Support for projects in developing countries can transform the lives of poor communities

Support for projects in developing countries can transform the lives of the poor communities. For that reason, some companies invest money in this kind of initiatives.

A decade ago, a project was launched to finance safer, cleaner cook stoves through a scheme that combined carbon reduction and corporate social investment. This pilot has since expanded to about 50 such projects worldwide. ClimateCare is the specialist behind the initiative and his director, Edward Hanrahan, is proud of that.

Nearly 45% of the world’s population prepares meals on open fires. This is dangerous, dirty and very polluting. So, this initiative can help to reduce emissions. One example is The Gyapa Improved Stove project in Ghana. It has improved the lives of 2.4 million Ghanaians, cutting more than 1m tonnes of carbon emissions and creating more than 800 jobs in the process.

Sustainability-minded companies can derive dual benefits from their support for such an integrated project. First, there is the clear humanitarian benefit derived from safer cooking. Second, the company can offset some of its own carbon emissions.

Funding is flexible, says ClimateCare’s director. The total volume of carbon reductions and other project outcomes are calculated annually and, in a typical funding arrangement, a company will buy offset credits in accordance with its internal offsetting targets.

On the other hand, one of the challenges of investing in social development projects is calculating impacts. The advantage of an integrated climate and development project is that mechanisms are built in from the start, to measure the annual emissions reductions that finance the project.

Another key consideration for companies investing is to look at their internal management structures. To be successful, development projects must be aligned to the aims of the business. And, ideally, projects will be designed to appeal to employees and customers alike. Involving employees in selecting which project to support is often a powerful way of gaining internal engagement.


maria soler