Call for Applications: $5-Million Seed Fund to Bolster Asia–Pacific Fight against Climate Change
Nonprofit organizations with innovative technology solutions that harness technology for climate adaptation and mitigation are invited to apply for grants under a $5-million seed fund launched by social investor network AVPN, with Google.org and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In a news release, AVPN said the Asia–Pacific Sustainability Seed Fund (SSF) 2.0 will be disbursed to nonprofit organizations that leverage technology to address climate and sustainability challenges in the region. The inaugural fund was launched in June 2022 and awarded $3 million to 13 grantees that proposed innovative approaches to address the impacts of climate change for vulnerable and underserved communities across the region.
Addressing the climate crisis
The Asia–Pacific region, home to 60% of the world’s population, is warming faster than the global average, placing its population at risk of heat stress and extreme weather. Heavy reliance on natural resources, dense coastal populations, institutional vulnerabilities, and pervasive poverty are some of the social factors that compound the climate crisis for the Asia–Pacific.
In the absence of climate-oriented development, over 100 million people living in Asia could be forced into extreme poverty by 2030, and the region might lose up to 3.3% of its gross domestic product by 2050. It is critical to identify and accelerate innovative solutions that can drive real change.
The APAC SSF 2.0 seeks to nurture and amplify more solutions developed by nonprofits that harness technology for climate adaptation and mitigation, while safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable populations in the region. Apart from the grants, this round of the fund will also offer networking opportunities and capacity building to improve organizations’ technology-led solutions.
AVPN also announced the commencement of a study on the climate tech ecosystem. The study aims to examine climate tech across social sectors and produce evidence-based action documents for social investors and policymakers to accelerate the responsible adoption of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the climate crisis. A recent study by BCG found that AI has the potential to help mitigate 5%–10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030—the equivalent of the total annual emissions of the European Union. The insights and recommendations of the research study will be shared at AVPN’s flagship Global Conference, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on 23 to 25 April 2024.
Need for transformative, scalable solutions
“The climate crisis affects us all, yet Asia in particular faces some of the most devastating effects of the climate crisis—all while being under-resourced to cope with the effects. We can no longer just discuss the topic; the urgency of the climate crisis in Asia necessitates transformative, scalable solutions, which technology could present. AVPN is optimistic about the potential of climate tech to contribute towards averting the climate crisis. Our mission is to support both impact organizations on the ground, as well as policymakers and social investors, to harvest the potential of climate tech for social good," said AVPN CEO Naina Subberwal Batra.
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, increased the funding for APAC SSF 2.0, encouraged by the success of the inaugural fund, while noting the growing threats from extreme weather events.
“In the search for solutions to address the climate crisis, many impact organizations are exploring technologies such as AI and we see the impact through our past grantees’ work. By supporting more impact organizations from Asia–Pacific with funding and capacity-building programs, we hope to nurture solutions that leverage the necessary technologies like machine learning and beyond to meet shared climate goals at scale and on time," said Google.org APAC Lead Marija Ralic.
As the strategic and outreach partner for the seed fund, ADB will help amplify the search for organizations with technology-led climate action solutions.
“Asia–Pacific is in urgent need of innovative solutions to protect its most vulnerable communities from the devastating effects of climate change. The Sustainability Seed Fund 2.0 will support local impact organizations in leveraging technology to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts,” said ADB Southeast Asia Department Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist Jason Rush.
Nonprofits may submit their expression of interest until 15 December 2023. Those who have already indicated their interest will receive an invitation to submit a more detailed project proposal.