Mumbai: India Climate Collaborative (ICC), a collective dedicated to accelerating climate action, is determined to expedite efforts in addressing climate change in India by tackling critical funding gaps for the country’s home-grown climate solutions. To bolster corporate grant funding (CSR) for climate action and supplement India’s ambitious climate goals, the India Climate Collaborative has launched Earth Exponential, a platform that brings together funders and non-profit organisations to scale up high-impact climate change programmes and improve climate funding efficiency.
Over the past seven years (2015-2021), out of the total CSR funding of INR 67,193.41 crores rupees a mere INR 6,183.04 crore has been allocated to environment-related issues. This number is still broader than climate funding – which is focused on the sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change and is not clearly tracked. With climate change emerging as a global priority for this decade, there is a pressing need to bring more funding into the sector. Some of India’s most climate-vulnerable regions like Northeast India are also chronically underfunded, receiving only 1.78 per cent (that is, only INR 110.6 crore in the last seven years) of the CSR funds allocated to environment-related issues.
However, ICC’s engagement with more than 40 mid-size corporates in India reveals a promising trend. More than 80 per cent of these corporates have expressed interest in funding climate projects. Despite this enthusiasm, the actual allocation towards the environment sector stands at a meagre 9.2 per cent. This substantial disparity underscores the urgent need to bridge the gap between the aspiration to fund climate action and the tangible funding of projects with a climate lens in India.
Extensive interactions within the climate ecosystem led the India Climate Collaborative to recognise that non-profit organisations across the country are pioneering community-focused, cost-effective climate solutions that address socio-economic priorities. However, for these solutions to make a significant impact, they require increased visibility and funding support.
Earth Exponential, supported by JSW Foundation, aims to reshape climate funding in India by curating, evaluating and displaying home-grown climate projects, and enabling them to scale by matching them to funders. With a strong commitment to equity and addressing the climate crisis for India’s most vulnerable, the platform empowers CSR funders to drive impactful climate initiatives and explore new possibilities for funding climate action.
“India’s home-grown climate solutions offer immense potential to solve address climate change without leaving anyone behind. These solutions can change how the developing world addresses the climate crisis – and we believe philanthropy plays a crucial role in unleashing this potential for the benefit of both India and the Global South. We also need philanthropy to build capabilities and capacity of non-profits so they can address both climate and development challenges. By connecting funders and non-profits, Earth Exponential aims to build a climate ecosystem and increase the efficiency of climate funding,” said Shloka Nath, CEO of the India Climate Collaborative.
Talking about the potential of Earth Exponential platform to create a significant impact, Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation, said, “Collaboration is key for innovation and development. There is an urgent need to address the critical gaps that could pose challenges on our roadmap to achieve the target of net zero by 2070. Earth Exponential aims to address some of these challenges by bringing together funders and non-profit organisations to address and plug these critical gaps through innovative, homegrown solutions.”
While the platform is open to all funders, at present it addresses key challenges that CSR funders face – given how India’s corporate sector is rapidly setting sustainability commitments, which have a ripple effect on their CSR. This includes having measurable outcomes for all projects featured on the platform, ensuring that all featured organisations meet compliance requirements, and span across a wide geographic range.
The platform builds knowledge around five solution areas where climate projects are housed, namely: Farms, Cities, Nature, Resilience, and Jobs. These areas are relevant to climate change both from the perspective of reducing emissions and building resilience to mounting climate stresses. Additionally, they align with the existing priorities of development funders, including CSR initiatives, ensuring a strategic match and maximising impact. Through Earth Exponential, funders can explore the climate solutions landscape and engage with credible organisations implementing best-in-class projects in the country.