Hong Kong – A new report surveying over 1,000 young social entrepreneurs across 25 markets in Asia Pacific highlighted climate change as a global emergency, placing the spotlight on how this group is taking bold steps to address climate challenges. Those surveyed were increasingly involved with developing climate solutions and working with organizations that were taking action to minimize the negative environmental impact of their operations.
The report found that 85 percent of young social entrepreneurs faced challenges in advancing climate action. Among this group, access to adequate financial resources emerged as the biggest obstacle to advancing climate action, with 68 percent of respondents identifying it as a challenge. A lack of connection to relevant partners and absence of education and training were listed as the second and third biggest obstacles according to 55 percent and 46 percent of respondents, respectively.
Peter Babej, Chief Executive Officer, Citi Asia Pacific said, "We are working with clients and other partners across Citi's global network to help close gaps highlighted in this report and build a sustainable future. Social entrepreneurs play a critical role in this effort, and we are committed to supporting this inspirational group in developing innovative sustainable solutions."
In 2020 and 2021, Citi financed and facilitated $222 billion in sustainable finance activity. Citi also committed $1 trillion in sustainable finance by 2030, including $500 billion for environmental finance and $500 billion for social finance.
The topography of the Asia Pacific region makes it more vulnerable to climate change risks than any other region in the world, posing a threat to the sustainable futures of more than 660 million youth in the region, who account for over 60 percent of the global youth population.
A majority (84 percent) of the young social entrepreneurs surveyed as part of the study believed that climate change was a global emergency, with 74 percent expecting climate change impact to negatively affect their organizations.
Despite the challenges, young social entrepreneurs remain resilient and engaged in climate action. Of these young respondents, 66 percent actively engage in delivering climate-action-focused products and services, while 80 percent want to further climate action through their organizations by developing stronger research, designing climate-smart solutions, leading advocacy on climate action, and scaling up existing climate initiatives.
"Entrepreneurship offers a path for youth to shape and lead local solutions that strengthen community resilience to climate change," said Kanni Wignaraja, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at UNDP. "Many young people are seeking this approach to turn their climate fear into climate action, despite the negative impacts of climate change on their organizations and barriers within the entrepreneurship ecosystem."
The report titled 'Climate Concern to Climate Action: The Role of Young Social Entrepreneurs' was commissioned by Youth Co:Lab, an initiative co-led by Citi Foundation and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It sought to understand the role that young social entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific region can play in tackling the climate emergency and the support they need to amplify the impact of climate actions and solutions.
The report also highlighted that greater engagement with national partners, access to financial resources, climate change-related capacity-building initiatives, establishing multistakeholder dialogue platforms, and generating evidence-based research could better support young social entrepreneurs to accelerate climate action.
Note to Editors
The survey targeted young social entrepreneurs between the ages 16 and 35, operating in the Asia Pacific region. For the purpose of this research, social entrepreneurs are defined as 'youth who are entrepreneurs and/or actively involved in a business or a non-profit organization that aims to achieve positive social or environmental impact.' The definition of social entrepreneurship is intentionally left broad to include various types of organizations aiming to address social and environmental challenges.
Every year, Citi reports on its ESG activities and performance. A summary of Citi's 2021 activities can be found here.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. Learn more at www.citifoundation.com or follow @Citi on LinkedIn
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.undp.org or follow @undp on Twitter
About Youth Co:Lab
Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn more at www.youthcolab.org or follow @youthcolab on Twitter
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