The Earth Security Initiative

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The Earth’s resources and ecosystems are being depleted at an alarming speed, with consequences already visible for humans in many areas. We now know that in crossing ecological limits, we are affecting the planet’s capacity to sustain us. The production systems on which we depend face unprecedented risks.

The Earth Security Initiative is an organization created to deal with the Earth’s ecological limits as part of a new security and risk management agenda. It engages a range of stakeholders to target the risks involved, to integrate various areas of knowledge into actionable ideas, and to cross boundaries between financial markets, industry, government and civil society to improve how these risks are managed in specific investment and policy agendas.

The ESI launched a report that places arable land at the heart of a new global security agenda. The report outlines the risks of the growing wave of investments in farmland and commodities. For investors moving into farmland, and for host governments seeking to attract investment, it argues, failing to integrate soil resilience, human rights and access to water into land and commodity portfolios may risk undermining the value of investments, as well as political stability and economic competitiveness.

The report outlines practical actions to make land the focus of a new sustainability agenda. It calls for better country risk profiles that take into account a country’s exposure to environmental and social issues. Government leaders must become aware that these risks also undermine their country’s wealth.

As the ESI moves to implement this agenda, we will facilitate the development of systems to better monitor soil erosion, water availability and the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change. Using country risk metrics we will encourage a high-level political discussion on the investment regulations that are needed to ensure a sustainable and equitable prosperity.

Alejandro Litovsky is the founder and director of the Earth Security Initiative, created to advance practical ideas to bring financial markets, industry, government and civil society to collaborate on a new agenda of ecological limits and economic risks and opportunities. He has been awarded the BMW Young Leader Award 2012 by the BMW Foundation in Germany; he is a Board Member of LEAD International, the global institution created in 1992 to advance leadership for sustainable world; and is in the steering committee of two UN-backed global initiatives seeking to integrate the risks of losing biodiversity into the workings of the corporate and financial sectors.

For the last ten years he has held senior positions at business and sustainability think tanks in London and has developed cutting-edge thinking on scaling social innovations. In these roles he promoted innovative private-public partnerships to address ecological and human security challenges in places like Russia, Indonesia, Tanzania, South Africa, India and throughout Latin America. He created the Biosphere Economy, a project that convened business, investors, and entrepreneurs to cooperate in scaling up market innovations to protect the biosphere, giving way to an ambitious partnership between financial institutions and ecological scientists to include ecological metrics into the rating of government bonds.

In 2004 he was awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Prize by the London School of Economics where he obtained his MSc in Political Sociology. During this period he worked with the Shell International’s Future Scenarios team in London. Prior to that was an investment manager with the AVINA Foundation in Latin America where he helped invest in entrepreneurial solutions to deal with resource limits, governance and human security.

Ver artículo de Alejandro Litovsky: Governing the Biosphere Economy