Climate change poses severe risks to Micro-, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), including damage to infrastructure, increased financial risks, regulatory uncertainties, market fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. Despite these risks, climate action often remains low on small companies’ agendas as it involves high upfront capital costs.

With increasing sustainability demands and economy-wide low carbon transitions, MSMEs will need to adopt climate-friendly practices or change business operations and products to stay competitive and protect livelihoods. This will require reskilling of workers and institutional support for MSMEs.

Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Enterprises (RISE) aims to help build the resilience and competitiveness of MSMEs in the automotive cluster in Tamil Nadu and the textile cluster in Gujarat, while enabling an inclusive and just transition to a low carbon future.

By 2026, under RISE, WRI India will engage with MSMEs and local communities, industry associations and experts, skilling and financing agencies and local and national governments to support at least 1000 workers in 100 MSMEs to help them manage climate impacts, implement climate actions and acquire skills for better livelihoods.

RISE, supported by the Ares Charitable Foundation’s Climate Resilient Employees for a Sustainable Tomorrow (CREST) initiative aims to achieve this through the following approaches:

1) Research

WRI India’s research will identify climate-related vulnerabilities that may affect MSMEs and workers in two clusters and build their capacity to undertake recommended measures. It will also assess the decarbonization potential of MSMEs and their existing capacities, as well as train them to adopt low-carbon interventions. Additionally, our work will focus on identifying and supporting the skilling and upskilling needs of MSMEs to sustain jobs and livelihoods and enable a just low carbon transition.

2) Capacity Building

Findings from the research will be used to identify MSMEs’ capacity needs and develop capacity-building modules for MSME entrepreneurs and workers to strengthen their understanding of climate change. These will include training workshops, sector-specific reskilling and climate-proofing. Overall, the effect of capacity-building activities on MSME entrepreneurs and workers will be assessed, including their ability to act on climate challenges and to plan for a just transition.

3) Dialogue, Engagement and Outreach

Create a platform to document MSME voices and case studies, including those from female-led MSMEs. Research findings, learnings and successes will be shared with MSMEs, state and national governments and business leaders through informational content, commentaries, videos and webinars.

CREST event.


  • Support at least 100 MSMEs and 1000 workers in building climate resilience in two MSME clusters, and train entrepreneurs and workers towards a just low carbon transition.
  • Help MSME associations, industry associations, and specific line ministries in state and central governments adopt processes and/or programs to build on the success stories of the project.
  • Contribute to an enhanced dialogue on building resilient livelihoods within MSMEs among industry and national and state governments.

Additional Resources:

Cover image by Steffi Olickal/WRI India