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As reported in the Times of Malta, 16th November 2014

Malta to be used as Hub for Sustainable Development

Malta is to be used as a hub for a Commonwealth-wide initiative aimed at promoting sustainable development through a mixture of investment opportunities and networking.

The Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP) is a joint venture between the Forbury Investment Network and the Royal Commonwealth Society charity. It is operated and hosted by Clarkslegal in London, whose chairman Michael Sippitt is also the CEIP chairman.

In less than two years, 14 hubs have been launched, offering services to over 27 countries.

“CEIP is quite unique in the Commonwealth as an innovative method to help sustainable development. There is nothing else in this space. There is a real lack of links, especially between export-driven SMEs. What we want to do is to inspire technology transfer, especially when it comes to climate change.”

“We are already reaching half the Commonwealth countries – in less than two years,” Mr Sippitt said. “That is a critical mass of some consequence. And with interest growing, we are on the cusp of a quantum leap. We are very excited about Malta because it has a strong role to play as an intermediary between the EU and the Commonwealth.”

Each hub comprises different expertise, ranging from energy experts to professional advisers and businessmen. Apart from exchange of information, the hubs help businesses to find partners, financing and new markets. They also offer services like assistance with business plans, for entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

As well as working within the Commonwealth, the CEIP is being approached by businesses outside the Commonwealth notably from the EU, who are keen to expand in the Commonwealth emerging economies.

“We use contacts with experts in universities and are also looking at crowdfunding. We have organised conferences and will also prepare investor briefing videos for all the hubs to use. And of course we engage where we can with the diaspora who make such a big contribution through remittances to their home countries,” Mr Sippitt said.

A British barrister registered in Malta, Geraldine Noel, came to Malta five years ago to set up a law firm which can offer services in different jurisdictions. She came across CEIP when she was looking for business opportunities in the Commonwealth. Her firm, Acumum, is now affiliated to CEIP and she intends to play a substantial role in the new Malta hub.

“As a small island state, Malta could lead by example. It would be a great way for Maltese SMEs to make contacts in other Commonwealth countries,” she said.