According to Hugh Wheelan ("Prince Charles to propose 'pension plan for the planet'," Responsible Investor, November 17, 2008), England's Prince Charles is working hard to save the rain forests. Since late 2007, His Royal Highness is described as actively encouraging long-term investors such as insurance companies and retirement plan sponsors to buy 15-year bonds "with competitive returns." Issued by companies that are creating "sustainable energy solutions," proceeds of the bonds would likewise be used to make developing companies less dependent on income earned by chopping down trees. The P8, a consortium of 10 (not 8) interested pension funds, is said to include the (1) Universities Superannuation Scheme (2) Dutch giant ABP (3) CalPERS and (4) CalSTRS. (See "Prince Charles lead 'P8' pensions powerhouse finalises climate change report ," Responsible Investor, July 31, 2008.)
Richard Palmer, Daily Express blogger has a different take. In "Prince Charles Wants to Raise Your Taxes to Save Rainforests" (November 4, 2008), eco-friendly investing would get a boost, courtesy of the UK taxpayers as well. Not only would wealthier countries guarantee rain forest bonds, their citizens could pay a utility tax for the alleged benefits provided by tropical jungles - "global air conditioning system, storing its largest body of freshwater and providing a livelihood for more than a billion people."
With the current market situation, one wonders if initiatives such as these will fall by the wayside, for some time, at least. Leaders of developed countries have their hands full as they try to stimulate their beleaguered economies. At the same time, funding status for more than a few pension plans worsens, leaving them with fewer monies to allocate.