Climate Change

Norway, Unilever setting up $400-million fund for ‘resilient socioeconomic development’

Under the UN Climate Resilience Initiative, public and private partners are coming together to help countries and communities anticipate and absorb climate risks

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 14 November 2017

There is a need to increase environmentally responsible investing. Credit: Pixabay The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season and its devastating impacts have brought the world’s attention to the fact that they need to invest urgently in making societies climate-resilient. Today, at the ongoing UN Climate Conference in Bonn, Norway and Unilever made a commitment today of US$ 400 million to stimulate resilient social development.

At the Global Climate Action Resilience Day, government leaders, business heads and leaders from civil society stressed on the fact that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change were not separate objectives but a single goal.

At a roundtable discussion, Vidar Helgesen, the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, said, “I am pleased to announce that Norway with Unilever and other partners is setting up a new $400 million fund to invest in business models that combine investments in high productivity agriculture, smallholder inclusion and forest protection. This should be only one of many new public and private investments in more resilient socioeconomic development.”

Investment by the public and private sector

Speaking at the roundtable session on building climate resilience, Roelfien Kuijpers, Head of Responsible Investments and Global Head of Strategic Relationships of Deutsche Asset Management, said, “For many years, investors haven’t been able to fully assess climate change risks. Big data initiatives, such as the work of Four Twenty Seven, are allowing investors to do this and reduce the climate risks to their portfolios. This is an important step but more is needed to limit climate change risks, increase environmentally responsible investing, and to improve the disclosure of climate risks by companies.”

The importance of public and private partnerships to assess and reduce risks was highlighted by Simon Young of Willis Towers Watson and the Insurance Development Forum. "To build climate resilience we must first understand the risks and how to assess them. The insurance sector working through public-private partnerships can do this, so that communities and businesses can not only anticipate risks but absorb, cope and rebound from them,” said Young.

Understanding the science and working with nature

Johan Rockström, the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said that investing in resilience enables communities to navigate increasing climate stresses and also reduces climate risks by triggering innovative thinking on developing fossil-fuel free societies.

Inger Andersen, director general of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said, “Well-functioning ecosystems are critical to reducing these risks while boosting the resilience of those that are most vulnerable. For example, maintaining mangrove forests are a cost-effective nature-based solution.”

“The UN Climate Resilience Initiative is an excellent example of how public and private partners are coming together to help countries and communities anticipate and absorb climate risks, and to reshape development for sustainability,” said Rene Castro, assistant director general of FAO.

For a region to become climate-resilient, its people and economy need to understand and anticipate climate risks and hazards and cope with the impact of shocks and stresses when they occur.

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