Podcast Interview

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BFP: What do you do?

RS: I am Head of UK Operations at ClimateCare and I work as part of a small but dedicated team from the UK office in Oxford. ClimateCare is the natural partner for companies, governments or institutions wishing to tackle climate and development issues including cutting carbon emissions, tackling poverty and improving health. Whether you simply want to offset unavoidable carbon emissions through a project that protects the environment and improves lives, or invest in new projects and local businesses, we help organisations make investment decisions that fit with their business needs and produce the CSR outcomes they seek.

In my role, I consult closely with sector-leading businesses to design bespoke programmes that achieve their sustainability aims. This can involve anything from helping them identify which one of a range of existing climate and development projects to support, right through to developing bespoke projects from scratch or managing global programmes. Whatever the detail of the approach, our focus is always on delivering measurable outcomes and channeling investment to deliver the maximum benefit for people and the environment.

BFP: What is the best part of your job/project?

RS: There are many great aspects to my work. Firstly, I work with a brilliant team of results focused professionals, who are passionate about tackling climate change and delivering low-carbon development. Secondly, I am fortunate to engage with motivated and forward thinking businesses, NGOs and entrepreneurs who feel the same way and are working tirelessly towards the same goals. Tackling what are some of the world’s most pressing issues is all about partnership, collaboration and finding new ways to work, and it’s rewarding to help these partnerships form and provide platforms for sharing best practice.

Thirdly, seeing families and communities benefitting in their day to day lives from having safe water, or a clean cookstove which makes it easier for them to breathe in their own homes, or an irrigation system which makes their water go further and improves their diet and increases their household income.

BFP: What has been your greatest challenge?

RS: Our goal is to attract private finance to tackle climate change and deliver low-carbon development. We have proven it can be done – our greatest challenge now is to stimulate more businesses and investors to follow the lead of our existing partners and step up to the mark – taking measurable action to tackle climate change and support sustainable development. Once they do, our model speaks for itself – it simply makes sense to tackle these challenges together both financially, and on the ground.

We want to present a ‘call to action’ to businesses. Tackling climate change is now on the business agenda and is widely accepted as being a core business issue. More and more businesses are taking action to measure and reduce their carbon footprints; some are going further by also taking responsibility for offsetting remaining carbon. They can maximize the value of this action by choosing to offset through climate and development projects. That way their action not only addresses their environmental target, but contributes to other business objectives, such as empowering communities and building resilience in supply chains, sustainably managing water and resource use and building social value in developing markets.

BFP: How are you overcoming this challenge?

RS: We are lucky enough to have long term partnerships with many of our clients, spanning more than a decade. Together we have already made a huge impact, cutting 16.5 million tonnes of CO2 and improving the lives of 6 million people.

The prompt to shout more about what we do came when we won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise earlier this year. Acknowledgement by such a well-respected and mainstream business award encouraged us to share our message and call for new business partners.

Our first job is to help organisations step back and see how to integrate environmental and sustainable development activity and to understand the enormous potential of this integrated approach. The reasons why companies are looking to deliver climate with development programmes vary from organisation to organisation. For example, with the Co-operative, we are bringing safe water to their tea farmer communities – for them it’s about taking responsibility for emissions and at the same time, improving the lives of people in their supply chain.

For others, it’s about bringing partners together to scale up the impact they can have. For example we recently bought together a private sector investor Macquarie Bank with the Swedish Energy Agency to support a new CookClean stove project that is cutting carbon, empowering entrepreneurs and improving the health of families in Ghana.

BFP: If someone wants to do what you do – where do they start?

RS: Actually, you can currently apply for a job with ClimateCare – we are recruiting for a number of positions in our Oxford office. You can see more on our website and read a bit about what it’s really like to work at ClimateCare in this blog by our intern, Sam.

Most of the team are specialists in their areas and have worked at a senior level in large corporates before choosing to join ClimateCare.

What we all have in common is the passion to use our business experience to tackle the most important issues of our time. We are a very focused and professional team; at the same time ClimateCare is a fantastic and inspiring place to work – for a small team we have a big impact!

BFP: What do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?

RS: The BFP community is a community of partnerships, collaboration and inspiration. It shows not only what is possible, but how it is possible. I hope to learn, share and be inspired, and of course, meet some potential new partners!

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to RobertStevens for taking the time to do this interview.

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