Business Innovation to Fight Climate Change and Poverty

(Business Fights Poverty) #1

From 7 to 18 December 2009, world governments will come together in Copenhagen to negotiate a new global framework for tackling climate change, to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. In addition to persuading governments to act, business can actively drive the innovation that will underpin lower-carbon growth: managing down their own carbon and water footprints, rolling out existing low-carbon technology and developing new technologies.

Business can also play an important role in helping poor people adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as through micro-insurance products. A business-driven model will ensure new products and services are deployed effectively and at scale. Recent developments, such as in wind energy, solar and geothermal, present the possibility that the developing world will be able to leapfrog the old technology of developed countries, and lead the way towards a more sustainable future.

An event on 2 December, that we are co-hosting with UNDP and a number of other partners, will focus on business innovation that helps mitigate climate change and that helps poor people adapt to its impacts. What innovative business models are emerging? How can these be brought to scale? What is the role of governments and donors to encourage investment and innovation?

What are your views?


(Sachin Joshi) #2

Congratulations for organising this event! You might want to take a look at the report (attached) addressing the topic “Indian companies with solutions that the world needs”, by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development & WWF.

Best wishes,

426-ReportIndiancompanieswiththesolutionsthattheworldneeds.pdf (633 KB)


(Business Fights Poverty) #3

Thanks Sachin. That’s very helpful. If other people also have useful resources, please share them!


(Pamela McLean) #4

I completely agree with you ref “the possibility that the developing world will be able to leapfrog the old technology of developed countries, and lead the way towards a more sustainable future”. When bloggers were asked to write about climate change I wrote about this leap-frogging related to my experiences in rural Nigeria

You may be interested that the one and only street light in Bayan Loco (North Central Nigeria) is solar powered. It stands outside the main compound of Fantsuam Foundation (where my colleague John Dada is director of programmes). In the evening you may see someone sitting under it, making use of the light for a task that cannot be done so easily in a poorly lit home, such as a mother braiding the hair of her daughter.

One of the challenges of the theme of the December 2nd event, is how people who want to get involved can connect effectively with people who have knowledge and networks on the ground. It is essential to have two way communication and genuine collaboration if new products and services are to fit the needs of local people - potential purchasers and also potential workers in the supply chain. On a practical point I hope it is appropriate to mention that Dadamac connects people in the UK with our networks in rural Africa (see my contact details below) and we help both sides to work together.

Pamela McLean -
020 8402 6344
UK-Africa Connections


(Maya Forstater) #5

I look forward to this event, which is one of the few ‘Business and Climate Change’ events I have seen that includes both the challenges of adaptation as well as of mitigation.

The business role in climate change adaptation is often overlooked, both in discussions of what climate change means for business strategy, and in thinking about how the global challenge of dealing with the impacts of climate change can be met.

The truth is that the most vulnerable 100 nations are home to over a billion people but account for only 3.2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions - so adaptation, not mitigation, is the key priority at the base of the pyramid.

Of course many business solutions, such as off-grid, renewable energy systems can have both benefits both for carbon footprints and climate resilence. But there is also an urgent need to ensure that business investment and innovation is enabled to meet the adaptation challenges that vulnerable and poor communities face as temperatures rise by of 2ºC, 3ºC, 4ºC, 5ºC degrees or more.

Attached is a recent briefing by AccountAbility and IIED on the business of adaptation.

With best wishes

Maya Forstater


(Diana Korchien) #6

Bangla Desh as we all know, is at the very frontline of climate change. With continually rising sea levels, It stands to lose a huge amount of coastal land in the very near future, displacing millions of people. As picture editor of Majority World CiC , I work on a daily basis with amazing social and environmental photography from our members in Bangla Desh. If your company supports fair trade and really wants to make a difference to the lives of talented photographers from Bangla Desh and the rest of global south, please use their stock photography and give them assignments.


(Nyakio Ndungu) #7

What an amazing event! Congratulations, very much looking forward to it.


(Abu Bakarr Turay) #8

Greetings to all,

As world leaders are preparing for the Copenhagen surmit on climate change, I would like to add my voice on the climate change debate. In my opinion, the sumit should adopt a two-track approach to dealing with global worming and climate change issues. First, World leadres should be able to agree to reduce emmission to the almosphere by agrreing on reasonale targets to do so. As we all know this is the crucks of the matter. If we do not agree to reduce emmission, there is no solution to the climate change problem. I mean no other solution would work. We must reduce emmission, because that is the main source of the problem.

Secondly, leaders should agree to assist developing countries to maintain their ‘greenness’. Forests in developing countries in Africa, for example, must not be allowed to be lost through poverty and lack of innovation. Businesses must be encouraged to take the lead in investing in new production technologies in agriculture, fishery and forestry. Peasant farmers must be given alternative ways of farming, and the poor should be given an alternative way of living to the current practices. Only when concrete decisions are taken to remain green in this summit will there be a strong message to farmers and community leaders to look forward to a brighter future.

Since climate change problem is a challenge to human intellegence, we must not exclude farmers and the poor from the thinking process. This then calls for massive awarness raising campaigns to encourage such groups of people to join the process of finding the solution to climate change. Only then can we boast of being on the right part to finding the solution.

Abu Bakarr Turay
Sierra Leone


(Ahram Kwon) #9

I think it was an awesome event that addressing and raising awareness of environmental and poverty issues. I always look forward to receiving e-mails from Business Fights Poverty. Thank you very much for organizing such an event. I find videos and materials to be very informative.

It is my first time to write in this blog, and I was hoping to share an immense opportunity with you. It is an award called 'Eco-Challenge", an award that encourages for young people to find innovative solutions to overcome environmental issues we face today. I think it will be very interesting to see those ideas of enterprising young people.


(Paul Mann) #10


It seems to me that finding seed funding from the corporate world is almost impossible for a start up organisation, moves made on the ground that cover both environmental issues and give a major benefit to poor communities do not seem to be on anyone’s agenda, most companies look at charitable giving from the what’s in it for me prospective go with the high profile charities.

A group of us soon to be 50’s sat around the table a Christmas and where discussing solar energy, third world issues ect, ect and decided that at our age it was probably a good thing to stop talking and actually do something!!!

So we did a lot of research and decided to set up a dedicated charity to supply free of all charge solar lanterns in exchange for kerosene lamps to poor, third world homes not on the grid system, I won’t bore you with the dangers of this but have a look at our website at all of the information is there. There are an estimated 1.6 billion of these lamps used in poor, rural homes around the world using an average of one litre of kerosene per lamp, per week!

We have a basic business plan, and we have made contact with local charities (in India to start) on the ground for targeting and distribution, some of them already working in the same field that would be glad of the help, we have also sourced the product.

To register a UK charity you need to have an income of £5,000 so it becomes a little of chicken and egg, you need funding to become a charity to access funding from grant making bodies, finding a individual sponsor who can see the potential and is willing to take a chance is (as I am finding out) very hard, contact details are impossible to find and I have spent some 150 hours on the net since the new year looking, we have had a few positive responses, mostly they say yes we would consider making a grant, please drop us a line when you are registered !

Resources for seed funding for charities is almost nil from what I can see and contacting individuals with the money and maybe the interest to help is difficult if not impossible.

I suppose the question is where is all of the seed funding?
Paul Mann