Tackling Climate and Development Challenges

By Tom Morton, Director, ClimateCare

Tackling Climate and Development Challenges

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the recent Bond Annual Conference, sharing experiences from the ClimateCare team, about how we have engaged the private sector and unlocked funding for sustainable development.

For those who don’t know ClimateCare, we are a profit for purpose organisation with twin aims to protect the environment and improve people’s lives.

To date, through innovative climate and development projects, and in partnership with businesses, governments and NGOs around the world, we have improved the lives of more than 11 million people – tackling poverty, improving health, creating jobs and stimulating local economies. At the same time all our work protects the environment, for example safeguarding precious habitats and wildlife, and fighting climate change – our work to date has reduced more than 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

All this sounds very impressive – and we are proud of the measurable impact our integrated approach is delivering – but how to step back and pin down what exactly what it is that makes our business model so appealing to private sector businesses?

The easiest thing, of course, was to ask our business partners who, without hesitation, highlighted the importance of robust and measurable results, the opportunity to partner with organisations they otherwise wouldn’t work with and value for money.

Over the past few years we’ve seen increasing numbers of companies start to recognise the risks their businesses face from climate change and resource scarcity. Also a growing acknowledgement of the need to take responsibility for external impacts including water use, carbon emissions, waste and impact on local environments and communities in which they operate.

Historically each of these elements has been addressed separately. In the majority of organisations we work with, we still find environmental impacts managed in a different department to impacts on people. Our integrated approach challenges this status quo by addressing these challenges together, which is more efficient and better value for money. As a result, in recent years we have expanded our consultancy arm, helping people work through a process of integration and develop shared environment and sustainable development outcomes to achieve impact and scale.

As Ben Norbury from The Co-operative explains, “Tackling climate and development challenges together makes simple business sense.”

You might ask how a single project can deliver these multiple benefits. One example is the pioneering LifeStraw Carbon for Water project. A world first, it uses climate finance to help fund the distribution of water filters in Kenya. These simple gravity fed water filters, remove the need to boil water on open fires. This saves money, reduces exposure to toxic fumes, cuts carbon emissions and protects local forests. This project provides safe drinking water to 4.5 million people and is expected to save more than 2 million tonnes of carbon every year.

Efficient cookstove projects tell a similar story, using less fuel, cutting carbon emissions and expenditure for families and reducing indoor air pollution – a major cause of respiratory disease and one of the developing world’s biggest killers.

We’ve always been focussed on measurable results, and over time we’ve discovered that this focus on outcomes is helpful when bringing together unconventional partnerships. Shared goals help organisations over the hurdles thrown up by different working practices and cultures. Ensuring every project delivers robust and independently verified results also means that we can demonstrate value for money and evaluate different approaches to help organisations invest their budgets to deliver maximum impact.

“Working together with innovators and experts at ClimateCare has helped us think differently about the best way to meet our sustainability targets. ClimateCare ensure we invest our budget in projects that deliver robust and tangible results.” Fran Leedham, Jaguar Land Rover.

So these are the key lessons I shared with my audience at the event. I hope they also stimulate some thinking within the Business Fights Poverty community. Please look at our website www.climatecare.org if you’d like to know more, or contact me to********@cl*********.org if you’re interested in working with us on a project.

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