastructure finance.
IISD also focuses on natural infrastructure, defined as an area or system that is either naturally occurring or naturalized and then intentionally managed to provide multiple benefits or "ecosystem services" for the environment and human well-being.
We are working to advance the conversation around implementing and financing natural infrastructure in Canada and around the world.
Learn more about sustainable infrastructure
The Nature-Based Infrastructure Global Resource Centre
The leading global hub for nature-based infrastructure (NBI). Together, we can help build a better, fairer, and more sustainable future through NBI projects.
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi)
A simulation tool to calculate the costs of risks and externalities, SAVi is built on systems dynamics and project finance models customized to projects, portfolios and policies.
Sustainable Asset Valuation of Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in South Africa
This report presents the results of a Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) assessment for wastewater treatment infrastructure in South Africa
Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Tree Planting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This report presents the results of a Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) assessment for tree planting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tokenization of Infrastructure: A blockchain-based solution to financing sustainable infrastructure
This report presents how tokenization can address some of the fundamental challenges of financing sustainable infrastructure projects.
Credit Enhancement for Sustainable Infrastructure
The paper identifies the demand and supply-side barriers for upscaling credit enhancement solutions for sustainable infrastructure projects.
Learn more about natural infrastructure
Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions (NIWS)
Put simply, it’s about looking after nature, so nature can look after us.
Nature-based solutions—solutions that involve working with nature to address societal challenges—have gained momentum as a tool that can deliver multiple benefits.
Nature for Climate Adaptation Initiative
A new initiative aims to support nature-based climate action that protects livelihoods and biodiversity in the most vulnerable parts of the world.
Director, Sustainable Infrastructure
Lead, Public Procurement and Sustainable Infrastructure Policy and Coordinator of the NBI Global Resource Centre
Lead, Sustainable Finance
Policy Analyst, Sustainable Finance
Senior Project Manager
Interim Co-President and Co-CEO | Vice-President, Global Strategies and Managing Director, Europe
A Sustainable Asset Valuation of a Bus Rapid Transit System in Bandung, Indonesia
This report presents the economic valuation of a planned Bus-Rapid Transit system in Bandung, Indonesia, including investment costs, added benefits, and avoided costs.
More investment in natural infrastructure could lead to 25% more jobs and 16% growth in GDP for Prairies: New report
Natural infrastructure contributes over CAD 4 billion annually to the economy of Canada's Prairies, as well as tens of thousands of jobs. There's still room for growth: more investment can build greater resilience to droughts, floods, fires, and other severe weather impacts—many of which afflicted the region this summer—as well as increase jobs and GDP.
Natural Infrastructure and Prairie Prosperity
The natural infrastructure sector contributes billions to the Prairie-wide economy and creates jobs. More investment is needed.
IISD Annual Report 2022–2023
At IISD, we’ve been working for more than three decades to create a world where people and the planet thrive. As the climate crisis unfolds on our doorsteps and irreversible tipping points loom, our team has been focused more than ever on impact.
Consider more than just the environment when examining climate-resilient infrastructure, say experts
Ensuring Canada's infrastructure is more resilient in the face of increasing climate disasters will require reframing the issue beyond the readily apparent environmental impacts, according to an expert at a national climate adaptation research centre.
Analyzing the Systemic Impacts of Forest Landscape Restoration: The case of Viridis Terra in Peru
This Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) focuses on land restoration interventions in the Peruvian Andes and the socio-economic benefits for the community.
Ukraine's 2035 coal phase-out needs concrete plan now
By rapidly installing solar, wind, and heat pumps, Ukraine can simultaneously plug the holes in its energy supplies now, and establish the basis for a decentralized, fully renewables-based power system fit for the future.
Richard Halsey: Revised electricity infrastructure plan must admit benefits of energy storage
As the government concludes a much-delayed revision of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity infrastructure there is one technology that can offer multiple benefits to SA's struggling power system and shouldn’t be underrepresented in the new proposal—energy storage. Strategically located energy storage can help optimise the use of the existing transmission grid. While this is just one of many benefits it can provide, it is an important one for the government to factor in when deciding how much storage capacity to procure at the national level.
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