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Stockholm initiative crowdsources law for climate action

On September 28, the winners of the global innovation contest Stockholm Treaty Lab, which crowdsources law to encourage green investments, will be celebrated at a high-level event in New York.

The winning teams will speak at a conference organized by Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment, in conjunction with the UN General Assembly. The conference seeks to elaborate principles for a progressive investment agenda. Treaty Lab founder and SCC Secretary General Annette Magnusson will also share her experience about the crowdsourcing initiative at the conference.

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The Stockholm Treaty Lab is a global innovation contest that crowdsources law to boost “green investments” globally. Launched in 2017, the Treaty Lab builds on the idea that investment law can be used to encourage foreign investment in green and sustainable technologies and services.

“Enormous investments are needed in areas like green aviation, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy. But investors hesitate because of the high risks involved, and this is where international law comes in,” says Ms Magnusson.

“Treaties that incentivize and protect investments in other areas have been in place for decades, and now it’s time to figure out how to use this tool for the benefit of our global climate. This is what the Treaty Lab challenged the teams to do,” she explains.

The innovation contest required teams to draft a model international treaty that, if adopted by states, would generate investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Through the crowdsourcing platform HeroX, the challenge was accepted by more than 20 teams from across the globe. Participants included lawyers, environmental scientists, policy advisers, entrepreneurs, climate diplomats, and experts in energy investment and sustainable finance.

In assessing each contestant team’s submission, the Treaty Lab jury considered whether the draft treaty was compatible with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and whether it had realistic potential to incentivize green investments.

The jury also assessed how each team balanced the states’ needs and interests against those of potential investors. Magnusson explains, “To be effective, a treaty must offer investors incentives and protections, and an effective enforcement mechanism. And to be viable, the treaty must appeal to the states that are to adopt it. This is a hard balance to strike.”

In the coming months, the Treaty Lab winners will present their ideas for green investment law to state representatives and policy makers at various international events, including the Paris Peace Forum instituted by French president Emmanuel Macron.

The Stockholm Treaty Lab is an initiative of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Partners include the International Bar Association, the Haga Initiative, and Stockholm Environment Institute.

In 2017, the Stockholm Treaty Lab was commended as “standout” in the Rule of Law and Access to Justice category of the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer’s Award.

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