• Award recognizes most innovative, scalable, and replicable examples of climate action
  • Other than the Lab, the list of 11 winners includes Microsoft and the City of Paris
  • Winning projects will be showcased during COP 26, in November

BONN, Germany – The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab) has won the special 10th anniversary edition of the United Nations Global Climate Action Awards. The award, run by United Nations Climate Change since 2011, recognizes the world’s most innovative, scalable, and replicable examples of action to tackle climate change. The 11 award-winning projects fall within three focus areas: Climate Neutral NowFinancing for Climate Friendly Investment, and Climate Leaders.

The Lab, an initiative of over 70 public and private investors and institutions, accelerates investment solutions to support sustainable development goals in emerging markets. Created in 2014, the Lab has now launched 55 instruments that have collectively mobilized over USD 2.5 billion.

“I am extremely proud of the Lab’s alumni of climate finance entrepreneurs, whose success we celebrate with this award. We provided guidance and support, but they are the ones ultimately making an impact on the ground,” said Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director of Climate Policy Initiative, the Lab’s secretariat. “This is also a direct result of the support from our funders, who have seen their investments in the Lab secretariat enable 200 times more in concrete project funding.”

The announcement shines a light on innovative examples of what people across the globe are doing to combat climate change ahead of the pivotal UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow later this month. This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate leadership on climate change by nations, businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society as a whole.

“We urgently require solutions and actions from everyone: public and private sectors, civil society, academia, investors, cities, and regions, etc. The winners of the 2021 UN Global Climate Action Awards provide tangible proof that solutions to tackle the climate crisis exist and that they can be replicated and quickly scaled up. This is what inspiring leadership looks like,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

The projects awarded are recognized as solutions that not only address climate change but also help drive forward progress on many other sustainable development goals, for example, innovation, gender equality, and economic opportunity.

“Everyone has a role to play when it comes to confronting the climate crisis,” said Gabrielle Ginér, Chair of the Advisory Panel. “The recipients of the UN Global Climate Action Awards are stepping up with the kind of bold and courageous leadership we need to see much more of to avoid the ever-worsening impacts of climate change.”

All winning projects will be showcased during a series of special events and an Award Ceremony during the second week of COP 26 in November. The 2021 winners of the UN Global Climate Action Award are: 

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment: 

  • Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance | Multi-regional: The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance network accelerates well-designed financial instruments that can unlock billions towards a sustainable, inclusive, net zero economy, while also reducing private investors’ risks.
  • Energise Africa | Africa: A UK crowdfunding platform enabling people to support renewable energy projects (home solar) in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, it has raised over £25 million in investments from everyday people putting their money to work for climate action and the SDGs.
  • Self-reliance & Solar in the West Bank & Gaza | State of Palestine: The first private sector investments in domestic power supply to help jump-start renewables and support economic development in the West Bank and Gaza, supported by the International Finance Corporation.
  • SunFunder | Africa: The leading debt-financing provider for distributed solar in Africa and other emerging regions, bringing access to energy and long-term climate investments. To date, it has closed over USD 150 million in loans to 57 solar companies.

Climate Neutral Now: 

  • Microsoft | Global: Carbon neutral since 2012, Microsoft is now committing to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975 by 2050.
  • Taylors of Harrogate | United Kingdom: An independent family tea and coffee business whose carbon neutral product certification is from ‘field to supermarket shelf’ accounting for all the emissions from cultivating, processing and shipping its tea and coffee.
  • ICA Gruppen | Sweden: Sweden’s leading food retailer is going beyond climate neutrality to achieving a net zero impact from the Group’s own operations by 2030 and cutting the climate impact from customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030.
  • House of Baukjen | United Kingdom: A London-based fashion house whose business and operations follow in every way the circular economy ideal, from production to materials being cycled, and does so while being carbon negative.

Climate Leaders: 

  • City of Paris | France: By 2050, the City of Paris aims to reduce local emissions by 100%, achieving the goal of zero emissions in Paris, promoting an 80% reduction in the carbon footprint of Paris compared to 2004 levels.
  • Samsø | Denmark: Denmark’s municipality of the island of Samsø has completely transformed its energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy, becoming the world’s first renewable energy island.
  • Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara | Mexico: The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara Climate Action Plan, launched at the end of 2020, is the first instrument of its kind, built on a metropolitan scale in Mexico and within the C40 Network

About the Lab

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance identifies, develops, and launches innovative finance instruments that can drive billions in private investment to action on climate change and sustainable development. The Lab is funded by the Dutch, German, Swedish, and UK governments, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation. Climate Policy Initiative serves as Secretariat. 


Rob Kahn
Head of Communications

Júlio Lubianco
Communications Associate


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