Wetlands International

Greening the Economy


A green (low carbon, energy efficient and socially inclusive) economy has been increasingly seen as a potential panacea for the current environmental, social and economy crises facing by the global community. Our goal is to promote economic development that is harmonious with conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

The problem
Wetlands are often viewed as marginal lands that are ‘there’ for development. Increasingly these types of lands are being targeted for reclamation and conversion into agricultural, industrial and urban areas. While the direct economic benefits of such development are clear and quantifiable, the long term socio-economic impacts are often significant and detrimental. The inherent and immense values of wetlands tend to be overlooked and undervalued in the decision making process which involves, in most cases, only a certain powerful/interest groups. To solve this issue, there is a need for clear and measurable values and services of wetlands to inform and evaluate options for a proposed development scheme.

What we do
Wetlands International works proactively to develop technical expertise and knowledge on the policies and practices of some key industries and finance institutions that directly or indirectly have impacts on wetlands. These key industries include:

  • Palm oil and biofuels industry
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Soy cultivation
  • Shrimp aquaculture sector
  • Oil and gas sector
  • Peat extraction for horticulture and energy

We work in a critical and constructive manner with the corporate sector to improve their ‘sustainability’ performance. We challenge their economic strategies and production system standards which disregard the need for sustainability criteria, particularly those relevant to wetlands. Currently, we are engaged in a global partnership with Shell and are actively involved in industry roundtables such Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and the Rountable on Responsible Soy (RTRS).

We also aim to influence policy change and commitments from various governments. Some examples of our substantive work in this area include providing inputs on the palm oil and pulpwood concession policies in Indonesia, facilitating the establishment of agreements in the Niger Basin Authority on water use, and lobbying the European Commission for the inclusion of wetlands and peatlands sustainability criteria in the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

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