About Us

 

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is the only university-based applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice and discussion of sustainable international investment. Please find our 2015-2016 Annual Report here; our 2014-2015 Annual Report here; and our 2013-2014 Annual Report here. In addition, please find our Center Fact Sheet here, and our Center Brochure here.

Mission

Our mission is to develop practical approaches for governments, investors, communities and other stakeholders to maximize the benefits of international investment for sustainable development.

Our Approach

CCSI integrates legal, economic and policy expertise, and approaches sustainable investment holistically, bridging investment law, natural resource management, human rights, economics, political economy, and environmental management. We conduct rigorous research, provide policy analysis and advisory services, offer educational programs, develop tools and resources, and foster multi-stakeholder dialogue and knowledge sharing among policymakers, development advocates, scholars, business leaders, and community stakeholders. We work to strengthen the sustainable development potential of international investment, and to ensure that international investment is mutually beneficial for investors and the citizens of recipient countries. 

Our Background

CCSI, formerly the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), is an independent non-profit academic center established in 2008 thanks to a generous grant from Vale S.A. We maintain academic integrity as a neutral platform for advanced academic and applied research in all engagements with outside entities. As a forum for multi-stakeholder and inter-disciplinary discussion, CCSI preserves an open environment for debate, and supports the freedom of ideas and the public accessibility of research results.

The Context

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a major global economic force, delivering 65% more goods and services to foreign markets than trade. Such investment can play a crucial role in advancing sustainable development: it facilitates the transfer of capital, knowledge, and technology, and can help to create jobs, develop linkages between local industries, promote infrastructure development, build local capacity, and foster links between countries. FDI also serves as a fundamental source of financing for development, central to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and bridging the $2.5 trillion annual funding shortfall experienced by developing countries in SDG-related sectors.

However, the benefits that FDI can produce for recipient countries are not automatic. The extent to which the positive effects are realized and the challenges and negative impacts avoided, depends on the policies and practices of governments and investors, and on the institutions available to find satisfactory outcomes for all stakeholders. Against this background, and guided by its five-pillar framework, CCSI works to provide the tools, research, and holistic support necessary to maximize the benefits of investment for sustainable development.