ImpactAlpha, October 24 – Gender-lens investing’s next big thing: integrating gender considerations across climate action and other investment themes.
Investors channeled more than $600 billion into climate-related investments last year. Gender-lens investing attracted less than $20 billion. But investing at the intersection of climate and gender is the key to meeting nearly all of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Imagine if all the billions mobilized for climate had a gender and inclusion lens,” said GenderSmart’s Sana Kapadia at the organization’s summit in London last week, which gathered more than 400 investors, practitioners and field-builders (the organization will rebrand as 2X Global when it merges with 2X Collaborative in January).
Bringing a gender lens to climate innovation can surface talent, innovation and market needs, according to GenderSmart’s new “State of the Field“ report. Gender and diversity are also key to ensuring a just transition. Women and girls in many parts of the world have emerged as critical climate leaders.
“For most investors, climate and gender are viewed as separate arenas,” says GenderSmart’s Suzanne Biegel. “When we invest with both a climate and gender lens, our money goes further.”
Gender + climate
The models that exist in public and private markets are the exception rather than the rule. The U.N.’s Green Climate Fund has embedded a gender mandate in its decision making. Sydney-based New Forests’ African forest conservation fund is targeting gender-related impacts for at least a third of its investments.
“Addressing the climate emergency in Africa must include gender-smart actions,” said Clarisa De Franco of British International Investment, which backed New Forests’ fund.
Adasina Social Capital’s JSTC ETF focuses on gender, racial, climate and economic justice themes. Women-led venture firm Chloe Capital launched a climate tech accelerator to support women founders.
Incubating new ideas
“Climate finance has not sufficiently tapped into women’s potential,” according to the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance. The lab, managed by the Climate Policy Initiative, helps develop and launch novel financial instruments to address stubborn climate funding gaps. Last week, it called for ideas that address both gender equality and climate mitigation or adaptation, explaining that “more efforts are needed to intentionally disrupt the systems that underlie disproportionate climate impacts on women and prevent them from accessing climate finance.”