Climate

A Question of Scale for Off-grid Energy Access

The Northern state of Uttar Pradesh was described as dazzling cities surrounded by an inky black sea, in an Economist article titled “Out of the Gloom” in 2013. The vast gap of access to energy in India is symptomatic of the gap between these islands of prosperity amongst seas of paucity (Dreze and Sen, 2013), where conservative estimates suggest that 300 million people do not have access to reliable energy. The Government, at both the Central and State level, is trying to bridge this gap. During the presentation of the annual budget for 2017, the Indian Government has promised complete electrification by 1st May 2018, allocating over 48 billion rupees, or approximately US$ 750 million, towards electrifying rural villages in India.

In contrast to Government-led intervention, in the densely populated states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, a number of ‘Impact Enterprises’ have used market-based solutions to bridge the gap for the ‘Base of the Pyramid’ (BoP) through renewable energy. They range from those that provide lighting products, including Solar Home Systems, to small-scale Direct Current (DC) pico-grids to larger Alternating Current (AC) mini-grids. Each solution is relevant to a different aspect of the energy access ladder.

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Can Big Corporations Save Us from Climate Change?

Hope is a rare commodity in these times. Despite the growing awareness of the global socio-economic-environmental challenges, the poor economic climate is causing philanthropy budgets to come under pressure—for individuals, governments, and not least, corporations. With respect to the last, it portends the end of CSR as we know it – which could, paradoxically, be a good trend. As traditional CSR that are token acts of corporate goodwill become financially burdensome, the need arises for “a system that draws in innovators and businesses… [with] a twin mission [of] making profits and also improving lives for those who don’t fully benefit from market forces”, as Bill Gates expressed cogently in his 2008 Davos speech.

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The Power of Ideas: How Impact Entrepreneurs are Shaping India’s Climate Resilience Agenda?

India is taking decisive strides in shaping the global agenda on climate resilience. Climate resilience refers to the adoption of policies, governance and management structures at the national and community level to cope with the stresses imposed by climate change. To this end, the Indian government has prioritized ecological investments in its budgetary allocations through initiatives such as the Green Energy Corridor project, cleaning up the Ganges river, and investing in solar power projects.

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How This Company is Changing the Game for Food Packaging

In India, where one third of its billion-strong population live in urban areas, the colossal issue of urban waste threatens to take over liveable spaces. As gigantic landfills expire and overflow – some, like in Mumbai, are the size of Central Park in New York and as dated as 90 years old – reducing the amount of disposables that go into the trash is an urgent endeavour.

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Can the Millennial Taste Turn the Tide for Sustainable Fisheries?

“Our planet’s lands and oceans are already stretched to meet the demands of 7 billion people. The human population continues to grow. The search for sustainable solutions is an economic and a moral imperative if we are to create the future we want.”
– Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

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Nature vs Capitalism? Why not both?

When it comes to the planet and banking on its future resources, we have been terrible accountants. It’s no surprise that the balance is nothing short of disastrous. This year, besides surprising ourselves with no flying cars and unsophisticated hover boards, we also discovered that we fell tragically short of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On 18 August, we arrived at Earth Overshoot Day, marking the day at which humanity starts clocking ecological debt for the year.

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Sustaining our Oceans: A Role for Investors in Achieving SDG 14

With the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals last month, countries have set an ambitious agenda to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all over the next 15 years. Among the 17 goals, SDG 14 focuses on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development, including a range of targets from reducing marine pollution and protecting coastal ecosystems to ending illegal fishing and addressing the impacts of climate change on the oceans.

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Unveiling Innovative Market Solutions For Water

Our globe is under constant duress from water problems, with one in nine people lacking access to safe water and about 30,000 deaths arising every week from diseases due to unsafe water and lack of sanitation. Furthermore, the Asia Pacific region has the lowest per capita water availability in the world, with rapid population growth, accelerating economic development, unstable governance, and external shocks such as the recent Nepal Earthquake all exacerbating already challenging circumstances.

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Fire and Water : ‘Fynbos’ Resilience

For the competition, we were particularly moved by an entry submitted to us by Sidney Luckett, a lecturer and photographer based in South Africa, who wrote to us about the “natural resilience” of the Fynbos biome. To illustrate this, he provides stunning visuals of the Protea plants that emerged from the firestorm following felicitous rains. He warns, at the end, that such biomes are at risk of being overrun in the absence of “sound urban planning”.

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Bangladesh: A development story of the past; an impact investing story of the future

One Delta, 156,594,962 people, 26,000 NGOs, 600 Microfinance Institutions, 99th rank on the Social Progress Index (ahead of peer South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation [SAARC] countries: India, Pakistan and Nepal), Five Millennium Development Goals on track for achievement, – Bangladesh has made tremendous developmental progress in the last few decades.

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