Wednesday, December 03, 2014
The Green Climate Fund
In much of the developing world no one seems to care much about pollution. In Beijing recently the government hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Conference. It wanted to show Beijing, a fascinating and strangely beautiful city, at its best. To help international leaders to breathe, the government gave workers five days off, shut down the factories and only allowed cars on the road on alternate days according to whether they had odd or even number plates. The result was clear blue skies and air you could inhale without coughing, proving that motivation is the biggest driver for change. Once the guests had gone, it was back to the normal dense stench.
Willingness to change takes money as well as motivation, which is why over two years ago the Green Climate Fund was set up. The goal is to help developing nations cut emissions and help thwart climate change. When it was first set up, the fund had less than a million US dollars half of which was allocated to costs associated with getting it start. Now less than thirty months later thirty countries have pledged $9.3 billion. This is a lot of money raised in a pretty short space of time, but how will it get used to support changed business practises in developing countries?
Printers and publishers will have some options to get funding, particularly if they are small to medium sized enterprises. The fund can provide money to such firms in situations where they have no access to conventional financial resources. This all means money to improve their environmental footprint.
Money is also available to small and medium sized firms who want to develop particular green projects or increase existing capacity for reducing emissions. Another option is providing grants for projects. The Fund will also include private sector companies in developing countries who want to support emissions reduction such as insurance companies and local banks and investment funds. In fact there appears to be numerous ways to claim funding if you are in a developing country and have concrete plans for reducing your emissions with a view to contributing to climate change mitigation.
This is all good stuff but printers and publishers are amongst the large cohort of companies in many countries who face severe constraints when it comes to making a change. Apart from the cost, a problem in all countries, there is the difficulty of claiming funds earmarked for businesses committed to environmental impact reduction.
There is another massive barrier to improving private sector engagement with programmes like the Green Climate Fund. Information gaps like not being aware of technological advances, or what resources are required, can lead to failure. In the graphic arts industry we are lucky enough to have a strong and plural trade press, however there are still too many companies reluctant to improve their knowledge. It’s time they looked over the parapets to see what help is available to support their efforts, and it’s time for funding organisations, such as the Green Climate Fund and governments in the developed world, to make funding applications simple. That way more of us might be able to invest in green technologies and especially in clean energy. Then maybe something might start to get done to fix that lethal Beijing smog.
- Laurel Brunner