British Council Connects A.R.C. Challenge Malaysia Grant Winners with Potential Investors
Pitching Session Held to Ensure Scalability of Intercultural Climate Change Projects
As part of the ongoing A.R.C. Challenge Malaysia campaign, the British Council in Malaysia, in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), co-organised a Pitching Session yesterday to link three Malaysia – UK partnerships, whose projects aimed at combating climate change and protecting cultural rights, with local and international investors to further boost their projects.
The three Malaysia - UK partnerships involved in the event were awarded the A.R.C. Challenge Malaysia Grant last month with each partnership bestowed GBP 10,000 (RM56,000) to develop their projects focusing on youth, climate change and cultural rights. The beneficiaries of these grants are:
Klima Action Malaysia and Students for Global Health – Weaving Hopes for the Future
neOOne Associates and SEA International CIC – Visioning The Future and Storytelling for Climate Change
Biji-Biji Initiative and Falmouth University – Ripple — Responsible Innovation Plastics Project for Life and Environment
The Pitching Session provided the opportunity for these partnerships to showcase to a panel and audience of funders and experts, bringing support to the project teams in terms of delivery, scalability and potentially, further funding and collaboration.
The group of panellists that were brought together for the event gathered from Indonesia, the UK, the US and Malaysia, representing prominent investment organisations. They are Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin from Yayasan Sime Darby, Zainariah Johari from Yayasan Hasanah, Malcom Spence from Global Innovation Fund (GIF), Matteo Chiampo from SECONDMUSE, Romy Cahyadi from Instellar, and Florence Lambert from the British Council.
The A.R.C. Challenge Malaysia Grant beneficiaries will present their project outcomes and findings at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, in November this year.
Prabha Sundram, Head of Education at the British Council said, ‘As the heirs to our future, the youth are at the forefront in combating climate change and protecting cultural rights through awareness-raising, creating spaces for debate, driving activism and advocacy, as well as leading the way in creating innovative and sustainable solutions.’
Prachi Seth, Climate Specialist Manager at AVPN commented, ‘Our mission is to move more capital towards impact in Asia by providing social investors opportunities to connect with key stakeholders across various sectors and markets, to learn from one another and to find opportunities for action. This is in line with our efforts to empower of the youth to champion and succeed in projects pertaining to climate change and cultural rights.’
Investing in a sustainable future, for all
The Pitching Session further demonstrated the need for corporate entities and non-governmental bodies to support and fund green initiatives for a more sustainable future.
The panellists collectively agree that investing in sustainable ventures has gone beyond corporate social responsibility and is now focused on safeguarding community livelihoods and nature. This would then enable economic and non-economic ROIs that will benefit individuals, society and the economy.
‘In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global focus has now intensified on nature preservation in addition to community livelihoods. Balancing financial with social and environmental returns has become crucial for organisations to help their businesses mitigate and withstand any similar pandemics or climate change issues in the future,’ Dr Hjh Yatela, Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Sime Darby said.
Climate change is already leaving a negative impact on vulnerable communities around the globe. By driving the message that sustainability is a long-term commitment, social projects such as the ones selected for the A.R.C. Malaysia Challenge Grant, are stepping stones for larger future initiatives in ensuring economic success and wealth-expansion amongst vulnerable communities while persevering ecological-stability.
Malcolm Spence, Investment Director of GIF said that investing in sustainable ventures is needed to stem the increased climate volatility which disproportionately affects those living in vulnerable communities, to allow those living in poverty to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and to create new livelihoods which offer a pathway out of poverty.
On the other hand, creative projects on climate change and cultural rights often get secondhanded in seeking investments as compared to STEM projects with the same goals. The argument for supporting creative climate change projects was further bolstered by Zainariah Johari, Head of Arts and Public Spaces, Yayasan Hasanah.
'The creative sectors constantly struggle to pitch their ROI to potential investors as their initiative is not a “low hanging fruit” - kind of investment in terms of returns equalling to financial gains. Hence, it is important to create a narrative for potential investors to visualise how a creative project talking about climate change can contribute to other attributes other than financial returns such as behavioural change, positive attitudes towards sustainable practices, and other intangible measures,’ said Zainariah.
She also added that potential investors should look into other positive impacts such as nation building and the role of the arts in the development of society when considering investing in the creative sectors.
The British Council will continue to update on the status of the three projects and facilitate more discussions pertaining to climate change, youth and cultural rights leading up to COP26 on social media and future events.