When it comes to climate resilience, gender matters
As the climate crisis continues to escalate, the focus is not only on how we can mitigate and adapt to climate change, but also on how to foster resilience in the communities most affected by it. .
We know that the impacts of climate change are unequally distributed, with women, communities of color and countries in the Global South bearing the disproportionate burden of climate disasters and resource shortages. We also know that climate resilience and financial resilience go hand in hand. If communities are not economically stable, they will not be prepared for climate disasters, whether it is having access to well-built green houses, being insured against climate disasters or having water systems. safe and accessible water supply or access to energy in the event of a water or energy emergency.
And if communities are not climate-resilient, they will not be economically resilient in an increasingly climate-uncertain world.
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It’s not just a matter of justice. It is also an imperative for businesses and the public sector. If you’re a company with large warehouses in Houston, for example, you need sustainable power in case the power grid fails in the wake of a hurricane. If your business is in the food industry, you need local, resilient supply chains that can withstand climate shocks, crops that can thrive in different weather conditions, and transportation options that work in the event of a climate disaster. . Food, housing (including heating and cooling), health care, energy, water, communications, etc., all elements of local resilience.
To achieve this, we need strong infrastructure and sustainable local businesses in all sectors that are part of a climate-resilient economy, all informed by local expertise and creating good green jobs. We must also ensure that women, and especially women of color, are involved in all parts of the value chain: as leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, customers and investors.
Only by recognizing talent and innovation in frontline communities will we create businesses and solutions that are financially viable, with the social license to operate in the communities they serve and that actually solve the problems they are meant to solve.
Fortunately, for resilience-focused investors, there are a growing number of opportunities to invest and co-create opportunities for gender-responsive solutions in frontline communities. Energy is a starting point. As Wahleah Johns, co-founder of Native Renewables, said in a recent article, “When a community becomes electrified, entrepreneurship, innovation, and solidarity can thrive.” This is true all over the world.
Navajo Power, a utility company co-founded by a woman, develops large-scale clean energy projects on Native American tribal lands, seeking to maximize economic benefits for local communities. Currently, she is developing solar and storage projects to help the Navajo Nation transition from coal-fired to renewable energy. In the next phase, he will expand his model with tribes in the Southwest and beyond.
Mākhers Studio, a woman-of-color-founded green manufacturing company and Atlanta-based design-build studio, seeks to build what it calls “prosilient communities” by providing the infrastructure and tools that marginalized communities need to grow and maintain their economic well-being. Its unique modular spaces are used to provide affordable housing, business space and essential community centers, and the company prides itself on creating good green jobs for women, minorities and LGBTQ contractors.
Farm From a Box, created by a joint co-founding team, combines irrigation, energy and climate-smart technology in a single container, helping communities restart food production after natural disasters, creating new opportunities livelihoods and create resilient and sustainable sources of nutritious food. Developed in collaboration with local communities, it is a highly scalable solution that is as relevant in Tanzania as it is in the United States.
On the financing side, Root Capital has worked to increase gender equity in agriculture through its Women in Agriculture initiative, partnering with Value for Women to improve women’s climate resilience in agriculture. Central American agroforestry cooperatives and mapping climate vulnerability and resilience alongside gender. -based vulnerabilities. In 2020, he qualified as a 2X investor of DFC, the US Development Finance Institution.
These are not marginal concerns. Climate resilience is already a top priority for national security and defense policy, recognized as essential for everything from food security to poverty to violence prevention. As investors look for opportunities to reduce risk and identify opportunities for growth and innovation, they also need to be on the lookout.
How can you get involved?
- If you are already funding climate adaptation, start by considering how you can do it with more intentionality around gender, race, poverty and ethnic diversity to unlock real resilience with opportunities for innovation and reduce risk.
- If you are able to partner with the public sector, you can improve the financial success of your initiatives by ensuring that the skills and expertise of the entire community are leveraged — as leaders, innovators, employees and customers. .
- In your private investments, how can you expand your pipeline to attract innovators you currently miss?
Ultimately, bringing a gender lens to climate resilience investments will help you both identify and mitigate potential risks while uncovering new opportunities for investment, innovation and impact. As Sharron McPherson of Green Jobs Machine said at a recent event we spoke to together, when it comes to climate resilience, we are only as strong as our weakest link, and that is one of the strongest. great opportunities of our generation.
It is high time we worked together to strengthen the whole system. What will be your contribution?