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Climate innovators recognised

Innovators tackling climate change were recognised this week at a special 10th anniversary edition of the United Nations Global Climate Action Awards.

Running since 2011, the annual awards added a new Climate Leaders category this year, which recognised ‘transformational and replicable government action at any level’.

Climate Action is essential to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. These award-winning projects show that it can be done, with projects that can be scaled up and replicated.

Momentum for Change, UNFCCC

“This past year, we have seen deadly wildfires and floods in many parts of the world,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August rang the alarm bells, showing that the world is warming faster than scientists previously thought. And the new synthesis report of national climate action plans (NDCs) released recently confirmed that unfortunately we are moving in the wrong direction. We urgently require solutions and actions from everyone: public and private sectors, civil society, academia, investors, cities and regions, etc. The winners of the 2021 UN Global Climate Action Awards provide tangible proof that solutions to tackle the climate crisis exist and that they can be replicated and quickly scaled up. This is what inspiring leadership looks like.”

The winning projects are accelerating exactly the types of change we all want to see in the world, and included the world’s first renewable island in Denmark and a leading debt-financing provider for distributed solar energy in Africa. Have a browse at all the winners: 

Climate Neutral Now: 

  • Microsoft | Global: Carbon neutral since 2012, Microsoft is now committing to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975 by 2050.
     
  • Taylors of Harrogate | United Kingdom: An independent family tea and coffee business whose carbon neutral product certification is from ‘field to supermarket shelf’ accounting for all the emissions from cultivating, processing and shipping its tea and coffee.
     
  • ICA Gruppen | Sweden: Sweden’s leading food retailer is going beyond climate neutrality to achieving a net zero impact from the Group’s own operations by 2030 and cutting the climate impact from customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030. 
     
  • House of Baukjen | United Kingdom: A London-based fashion house whose business and operations follow in every way the circular economy ideal, from production to materials being cycled, and does so while being carbon negative.

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment: 

  • SunFunder | Africa: The leading debt-financing provider for distributed solar in Africa and other emerging regions, bringing access to energy and long-term climate investments. To date, it has closed over USD 150 million in loans to 57 solar companies.
     
  • Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance | Multi-regional: The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance network accelerates well-designed financial instruments that can unlock billions towards a sustainable, inclusive, net zero economy, while also reducing private investors’ risks.
     
  • Energise Africa | Africa: A UK crowdfunding platform enabling people to support renewable energy projects (home solar) in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, it has raised over £25 million in investments from everyday people putting their money to work for climate action and the SDGs.
     
  • Self-reliance & Solar in the West Bank & Gaza | State of Palestine: The first private sector investments in domestic power supply to help jump-start renewables and support economic development in the West Bank and Gaza, supported by the International Finance Corporation.

Climate Leaders: 

  • City of Paris | France: By 2050, the City of Paris aims to reduce local emissions by 100%, achieving the goal of zero emissions in Paris, promoting an 80% reduction in the carbon footprint of Paris compared to 2004 levels.
     
  • Samsø | Denmark: Denmark’s municipality of the island of Samsø has completely transformed its energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy, becoming the world’s first renewable energy island.
     
  • Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara | Mexico: The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara Climate Action Plan, launched at the end of 2020, is the first instrument of its kind, built on a metropolitan scale in Mexico and within the C40 Network.

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Written By

Iain is an experienced writer, journalist and lecturer, who held editorships with a number of business focussed publications before co-founding and becoming editor of Innovators Magazine. Iain is also the strategic director for OnePoint5Media.

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