CCSI produces qualitative and quantitative research crucial for advancing the body of knowledge on investment for sustainable development. This research provides a foundation for CCSI’s other activities and for advancing its overarching mission.
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Investment treaties are often described as instruments aiming to (1) promote investment flows; (2) provide investors remedies for harms; (3) improve governance and the rule of law in host countries; and (4) depoliticize disputes – objectives of varying degrees of importance to multinational enterprises, home states, host states, and other stakeholders. The investor-state dispute settlement… read more
CCSI examines how investment treaties (both their substantive standards and dispute settlement mechanisms) can, do, and should impact development and implementation of environmental policy, including, but not limited to, measures related to climate change. CCSI implements this project through a range of activities. These include: reviewing all publicly available investor-state arbitration decisions to identify implications… read more
While international investment can provide transfers of capital and technology that spread the use of environmentally sound products and processes, and enable countries to “leapfrog” more polluting phases of development, it can also give rise to certain environmental risks. For one, strategies that firms use to structure their operations across borders and the doctrine of… read more
Contrary to SDG 10, which aims to combat inequality both within and among countries, levels of intra-national inequality in particular are on the rise in many countries. It is therefore timely and crucial to examine what factors are causing these gaps, and how they might be reduced. CCSI is examining the role of investment treaties… read more
In September 2015, the UN member states agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the global agenda for equitable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economic development until 2030. Mining companies have the potential to become leading partners in achieving the SDGs. Through their direct operations, mining companies can generate profits, employment, and economic growth in… read more
As part of a 3-year grant from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), CCSI worked with the Columbia Water Center to develop and benchmark a modeling platform for quantitatively assessing the environmental risks associated with gold and copper mining projects and their resulting financial implications.
CCSI has been exploring what strategies fossil fuel companies have embraced in order to address climate change concerns and what responsible investors could request from fossil fuel companies in order to move towards a decarbonized economy.
CCSI is working to develop a regulatory and operational framework that would unlock the value of the APG that is currently wasted, in order to improve energy efficiency, expand access to energy, and contribute to climate change mitigation, thus promoting sustainable development.
CCSI, in partnership with the Sciences Po Law School Clinic and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, has developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. Although HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, one specific challenge is the frequent lack of trust between communities and companies, which often extends to distrust of HRIAs that “the other side” has initiated. A collaborative approach to HRIAs provides an avenue to jointly undertake an HRIA that is considered credible by all sides and that helps to address the power imbalances that often exist between companies and communities around private sector projects.
Around the world, project-affected communities grapple with how to access and pay for the legal support they need in the context of natural resource investments—including when they are asked to negotiate directly with investors. CCSI is conducting research to identify, assess, and help further thinking around innovative financing solutions for legal support to communities as they seek to secure and promote their rights and interests that may be affected by agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource investments.
What are the implications for individuals’ or communities’ ability to obtain redress for harms after investors or lenders have pulled out of a project, or after a project has failed? In light of the continued pressure on investors and lenders to divest from problematic projects, as well as the number of land deals that have failed altogether, CCSI is working to examine the loopholes, gaps, and unenforceable elements in laws and policies regarding redress of harms to communities when investors or funders have left a project and to develop proposed solutions for improving redress options in those circumstances.
What types of legal support do host governments use in the context of land investments? When negotiating land investment deals, are host governments out-lawyered and out-resourced at the negotiating table? How can legal assistance help governments to meaningfully incorporate international best practices around responsible land-based investments into individual projects? CCSI is conducting research on how host governments access legal support in the planning, negotiation, and monitoring of land investments, with a view to better understanding where legal support gaps for governments exist, and how these can be addressed by governments themselves, as well as by donors, support providers, and other international partners.
To make investor-state contracts for land, agriculture, and forestry projects more readily available and accessible, CCSI has created a range of guides and other resources to assist users of OpenLandContracts.org and others in better understanding these agreements.
Community Development Requirements: Domestic Laws, Best Practices, and Community Development Agreements Database
CCSI has a growing portfolio of activities regarding community development requirements and community development agreements (CDAs) that includes: (i) mapping domestic legal requirements for community development in the context of mining projects; (ii) policy and research on best practices around CDAs and benefit sharing for extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects; and (iii) regularly maintained collection of publicly available community agreements relating to extractive, agricultural, and forestry projects.
Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining the benefits of land-based investment, including for those affected who lack a voice in the negotiation process.
When not designed or implemented carefully, large-scale investment in agriculture can pose risks related to human rights and land rights. These risks are most acutely felt by rights-holders, but they can also have reputational, financial or other implications for governments and investors.
Land investments generally require shifts in land use. Some shifts have detrimental climate impacts; others aim at climate mitigation. All hold the potential to also affect access to land and the rights of land users. CCSI’s work in this area focuses on the interactions between resource investments, land use, land rights and climate change, including how to apply better practices to land investments aimed at climate change mitigation.
In collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University, this research examines how the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) could be accelerated, and how this transformation may impact fuel demand. We focus on two areas where we have identified gaps in the existing literature. The first focus is on the impact of fleet… read more
With the support of the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School and the Law School Clinic at Sciences Po, CCSI submitted an application to file a written submission as an “other person” in Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru. CCSI’s submission focused on a range of issues, including: The implications of international… read more
Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad. A CCSI study commissioned by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation provides a framework to help answer those questions about… read more
CCSI focuses on the intersection of international investment law and international human rights law, and the impacts of their application for the most vulnerable of rights-holders. Among other things, this includes a specific focus on investment arbitrations, and their implications for the realization of human rights.
