Earth Day 2021: Investing at the Nexus of Climate and Innovation.

By Alix Peterson Zwane

Apr 22, 2021

On Earth Day 2021, and as world leaders gather for the two-day virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate, our CEO, Alix Peterson Zwane, writes about GIF’s commitment to net-zero emissions and the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta, as well as the role that GIF can play as an investor in impact at the nexus of innovation and climate change.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and its often devastating effects are felt by people throughout the world, rich or poor. But like so many crises, it is often the poorest whose lives are disproportionately affected, and particularly those living in developing countries which are less well-equipped to respond to its most life-altering consequences. Just as we have seen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, climate change has the potential to wipe out decades of progress in improving the lives and livelihoods of people living in the developing the world, and now is the time for collective action.

At GIF we are eager to play our part through reducing our own footprint, and I am pleased to announce our commitment as an organisation to reaching net-zero carbon emissions. As part of this we look forward to engaging with campaigns such as the UN’s Race to Zero, and understanding how we can contribute towards the shift to a decarbonised economy as we approach COP26. We were also delighted to sign His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Terra Carta through the Sustainable Markets Initiative, and we look forward to engaging with other like-minded organisations through this platform to think about how we can most effectively contribute to accelerating global progress towards a sustainable future.

As we mark Earth Day 2021, world leaders are meeting virtually for the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, organised by President Biden. As an innovation fund focused on achieving outsized social impact for people living on less than $5 a day, we welcome the emphasis that nations are placing not only on the enormous potential of climate action to spur job creation, prevent global temperatures from rising, and create new technologies to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, but also how a greater collective commitment to improving the state of our climate can directly help vulnerable countries to adapt to its worst effects.

We at GIF are thinking carefully about the role that we can play as investors in impact at the nexus of innovation and climate change, and how we can use our funding to support initiatives focused on climate adaptation and mitigation to bring about transformative change in the lives of the most vulnerable people and communities. See below for examples of how current investments in our portfolio are tackling the climate change challenge.

As we go through this process, we are keen to hear from those who are already making great strides in this space: if there are interesting examples of approaches to funding climate that we should be aware of, or experts we should talk to, please reach out to us either through Twitter or via [email protected].

If you are an entrepreneur working at the intersection of climate and gender and you think your work aligns with GIF’s focus on improving the lives of the world’s poorest people, we’d love to hear from you! More information about our mission and model and our funding criteria can be found through our open window for funding applications, which is available here.