AVPN, the largest network of social investors in Asia, announced the launch of the APAC Sustainability Seed Fund (SSF) 2.0, with the continued support of Google.org and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The US$5 million catalytic initiative will be disbursed to non-profit organisations that leverage technology to address climate and sustainability challenges in the Asia Pacific region.
The inaugural Fund was launched in June 2022 and successfully awarded US$3 million to 13 grantees that proposed innovative approaches to address the disastrous impacts of climate change for vulnerable and underserved communities across the region.
In a statement AVPN said the Asia Pacific region, which is 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 threat of the ongoing 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 GDP by 2050. It is critical to identify and accelerate innovative solutions that can drive real change, AVPN says.
From the success of the first Fund, the APAC SSF 2.0 seeks to nurture and amplify more solutions developed by non-profit organisations that harness technology for climate adaptation and mitigation, while safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable populations in the Asia Pacific.
Other than providing financial support for the grantees, this round of Fund will also offer networking opportunities and capacity building to improve the organisations’ technology-led solutions.
Most Vulnerable Communities
With this launch, AVPN also announced the commencement of its research study on the climate tech ecosystem. The study aims to identify potential solutions and constraints of 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 (GHG) 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 from 23 to 25 April 2024.
“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 organisations on the ground, as well as policymakers and social investors, to harvest the potential of climate tech for social good”, said Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO, of AVPN.
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, increased its funding for APAC SSF 2.0, driven by the success of the inaugural fund launch and the growing urgency of extreme weather events.
“In the search for solutions to address the climate crisis, many impact organisations are exploring technologies such as AI and we see the impact through our past grantees’ work. By supporting more impact organisations 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 Marija Ralic, Google.org APAC Lead.
ADB is the strategic and outreach partner for APAC SSF 2.0, which will support with amplifying the fund to impact organisations 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 organisations in leveraging technology to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts,” said Jason Rush, Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB.
From now till 15 December 2023, non-profit organisations operating technology-led climate adaptation and/or mitigation solutions within Asia Pacific may express their interest in funding.