Necessary transition to sustainable investments

Impact case of the month: Shifting towards sustainability of foreign direct investments

June 23 2022

For many countries, due to current global challenges such as climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, and increasing food shortages, the transition to sustainable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policies has become a priority. The research activities of Yulia Levashova, Assistant Professor at Nyenrode Business Universiteit on legal aspects of foreign direct investment, have influenced policy discussions at the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since 2018.

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The transition from FDI to sustainable investment is necessary to combat climate change, because international investment laws and policies play a key role in countries' commitment to climate change. Levashova explains: "Until recently, the regulations this FDI manages, called International Investment Agreements (IIAs), were focused solely on protecting the economic interests of foreign investors. It did not include investors' responsibilities and support climate-friendly investments."  

Improving sustainability

The lack of social and environmental commitments from investors operating abroad affects the well-being of millions of people and undermines the creation of an equal playing field among companies. "My research focused on analyzing this problem and developing practical tools to address the balance between the interests of investors and countries," Levashova said. In 2018, at the UNCTAD World Forum, Levashova presented a proposal to UN and European Commission policymakers as well as academics and legal experts, to integrate international investment law into the SDGs.

Long-term impact

In recent years, Levashova's research has rebalanced the interests of investors and states. By translating her research into policy recommendations, she showed how the rights and obligations of both parties can be balanced and contribute to the further development of international law. "In this I work together with different organizations such as UNCTAD, UNECE, the Dutch government and the OECD. This way, we can further develop policy around FDI," Levashova explains.

June 22 2022

An impact case includes a research portfolio around a central theme, focusing on the reach and impact of that research. The impact cases are easy to read for a broad audience, they demonstrate how Nyenrode is strengthening its connection to practice and how faculty members are finding practical solutions to relevant and current challenges in practice.

The impact cases are divided into the categories Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Stewardship, and Educational Innovation.

All cases can be found here.

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