Climate + Poverty

Confronting Climate Change and Improving Livelihoods

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. Its impacts will profoundly alter our world and reshape human societies and natural systems in ways we can scarcely imagine.

The impacts will be faced disproportionately by those least able to bear the consequences. The climate crisis will reduce access to drinking water, negatively affect the health of low-income populations, and pose a threat to food security in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By 2030, these effects will bring the total number of people living in extreme poverty around the world to one billion. Annual global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut drastically and immediately.

King Philanthropies is confronting climate change and improving livelihoods by investing in solutions that, brought to scale, will decrease greenhouse emissions while producing significant economic benefits for those in poverty.

Approach

At King Philanthropies, we seek to meaningfully combat global poverty while contributing to net-zero emissions by 2050. We invest in innovation and turn data into action, seeking to catalyze movements in the following four areas of focus:

Decarbonizing livelihoods

It is as technologically feasible as it is imperative to reach a net-zero emissions goal. We invest in impactful innovations that will bring this goal within reach by aiding in the construction of renewable energy sources throughout the developing world, decarbonizing access to clean water, and innovating transportation systems.

Decarbonizing industry

Industries like steel, cement, and chemical products are central to our modern way of life but are also responsible for nearly 40% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Low-income countries have an opportunity to leapfrog more developed nations and build a low-carbon industrial sector from the ground up. We aim to invest in efforts to decarbonize this space and drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth, all the while slowing down the rate of global warming.

Fixing food and enhancing nutrition

Even though people living in low-income countries grow much of the world’s food, millions suffer from malnutrition and see their crops go to waste each year as a result of extreme weather events and a lack of food storage systems. Food waste in turn adds to global greenhouse emissions. We invest in innovations that prevent food spoilage, decarbonize food production, and make nutritious foods more easily accessible.

Protecting nature

One of the most important areas in which we invest is the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems. We partner with organizations that are at the forefront of blue carbon conservation, working toward protecting invaluable natural resources like mangrove and kelp forests which are essential to the livelihoods of millions of people. We also support organizations that educate the next generation of advocates in the fight to mitigate climate change.

Climate Grants

The following grants position King Philanthropies at the forefront of a critical global effort to decarbonize the future of economic development.

Climate grants

Flagship Grants

King Climate Action Initiative
(K-CAI)

A signature element of our work is the recent creation of the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI), a joint effort of King Philanthropies and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The goal of K-CAI is to design, test, and evaluate interventions that simultaneously address climate change and poverty. K-CAI also works with decision-makers to catalyze the scaling of high-impact, evidence-based policy solutions.

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A second signature element of our work is our funding for MethaneSAT, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Because methane emissions drive the rate of global warming in the short term more rapidly than any other greenhouse gas, reducing them is critical to averting catastrophic damages that harm vulnerable populations. EDF is developing what will become the most advanced methane tracking satellite in space. By generating publicly available data on worldwide methane emissions, MethaneSAT aims to catalyze global action to achieve a 45% reduction in oil and gas emissions by 2025. King Philanthropies also supports EDF’s climate program (which works with policymakers and business leaders in China, Europe, India, and the United States) and several additional initiatives, including low-cost air quality sensors in India and nature-based climate solutions.

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KP Climate Impact Investment Fund

A problem as novel and complicated as climate change requires novel, innovative approaches to solve it. At King Philanthropies, we invest in the most impactful and transformative climate solutions that will contribute to net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poorest. We leverage deep expertise and networks to identify and invest in high-performing ventures solving the world’s toughest climate challenges. We believe the most impactful companies of our time will utilize breakthrough technologies to solve systemic climate problems in a profitable, scalable way. We back these founders and support their ideas, which will make a meaningful difference in the fight to create a sustainable climate.

Climate solutions fund

Flagship Investments

Six hundred million people in Africa live without access to electricity. Energicity is developing solar-powered mini-grids that can bring clean energy electric power to impoverished communities in West Africa. With funding from King Philanthropies, Energicity will be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of close to half a million people by expanding clean energy electricity provisions to Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo, Senegal, and Liberia.

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This innovative startup tackles food waste through groundbreaking technologies that reduce waste via all-natural methods with minimal supply chain disruption. Ryp Lab’s biomimicry-based stickers and sachets greatly extend the shelf life of produce by fighting postharvest disease, over-ripening, and premature spoilage. With stickers formulated from specific compounds for each type of produce, they can protect against post-harvest bacteria, resulting in a 15-30% decrease in food waste.

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The WHO predicts that by the middle of this decade, half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas as droughts become more frequent. In light of this, King Philanthropies is thrilled to invest in SOURCE, an incredible breakthrough technology that uses the power of the sun to extract clean drinking water from the air. Imagine solar panels, but instead of electricity, the panels produce water. The hydropanels require no existing infrastructure and can be installed anywhere from homes to schools and worksites. Already installed in more than 50 countries, these hydropanels have incredible power to change the way communities that are most in need access clean drinking water.

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Mootral is founded on the notion that we can’t slow climate change without some help from cows. When cows (and other ruminants) digest their food, they release methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. Mootral’s innovative cattle feed reduces methane emissions from cows up to 40%, and farmers signed up with Mootral can sell carbon credits to customers who want to offset the pollution generated by milk production.

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All initiatives