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Charity calls for financial support for innovation to beat coronavirus and climate change

Ashden is calling for more backing for sustainable solutions to help struggling communities around the world build back better and combat the duel impact of Covid-19 and climate change.

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In Yemen, microgrids grids were created by local entrepreneurs, many of them women
In Yemen, microgrids grids were created by local entrepreneurs, many of them women

Climate charity Ashden is calling for more backing for sustainable solutions to help struggling communities around the world “build back better”.

 

Its report, Powering Better Work, shows how climate solutions are creating vital incomes for communities struggling with the duel impact of coronavirus and climate change.

 

It highlights though that urgent financial support is needed to see visionary low-carbon organisations and businesses through this health and economic crisis, so they can continue providing long-term social, economic and climate benefits during and after the pandemic.

 

Poverty line

 

The coronavirus crisis is a huge threat to the livelihoods of already marginalised people. Even before the pandemic struck, 731 million people lived with an income below the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.90 a day. The United Nations predicts the pandemic will push 100 million into extreme poverty during 2020.

 

The report illustrates a number of innovative projects creating impact around the world including community-owned solar microgrids and green building companies. It gives examples of how innovators have adapted to the pandemic quickly, using their networks and knowledge to shift from the climate crisis to the coronavirus crisis. It also shows how climate solutions bring an enormous range of further benefits.

 

In Yemen, for instance, where war has destroyed the country’s infrastructure and economy, mini solar power stations have brought higher incomes and reliable energy to communities, providing a ‘power lifeline’ to the country.

 

The grids were created by groups of local entrepreneurs – many of them women – thanks to grants and support from the United Nations Development Programme. The report shows grid owners earn a better living, while their neighbours’ electricity costs have more than halved.

 

In the Amazon, reforestation through native seed collection and dispersion is key to reforesting degraded land and protecting forests from future fires and is also creating a vital income for threatened agricultural and indigenous communities, who have the skills and knowledge to protect the rainforest.

 

Seed collection network Rede de Sementes do Xingu co-ordinates seed collectors, administrators and buyers in the state of Mato Grosso and to date seeds supplied by the network have reforested more than 6,600 hectares of degraded rainforest.

“The coronavirus pandemic will not affect us all equally. Those living in poverty are most in danger. Often, these same communities are most at risk from the climate crisis”

“The coronavirus pandemic will not affect us all equally. Those living in poverty are most in danger. Often, these same communities are most at risk from the climate crisis,” writes Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb in the report.

 

“By investing in climate action, we create better work for the worst off – work that simultaneously tackles poverty and protects the planet, bringing benefits today and tomorrow.

 

“In recent months, grassroots climate enterprises and organisations, including many listed in this report, have been challenged like never before. Supply chains are disrupted, finance has dried up, and customers simply cannot pay,” said Lamb.

 

“However, innovators have adapted with breath-taking speed – often pivoting their operations or taking on new roles, such as delivering healthcare supplies, always driven by the values at their core.”

 

“The coronavirus pandemic is the most immediate threat facing our world. But the climate emergency looms behind it. Better work can address both challenges and lay the foundations for a radically different future. Providing work that generates a decent income – as well as being safe, stable and dignified – is vital.”

 

The report highlights four key qualities of better work – it draws on the knowledge of local communities, addresses the interlocking challenges faced by marginalised people, harnesses the power of co-operation, and builds resilience.

 

Ashden has urged funders, investors and policy-makers to look for evidence of these four qualities as they seek to support climate and livelihoods innovation.

 

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