Tom Morton

Podcast Interview

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BFP: What do you do?

TM: I run the ClimateCare’s operations in Nairobi, Kenya. We finance and deliver projects that improve people’s lives and protect the environment. These two outcomes have been at the core of what we do since we started back in 1997.

I also advise governments and international donors on matters relating to climate change and international development policy.

BFP: What is the best part about your job?

TM: Without a doubt it is when we bring people together to create larger outcomes than they could achieve alone. As an example, we have been working with a business in Ghana for the last 2 years, bringing in the investment needed to develop the market for improved charcoal stoves. We brought in capital funding from the BioCarbon Fund, then Registered the Program with the United Nations, so it is eligible for carbon credits. We have just agreed to sell the first four years’ emission reductions to the Swedish Energy Agency, who want to deliver tangible development benefits – alongside meeting their international obligations to offset carbon emissions.

I often say that no two six months in my job have been the same and that is as true now as it was back in 2000, when I joined the company. It is the opportunity to think innovatively and see a measurable difference on the ground that keeps me interested. At the moment I am passionate about improving the way people cook and trying to reduce the demand for charcoal at the same time. This week, we have therefore been running tests on an efficient charcoal kiln next door to the office – turning all our hands black!

BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?

TM: The greatest challenge is finding really strong partners who share our desire to deliver measurable project outcomes on the ground and who we can trust to deliver, even in challenging times. The positive outcome is that by working so closely, we develop lasting relationships with many of our project partners!

Another challenge I sometimes face is fear about our business approach to measuring development and environmental outcomes. This is a relatively new area and when you do innovative things, there is often an element of criticism, however it can be frustrating, particularly when you are all working towards the same long term goals.

BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? What advice, would you give to others?

TM: For me, it’s about focussing on outcomes, where it’s usually easier to find common ground, and then being open to new ways of delivering them. Everyone agrees we need to mobilise private and government finance to tackle sustainable development issues, and living in Kenya for the last seven years I have seen again and again what can be achieved when we get it right. This ‘results based thinking’ helps keep me focussed and motivated as we bring together a wide range of organisations and develop new ways to work together.

BFP: Finally; what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?

TM: I know that delivering measurable outcomes through integrated Climate and Development projects works. It is already bringing government and business investment to sustainable development – through this approach we have already unlocked finance to improve the lives of more than 11 million people.

I hope that being a part of the Business Fights Poverty network will allow me to meet new people from a broad range of organisations, with whom I can share this insight, scale up existing projects and forge new partnerships.

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to Tom Morton for taking the time to do this interview.

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