Carbon reduction: not just a long-term lifesaver

Sensemaking / Carbon reduction: not just a long-term lifesaver

Anna Simpson offers brands a tip for 2015, as ClimateCare celebrates ten years of investment in improved cooking methods.

By Anna Simpson / 10 Nov 2014

While mainstream acceptance of climate change and its risks – both immediate and long-term – is growing, there’s a sluggishness on the part of brands to fund scalable solutions that I, personally, put down partly to a lack of imagination.

We fail to imagine the difference carbon reduction today could make to everything from food supplies to sea level rise in our lifetimes and that of our children. But perhaps more worryingly, this same sluggishness is due to a failure to recognise the difference carbon reduction is actually making to people’s lives today.

Last week, ClimateCare celebrated 10 years of channelling funds to cookstove programmes – which, it says have both cut carbon and improved the lives of over six million people, mainly women and girls.

As many as three billion people cook their daily meals on open fires or rudimentary stoves that cause over four million to die each year from indoor air pollution.

Funds generated to scale the alternatives save lives today, and it’s possible to measure just how many lives that is. The extraordinary thing is that the funds ClimateCare raises through its partnerships are also saving lives in years to come – through avoided carbon emissions. Just how many is more difficult to estimate.

Integrated solutions like this, which protect people and the planet, make business sense in the near-term, through immediate efficiency savings and longer-term returns on investment. Many also meet corporate responsibility goals, contributing to community development or cleaning up air pollution. Yet many brands fail to ask how taking action on environmental issues could also help them achieve their sustainable development goals. They are missing a trick.

Next year, COP21 is going to put the spotlight on efforts to meet development goals. Brands that can demonstrate their contribution, while cutting their emissions, stand to be recognised for their leadership.

Try ClimateCare’s new calculator to see the difference your business can make by supporting Climate+Care programmes.

Anna Simpson is Curator, Futures Centre at Forum for the Future, a proud partner of ClimateCare.

Image credit: ClimateCare

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