New fund supports companies with climate projects benefiting developing world

Government grants of up to €300,000 for Irish companies working on climate action

A new fund offering grants of up to €300,000 to Irish companies, NGOs and researchers working on climate issues in developing countries has been announced by the Government.

The Irish Aid Enterprise Fund for International Climate Action is aimed at Irish organisations, working alone or as part of international partnerships, who will be invited to submit proposals for climate-related activities with a commercial or enterprise aspect.

"Irish Aid and our partners work hard to support climate action in developing countries but the level of action needed means we need all hands on deck. Climate change is the greatest challenge that we face. We must pull out all the stops," said Minister for Overseas Development Aid Colm Brophy.

The moves marks a significant increase in the Government’s engagement with the private sector on climate action at a time when Irish companies, under their ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) obligations, are increasingly seeking to support efforts to ease impacts on least wealthy countries which are most vulnerable global warming.


“The private sector, as well as researchers and NGOs, have an important role to play in both supporting and delivering climate action. The [fund] will allow Irish Aid to engage Irish entrepreneurship, talent, experience and knowledge in support of climate action for those who need it most,” he added.

Potential projects range across energy, agriculture and health, while particular consideration will be given to activities targeting climate action in least developed countries or small island developing states.

Particular consideration will be given to activities targeting clean energy (including clean cooking) with an impact at community-level; projects with an adaptation focus that build climate resilience, and proposals supporting oceans and the sustainable blue economy. Climate actions “with cross-cutting impacts for gender and/or biodiversity” will also be considered.

The fund will also support capacity building and knowledge exchange activities between organisations in Ireland and developing countries, Mr Brophy confirmed. The private sector is playing an integral role in financing the global climate response, he added. According to the Climate Policy Initiative Global Landscape of Climate Finance, private finance for climate action reached $340 billion (€311bn) globally in 2020, accounting for 49 per cent of global climate finance to developing countries. However, an increase in private sector engagement is believed to be crucial, as by 2030 annual climate finance of $4.35 trillion will be required to reach international commitments.

At present, private finance is generally weighted heavily towards established sectors such as renewable energy and green transport investments, usually in middle-income as opposed to least-developed countries.

A growing number of country donors are increasing their engagement with the private sector to encourage investment in areas which align with development priorities to maximise t impact.

The new fund will facilitate peer learning through African businesses coming to Ireland to work with and learn from Irish companies, research centres and training institutes. It will also allow companies to conduct feasibility or market studies to assist them in entering new climate-oriented products or services especially in climate-vulnerable countries.

Further details are available through Irish Aid, the closing date for applications is April 29th.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times