Mumbai: The India Climate Collaborative (ICC), founded by notable Indian philanthropists to direct funding and visibility towards climate action, has mobilised INR 45 Crores towards climate action and has increased its domestic philanthropy base six-fold during the last two years. The ICC released their first annual report that encapsulates insights derived on the evolving climate philanthropy ecosystem in India. In addition to details on its work, the report delves into India’s climate funding landscape and specific climate sub-sectors to identify investible opportunity areas that can help elevate India’s climate ecosystem.
Inherent to the ICC’s success has been a collaborative effort with various stakeholders which has enabled the organisation to mobilise INR 45 crores from 30+ domestic and international philanthropic partners, by presenting donors with 25 fundable opportunities across climate subsectors like water, energy, air quality and more. In addition to directly funding 14 projects and research studies, the organisation has facilitated nearly ₹15 Crore in grants to network partners.
Recognising the need for collaboration to enable effective change, one of the ICC’s most prominent founders Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies, said, “This past year has shown us the speed and scale of the many planetary challenges we face. But what has always given me hope is our ability to find ways to respond to our most urgent challenges creatively. In its second year, the India Climate Collaborative is helping us all, as samaaj, bazaar, and sarkaar, leverage the power of good collaboration. Where we can lead with trust and let go of control to truly co-create a path together.”
Climate philanthropy in India has historically been insufficient, but this has been changing – the ICC’s own domestic donor base has increased six-fold, from two to twelve, in just two years. Commenting on the milestone reached, Shloka Nath, Acting CEO, India Climate Collaborative said, “These past two years have been a learning towards both the increasingly urgent need for action and the capacity for real, effective solutions. We have seen the incredible work of our partners evolve, from inception to implementation – and understood how critical they will be, as the world continues to change around us. Climate solutions help us reduce emissions, build resilience, support healthy communities, and protect our natural heritage; it’s wonderful to see that Indian philanthropy is beginning to step up towards making these solutions a reality, but we still have a long way to go.”
Close interactions with the donor community have enabled the ICC to gather insights and forecast trends in the ecosystem, such as (i) Traditional domestic philanthropists will likely continue to focus on funding adaptation-aligned programs for improving rural outcomes, especially as climate impacts worsen. (ii) A growing segment of new-age Indian entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropists from the technology sector unicorns are starting to offer impact-linked capital for climate tech start-ups. (iii) International foundations and philanthropists are beginning to look at India with a climate-first agenda. (iv) The CSR policy environment may evolve to be more favourable towards climate action as this sector gains more traction. (v) Individual giving, which skyrocketed during the pandemic, could emerge as a force for climate action.
Acknowledging ICC’s role as a platform to accelerate climate action in India Ratan Tata, Chairperson, Tata Trusts, said, “On a challenge of this scale and complexity, we need the collective strength of diverse stakeholders along with accelerated ambition. Recognising the need for an apex Indian institution that can enable this, the Tata Trusts incubated the India Climate Collaborative, to enable funding and ambition to flow towards the critical gaps and opportunities in the climate ecosystem. We believe that the ICC can empower India’s philanthropies to become leaders in climate action, both within the country and globally.”
The ICC supports projects that have the potential to scale, maximise impact, and further India’s development goals. Two key projects the ICC has supported are the Council on Energy, Environment and Water’s district-level Climate Risk Atlas, which can inform better decision-making for governments, businesses, and communities; and efforts to pilot and scale-up distributed renewable energy-based cooling at the farm gate, to reduce emissions and increase farmers’ resilience to climate impacts, in collaboration with SELCO Foundation.