Mark Burrows of Credit Suisse: “The future is sustainable development and landscapes”

Landscapes News
21 June 2016

Managing Director & Vice Chairman of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse, Mark Burrows, speaks on the sidelines of the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case, held on 6 June 2016 in London.

A Q&A with Mark Burrows, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse

Why invest in sustainable landscapes?

Well, as I’ve said several times, the future is sustainable development, and is landscapes. And frankly, that’s going to be a 5 to 7 trillion-dollar investment space within 10 to 15 years. Every bank, every institutional investor, is now turning its attention to this space.

What is driving green investment?

I don’t think ‘green’ is a term of risk anymore. ‘Green’ is a term of necessity. You know, the fact that all those countries signed up [to the Paris Agreement], the fact that we’ve got fossil fuel people talking about what happens to them in 15 years’ time, you know, the fact that the climate deniers are now off the landscape, the fact that we can get a good return, an acceptable return, out of green bonds. The fact that the money is there, the fact that we’re in a low-interest-rate environment. All these things play to the point.

What is the biggest challenge?

How do we get this large bulk of money that’s available looking for a return to trickle down into the people to whom it affects, that’s the smallholders, the small palm oil producer, the person who lives in the Indonesian forest.

How do we deal with the people that are part and parcel of the landscape in an equitable way to deal with the responsibility that they have to their family, the responsibility they have to their environment, the responsibility that they have to the wider community? That’s the problem: how do we deal with this at scale? And I think that’s the challenge everywhere.

What is the role of the Global Landscapes Forum?

You’ve got government attention now in terms of what you’re doing, you’re actually raising the debate, and you’re trying to actually set up people to work together in terms of solving some of these problems, particularly the micro-problems. And I have to tell you that problems are not solved just by today. Problems are solved by the people continuing a dialogue in terms of what happens from today.

I think what I’m looking for today is a sense of real momentum. Because like in every issue where you’re dealing with change, momentum is really what drives a result.

The Forum brought together experts from the financial services industry with leaders from the corporate sector, government and academia to take investments into sustainable landscapes to the next level. This second edition of the event offered a unique platform for experts to explore the role of private finance in enhancing livelihoods and landscapes across the globe.

For more information on the Forum, click here.

To learn more about CIFOR, click here.