Even with rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, changes in the climate system will continue to unfold over the coming decades. The scientific community has established that the poorest regions will be the most severely affected. Owing to rapid economic growth, developing countries are also likely to become the next biggest contributors to global warming.
For many companies, the risks associated with climate change will be enough to drive action. For others, opportunities for current or future business activities will be an added incentive, but this hasn’t necessarily been beneficial to the most vulnerable populations. For Social Enterprises (SEs), this means sizing up the market opportunities and finding innovative ways to help those most in need.
SEs do not tackle climate change in a ‘silo’. There are two main ways in which SEs play a role in the fight against climate change, while creating positive social impact. First, SEs help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by bringing low carbon energy sources to the disadvantaged population and by encouraging sustainable farming practices. Some SEs help preserve forests as livelihood and ‘carbon sinks’ while others help to change the behaviours or locals and encouraging energy conservation.
Second, SEs help the most disadvantage populations adapt to the impacts of climate change. SEs are closest to the local challenges and can bring about innovative, affordable and much needed services such as flood defence, weather resilient crops, healthcare and micro-insurance instruments to help farmers cope with changing weather patterns.
A recent report from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimated that the global cost of adaptation could range from USD 49 to 171 billion per year globally. So far, most private sector efforts have been initiated by large corporations. By helping SEs in Asia gain access to capital, IIX and Shujog plan to help them play a greater role in the global fight against climate change. IIX and Shujog believe a challenge of this scale can only be tackled with the understanding of the intrinsic link between societies and their natural environment.
Photo credit: Donna Lanzanas