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Insights from Webinar: Unveiling the Updated FAST-Infra Label Framework

Insights from Webinar: Unveiling the Updated FAST-Infra Label Framework

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In today's world, the demand for sustainable infrastructure is greater than ever before. Governments, businesses, and communities are increasingly recognizing the importance of projects that not only meet current needs but also ensure a resilient environment and a conscious future. The FAST-Infra Label is a pioneering initiative designed to promote and certify infrastructure projects that prioritise sustainability, resilience, and innovation. In a recent webinar, Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB), the Secretariat for the label unveiled its updated framework. Prominent speakers in infrastructure and finance discussed how the label helps address the finance challenge.

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar moderated by Hilda Liswani, Stakeholder Manager, FAST-Infra Label at GIB.

Overview of the FAST-Infra Label

Morgane Huchet, Project manager, FAST-Infra Label
Nathalie Gaullier,
Global programme manager, FAST-Infra Label

The FAST-Infra Label was conceived by influential players in the infrastructure market, united under the FAST-Infra Group. This coalition includes national and state entities, corporations, financial institutions, and civil society organisations. The label aims to set a universal standard for measuring the sustainability and resilience of infrastructure assets. It supports developers and operators in creating projects that have a positive environmental impact, thereby attracting investors who are increasingly looking for sustainable investment opportunities.

The FAST-Infra Label is governed by an executive advisory committee and a steering committee, ensuring robust oversight. The Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) serves as the Secretariat, operating within a multi-stakeholder framework to maintain transparency and accountability.

How the Label Helps Address the Financing Gap in Infrastructure

Hayden Morgan, Partner and Head of Sustainable Finance Consultancy, Pinsent Masons

  • Attracting private finance: The urgency to finance sustainable infrastructure is more pressing than ever, with investment needs projected to soar from $1.3 trillion in 2021-2022 to an astounding $9 trillion annually by 2030. With public finance unable to meet the projected per year requirement, private finance must be mobilised rapidly.

    The FAST-Infra Label plays a crucial role in facilitating this shift by creating a more attractive environment for private investors. Market-led initiatives like the FAST-Infra Label are essential for addressing the current lack of private investment in sustainable infrastructure. The label helps lower transaction costs, provides transparency, and mitigates risks of greenwashing, making it easier for investors to commit capital to sustainable projects.
  • Fostering credibility: The FAST-Infra Label offers a two-tier system: an open, free Self-assessment and a Verified Label assessed by a third party. This dual approach ensures accessibility and credibility, encouraging more projects to demonstrate their sustainability credentials and appeal to investors seeking trustworthy investments.
  • A unifying force in sustainable investment: Built on over 45 existing sustainable standards, the FAST-Infra Label provides a comprehensive assessment covering 14 criteria, including climate mitigation and anti-corruption measures. This integrative approach ensures that projects are evaluated against a robust set of criteria, fostering investor confidence.
  • Global reach with a focus on emerging economies: The FAST-Infra Label aims to redirect significant capital towards emerging economies. By targeting infrastructure projects across different regions and stages, the label seeks to promote sustainable development globally.
  • Partnerships and credibility: The FAST-Infra Label benefits from strong partnerships with organisations like Bloomberg, which enhance the credibility and reliability of the data provided. This association with respected entities further assures investors of the label's integrity and the viability of the projects it endorses.
  • Practical and dynamic tools: The label currently offers practical tools, including a Self-assessment workbook and which in future will be replaced by the Data Repository that Bloomberg is developing, to facilitate the evaluation process. This approach ensures that the tool remains adaptable to different project types and locations, providing unbiased and thorough assessments.

How can Infrastructure Projects Benefit from the FAST-Infra Label: Project Spotlight

Henri P. Gebauer, Team Lead, C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF)

The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) provides cities in the Global South with technical assistance to develop climate-positive urban infrastructure projects and links them to financing. One such project, piloted with the FAST-Infra Label, focuses on the Renewable Energy Infrastructure for Mumbai’s electric bus fleet in partnership with Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST), a public transport undertaking. This project aims to electrify Mumbai’s bus fleet by 2027, requiring the installation of solar panels on 27 bus depot routes, with an investment of $75-80 million, implemented using the PPP framework. Over 25 years, the project aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 1.4 million tons.

Reflections from the self assessment process:

  • Technical guidance to help strengthen the project: The potential for rain water harvesting emerged during the project. CFF was guided to further develop this aspect to make the project more water-sensitive and also contribute to groundwater recharge.
  • Access to industry best practices: The label guided project preparation by combining various standards and relying on good industry practices. Minimum safeguards and additional contributions were beneficial, allowing positive contributions to be assessed and demonstrated using a clear methodology.
  • Convenient and swift self-assessment process: Applying the Self-assessed Label is feasible within a reasonable timeframe, given adequate resources, existing project assets, and the right skilled team.
  • Visibility with private investors: CFF's core mandate is to prepare finance-ready projects that meet international sustainable infrastructure standards. The label enhances project and helps present these projects to financial institutions effectively.

The FAST-Infra Label not only sets a high standard for sustainable infrastructure but also acts as a catalyst for mobilising the essential private finance needed to meet global investment demands. By fostering transparency, reducing risks, and leveraging strong partnerships, the label is poised to play a transformative role in advancing sustainable development worldwide.

Get Involved

The new version of the FAST-Infra Label Framework (Version 0.3) is now available online. You can register your project to get complimentary access to the FAST-Infra Label framework and checklist!

Self-assess your project:

You can also participate by joining the advisory community, supporting the label's development, or becoming verifiers. This collaborative approach ensures that the FAST-Infra Label remains a leading standard in promoting sustainable, resilient, and innovative infrastructure projects worldwide.

Get Involved:

Further Reading