Among the critical issues that arise from the interaction of human rights and investment law is whether and how the relatively greater access to justice provided to aggrieved investors by the international investment regime undermines access to justice for other individuals and communities, including those affected by large-scale land-based investment.
Dealing with land-based investments and the grievances that they raise can be difficult for host governments, who face a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This project examines the different legal frameworks governing what governments can do to address and remedy land-related grievances after investment concessions have been awarded, with a specific focus on government obligations under international investment law and international human rights law.
Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry hold diverse and far-reaching implications. Despite their significance, these investments are often negotiated and approved behind closed doors, and governed by contracts that are difficult to access and understand. This status quo is particularly concerning in countries where land contracts play a pivotal role in allocating risks and determining… read more
Contract transparency in natural resources is an emerging norm that many governments, companies and international institutions have endorsed, particularly within the extractive industries. However, more must be done to make it a standardized and meaningful norm that leads to better accountability within the extractive industries as well as around investments in land, agriculture, and forestry…. read more
CCSI examined the advantages and disadvantages of different minerals regimes (licensing regimes vs. contractual arrangements) in 18 countries around the world. For the 13 countries that used mining contracts, CCSI further examined the contract negotiation and implementation processes of 30 mining contracts as well as the relationship between those countries’ mining contracts and their legal regimes. CCSI also identified potential opportunities for external experts to support resource rich, low income countries in contract negotiations.
An ongoing stream of CCSI’s work is to follow developments with claims made and decisions issued in treaty-based investor-state arbitrations, and produce papers documenting these developments and highlighting their implications for environmental, social and economic policy.
The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have conducted a world-wide survey of NRFs looking at their management, investments, transparency, and accountability to the public, as well as the fiscal rules that govern them. This project seeks to foster cross-country experience-sharing on fund governance.
With over 3000 international investment treaties in existence and governments continuing to negotiate and ratify additional bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, it is important to have a clear understanding of the implications of these investment treaties on investor protections and state liability, and the resulting balance of public and private interests that they strike. To… read more
CCSI is reviewing international investment agreements and the case law interpreting them, and analyzing what the treaties mean for domestic environmental policy.
This project looks at the extent to which international investment agreements have come to incorporate clauses that provide the parties with exceptions from the application of certain disciplines.
CCSI is researching several aspects of designing and implementing a fiscal regime in an attempt to find legal and fiscal elements that can help avoid unanticipated consequences or disputes between the investor and the government over the course of the investment.
China’s emergence as an important outward investor and implications for international investment law
China has become one of the three most important outward foreign direct investors, complementing its role as one of the most important host countries world wide and the most important one among developing countries. Moreover, the country has concluded the second highest number of of bilateral investment treaties, in addition to free trade agreements with… read more
CCSI strongly supports the transparency of contracts and tax flows and has published various research and papers making the business case for transparency, including two submissions to the SEC in 2011 and 2015.
This project looks at the obstacles to an agreement between China and the US, and the compromises that could possibly be envisioned.
CCSI has published a brief which examines the use of built-in review periods in extractive industry contracts as a mechanism for managing investor–host-country relations over the duration of a project. CCSI completed a survey of periodic review mechanisms contained in extractive industry contracts, to analyze how they have been used to date and understand the purposes for which they may usefully be applied.
The study of outward FDI and competitive neutrality seeks to analyze what measures home countries have undertaken to support their outward investing enterprises and what the salient features are of these measures.
CCSI is working to deepen and broaden understanding regarding the appropriate legal frameworks that can better ensure that public-private partnerships result in high quality, accountable, and sustainable infrastructure and related services.
Leveraging Investment for Sustainable Development: the Role of Performance Requirements for Technology Transfer
This project furthers research (1) on the types of performance requirements countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs; and (2) the role of international investment agreements in promoting or restricting use of such performance requirements.
This research project focuses on identifying concrete actions home states can take to help catalyze and channel FDI to enhance technology transfer for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The Emerging Market Global Players Project leads and coordinates research among a worldwide network of academics and institutions that produce new studies on the salient features of MNEs from emerging markets and their impact on sustainable development.
In partnership with Africa Investor, CCSI evaluated trends in intra-African investment flows over the last 10 years. A high-level summary of the research was published in the November 2012 edition of Africa Investor magazine.
This study surveyed the trend toward countries integrating competitive bidding provisions for mineral rights allocation into their national legislation and regulations, and sought to analyze these issues.
CCSI, in collaboration with the Carter Center, is developing two economic models for the Sicomines mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to compare the financial flows under the resource for infrastructure deal with a ‘traditional’ contract under the mining code of the DRC.
Infrastructure linked to large-scale natural resource investments is often cited as a primary benefit of such investments, including for both extractive industry and land-based agriculture projects. The most common methods of linking infrastructure development to investments differ, however, based on the underlying sector. CCSI has undertaken a significant amount of research on leveraging extractive industry… read more
Contract Comparison Research: Using the ResourceContracts.org contract comparison tool, CCSI is researching local content and water provisions respectively in oil, gas, and mining contracts from select countries, supplementing and situating the analysis in the context of the projects to which the contracts apply to understand the impact of such provisions on water availability for communities surrounding… read more