The world faces many challenges: the increase in geopolitical conflict causing massive migration and destabilising access to agricultural materials and energy sources; a demographic explosion in certain developing countries; difficulties providing access to education for all; inequality, unemployment and poverty. According to the UN, 1.2 billion people (15% of the world’s population), live on less than one dollar a day and 4 billion (61% of the world’s population) live on an income of $365 to $3,000 per year . Finally, and perhaps most urgently, climate change is leading to rising sea levels and an increase in the number of natural disasters that will disrupt nature and biodiversity. These challenges will have consequences in years to come, notably generating new social tensions. Our activities have increasingly profound and global implications that impact the planet, the oceans, our climate, our cities and surely our lives.
What can we do to start the change?
The work carried out by governments, development aid organisations and NGOs contributes significantly to this. However, this is not enough. We need to move up a gear because time is running out. Investment requirements are huge, with annual funding shortfalls at more than USD 1.7 trillion, according to OECD estimates . The private sector’s involvement in these changes is obvious: impact investing is one of the responses needed to address these issues to foster the emergence of a low-carbon and more socially inclusive economy. Impact investors target companies whose business models are based on sustainable technologies, affordable healthcare, fair education, responsible agriculture, consumption and clean energy. For example, Norway-listed Scatec Solar provides solar power at attractive prices. As a result, it has a double positive impact, on the climate and on disadvantaged populations. This company is present in many countries where a segment of the population is poor, including Rwanda, Mozambique, Egypt, South Africa and Jordan. In 2021, it generated revenues of more than €470 million and income of €29 million . Its work is recognised by the World Bank and many development banks.