I was on a panel discussion sustainable development at the Property Investor show at Excel earlier in the week, at the invitation of Gordon Miller of Sustain Worldwide. Having never been to this event before I had a good look around the stands before and after the discussion. What interested me was the number of stands offering investors the opportunity to invest in sustainable and ethical ventures around the world. There were three in particular that caught my attention.
The first was rather unfortunately named Ecohouse, which was a pity, because there was nothing ‘eco’ about their company that I could see, but what they were actually doing was very valuable. The development they are building in Natal, Brazil is to house workers for Brazil’s booming economy. Brazil plans to build two million homes this year. We struggle to build 100k.If Ecohouse were to take their name a bit more seriously and even mention the environmental impact of their work that would be a good thing. The social and economic impacts seem to be positive.
The second stand to get my attention was the Ethical Forestry team. They plant trees in Costa Rica. Once the investment is complete and the trees have been harvested the land reverts to a local trust which protects the land from commercial development. The only gripe I have is that the species planted, Melina, is not a native one, but I am told that it has a long history of being planted in Costa Rica with no negative impacts.
The third stand was Acecarbon, a team selling carbon credits to fund mainly renewable energy projects around the world. To gain credits the projects must come under the banner of the Clean Development Mechanism to ensure the carbon savings are deliverable.
To see so many companies working on enabling investment in sustainable development is cheering and provided a welcome antidote to the villas in Spain and the Caribbean that overseas property investment is usually associated with.