Assessing the Social Investment Landscape for Climate Action in Bangladesh

LightCastle Analytics Wing
April 2, 2023
Assessing the Social Investment Landscape for Climate Action in Bangladesh

The Opportunity

Globally, Bangladesh is the 41st largest economy and one of the fastest-growing countries, having an annual GDP growth rate of 6.40% in 2022. However, this fast-paced and resilient growth of Bangladesh has also presented an immense environmental burden for the country.

Despite contributing a meager 0.51% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world, Bangladesh ranks 7th on the global climate risk index. Plagued by acute environmental afflictions, the nation ranks 9th globally in the number of deaths triggered by climate-induced disasters.

The country’s naturally flat and low-lying topography, in conjunction with its high population density (1,119 people per s.q. km) and poverty levels, augments its vulnerability to climate change and threatens its development trajectory. 

Figure Showing the Varying Climate Afflictions Across Bangladesh
Figure: Varying Climate Afflictions Across Bangladesh | Source: Asian Development Bank: Bangladesh Climate and Disaster Risk Atlas Volume III

Over the years, Bangladesh has substantially advanced in enabling climate-resilient sustainable development, through the formulation and subsequent implementation of required policies and frameworks.

National-level adaptive efforts include the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP, 2009), Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, and National Adaptation Plan 2023-2050 amongst others.

However, without further accelerated and coordinated public-private interventions, the rapidly changing climate scene might trigger expected losses of 1.1% of GDP annually in a moderate scenario and up to 2% annual losses in extreme climate conditions.

Figure: Climate Priorities Mapped out in Key National Climate Adaptation Plans

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), in partnership with LightCastle Partners, explored the social investment landscape of climate action in Bangladesh, through a comprehensive research study. The objective of the study was to develop a holistic outlook on the current status quo of climate interventions in Bangladesh by diving into:

i) repercussions of climate change on livelihood outcomes,

ii) active efforts towards decarbonization and transition to renewable energy, and

iii) climate resilience efforts for green growth.

The Approach 

In order to meet these overarching objectives, LightCastle Partners employed a mixed-methods approach that included consultations with relevant industry stakeholders as well as comprehensive secondary research.

The consultations consisted of stakeholder interviews spanning across research organizations, public sector financial institutions, local and global NGOs, and private sector players. Additionally, an in-depth analysis of national and international documents published by the GoB and relevant UN bodies was also compiled through desk research. 

Throughout the project, the team deployed research and analysis into active interventions within the streams of decarbonization, renewable energy, and climate resilience. In order to gauge the implications of climate change on vulnerable communities around Bangladesh, the team focused on key parameters such as health, education, gender, and livelihood outcomes.

A holistic overview of active and existing climate interventions allowed for a gap analysis into key initiatives that are currently missing within the climate space. 

The Way Forward

As climate change is an imperative issue for Bangladesh, collaboration among public and private stakeholders is key to unlocking future adaptation and mitigation strategies. Based on the findings of the study, possible trajectories that these interventions could take include:

  1. Public-private collaborations to mobilize green investments through blended finance instruments or co-investments in renewable energy
  2. Public advocacy sessions and dialogue around knowledge and tools for green growth
  3. Supporting sustainable agribusinesses to boost green growth and sustainable practices 
  4. Investment in early-stage climate initiatives to facilitate green entrepreneurship and climate-smart ideas
  5. Leading disaster relief interventions in times of natural disasters to rescue climate-vulnerable communities

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We consult and collaborate with development partners, the public sector, and private organizations to promote inclusive economic growth that positively changes the lives of people at scale. Being a data-driven and transparent organization, we believe in democratizing knowledge and information among the stakeholders of the economy to drive inclusive growth.

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