Published: 20 September 2020

Six Qualities of Sustainable Infrastructure in Action

The power of infrastructure to shape economies and societies is enormous. Infrastructure underpins commercial life, provides vital social services and supports human interaction around the world and across the street. Increasingly, however, decision-makers are looking to infrastructure as a tool to enable the reinvention of the entire built environment. Leaders in the public and private sectors are becoming ever more aware of the importance of building a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable world. But this world cannot be built without the corresponding sustainable infrastructure.

With this in mind, the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Infrastructure met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November 2019 to understand how they could do their part to encourage the development of a widely accepted sustainable infrastructure asset class to draw more private capital into sustainable infrastructure investment. The council, leveraging the diverse experience of its members, decided the best way to achieve this would be to construct a vision of what sustainable infrastructure is, and then explore frameworks and case examples that can help bring this vision into reality.

Out of this work came the council’s Six Qualities of Sustainable Infrastructure (GFC-6).

Through rigorous research and exploration, the council created the GFC-6 to take into account multiple aspects of sustainability, including economic, social, environmental and technological components.

Image: World Economic Forum
  • 1
    Benefit sharing
  • 2
    Environmental resilience
  • 3
    Social acceptability
  • 4
    Economic and institutional effectiveness
  • 5
  • 6
    Critical mass potential

The council is supportive of the creation and application of any framework, financing model or tool that incorporates the GFC-6. This digital report contains a series of case studies that show frameworks and examples of projects that highlight how having a clear high-level vision can help inform the development of sustainable, resilient infrastructure.

Without proper support, sustainable infrastructure risks becoming a niche issue. A nice-to-have, rather than the global imperative it truly is. By laying out clear and achievable qualities and providing strategies and examples to amplify their adoption, the Global Future Council on Infrastructure hopes to do its part to encourage the development of infrastructure projects and systems that can help create the more inclusively and sustainably prosperous future the world deserves.

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