To stave off the worst impacts of a changing climate and hit the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement made clear that innovation and public-private partnerships were the keys to unlocking new business models, rethinking national development plans and accelerating concrete action. The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it even more clear that there is no time to waste.

However, the question remains: what is the most effective way to pair up governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to foster the innovation and cooperation we need, at the pace required to get projects up to scale?

The P4G initiative – it stands for Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 – aims to find concrete answers to this question by identifying and incubating innovative public-private partnerships on sustainable food, water, energy, cities and the circular economy in more than 150 of the world’s developing countries.

Building momentum after an October summit in Copenhagen where the Government of Denmark convened heads of state and government, businesses and society leaders, some of the first partnerships supported by P4G are already at work. On November 30, P4G opens its second global call for applications for partnerships with innovative sustainability projects in developing countries.

At the summit, leaders of 24 P4G partnerships discussed their projects with some 700 participants to gain valuable knowledge, new ideas and networking opportunities to support their efforts.

Three examples among the 24 show the diversity of impact and approach inherent in P4G partnerships:

  • Indonesia Food Loss and Waste Action Partnership. Led by the Food and Land Use Coalition, this partnership is building a cross-sector program to reduce food loss and waste in Indonesia by 50 percent by 2030. As the world’s fourth-most populous country, with 11 percent of its 260 million residents living below the national poverty line, Indonesia wastes the equivalent of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) per person, much of it lost before it gets to consumers.  The agricultural sector represents about a third of total employment in Indonesia. More than 90 percent of farming is by small family farmers who would be the primary beneficiaries of food loss savings. The Coalition will bring together government ministries, businesses such as Unilever, Yara, Rabobank and Syngenta, and civil society partners to develop a plan to reduce food loss and waste in Indonesia, leveraging success with similar approaches in the Netherlands, the UK and the United States, such as better storage technologies, improved shipping and distribution and staff training.

  • The Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator (ZEBRA). This partnership is working with Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil — megacities each with more than 20 million residents each -- and Medellín, Colombia, to replace diesel buses with electric ones, delivering cleaner air and reducing climate-warming carbon emissions. Led by the International Council on Clean Transportation along with C40 Cities, ZEBRA expects to secure a public commitment from regional finance institutions to invest $1 billion in zero emission bus deployment in Latin America by 2021. In addition, ZEBRA will gain commitments from major bus manufacturers to support the growth of electric buses in Latin America through collaboration on vehicle specifications, charging strategies, pilot projects, financing and other steps necessary for fleet-wide deployment of zero emission buses.

  • Global Smart Green Logistics Innovation Partnership. Together with P4G, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. (“Cainiao”), the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, and the China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) will spearhead the growth of a green-packaging program, zero packaging waste program and electric vehicles delivery program from the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen to other cities in China as part of the Global Smart Green Logistics Innovation partnership. Cainiao Network, with a specially-designated fund set up under CEPF, has devoted funding to promote green logistics for the long term. Cainiao rolled out the first green logistics city initiative in Xiamen, with a pilot program started in late 2017. In Xiamen, a port city of 3.5 million people, Cainiao Network and CEPF are working with the Xiamen Municipal Government to set up more than 100 city-wide package recycling points by the end of 2018, where packaging waste is gathered, and sorted and processed for treatment and reuse. Cainiao also has begun deploying and promoting electric vehicles to deliver packages across the city.

“The summit created a wealth of opportunity to forge new relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders all invested in helping the world meet the SDGs. With P4G's support we are excited to be able to scale up our impact on building energy efficiency in cities,” said Lisa Bate, WorldGBC Chair about the Cities Climate Action Project supported by the Building Efficiency Accelerator—one of the scale-up partnerships being funding by P4G.

Funded by Denmark and the Netherlands, P4G works in partnership with leaders in Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam as well as partner organizations C40 Cities, Global Green Growth Institute, World Economic Forum and the World Resources Institute, which hosts the global P4G Hub.

P4G will accept applications from qualified partnerships between November 30, 2018 and February 15, 2019. To learn more, visit the P4G website.