Catalysing innovation to fight climate change

The only way to solve the sustainability challenges that we face today, such as climate change, is through collaboration, collective action and innovation. Now is the time for sustainability systems, businesses, governments and civil society to collaborate and co-create innovative climate solutions. Here’s a glimpse of how the ISEAL Innovations Fund is supporting sustainability systems to do just that.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), held in the United Arab Emirates, encouraged nations to unite, act and deliver. There is an urgent need to act on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to find new ways for vulnerable communities to adapt to the effects of climate change. 

This is a complex global issue that requires collaboration amongst multiple stakeholders to understand the challenges and to design effective solutions. The climate emergency has driven individuals, governments, companies and producers to commit to ambitious climate goals.  These stakeholders need the right partners to support them in making the right choices to step closer towards achieving their climate actions – this is where sustainability systems have a key role to play.  

There is no choice but to innovate. We need solutions that work across a complex range of interacting areas; solutions that overcome political, environmental and economic barriers; solutions that drive long-lasting change.  

Rising to this challenge, the Innovations Fund – with support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO – has been supporting ISEAL members to collaborate with a diverse range of stakeholders to explore and test new ways in which sustainability systems can support climate actions: from developing approaches to monitor and verify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to defining good practices for tracking emissions. 

In recognition of the continuing urgency for innovation in this space, a climate-specific funding round was recently launched. The Fund announced support for new projects that will explore innovative ways for sustainability systems to support measurement and verification of GHG emissions, enable climate mitigation and adaptation by small and marginalized producers, and support sector or landscape-level transition pathways.   

With diverse strategies, bold ambitions and credible practices, the ISEAL community of sustainability systems are positioning themselves as trustworthy partners to support private and public sector climate action.

Credible measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions

ISEAL members are embracing innovative strategies and approaches to support companies, supply chain actors and governments to mitigate against climate change. Several members have had specific criteria related to GHG emissions in their standards for some time. However, these are now going beyond GHG inventory requirements to include other criteria, such as monitoring carbon sequestration. 

The Fund previously supported a project led by Gold Standard that brought together several ISEAL members to co-create a blueprint that would harmonise good practices for measuring and reporting on GHG emissions – particularly Scope 3 emissions. Building on the lessons from this project, a new Fund project led by Better Cotton will identify solutions for GHG data collection, accounting, and reporting in agricultural supply chains, and the opportunities and challenges for applying these across different chain of custody models.

Investment in value chain reductions

There has been a significant surge in corporate climate commitments as companies look at ways to reduce GHG emissions within their value chains. Insetting interventions are a way for companies to reduce these emissions by investing in nature-based solutions or other mitigation activities in the companies and areas they source from. However, what does credible insetting look like? The Fund is supporting a new project led by Climate Neutral Group to expand the knowledge base on this relatively new practice. By consolidating existing knowledge and exploring new approaches, this initiative seeks to share good practices on insetting for other sustainability systems to learn from. 

Empowering bold climate action

It is an exciting time for the Innovations Fund as it supports a wide range of scalable, collaborative actions from sustainability systems and their partners to support climate action. Gone are the days of siloed attempts at addressing climate change. We are seeing the emergence of a community-driven response towards a single goal: to mitigate climate change and secure a sustainable climate for the future.

We look forward to working with our members and partners and seeing how these emerging climate actions and approaches can create new avenues and opportunities to scale impact and drive change.