AFRICA – Two African start-ups are among five breakthrough innovative companies that will receive awards and participate in Morgan Stanley’s first initiative that aims to advance systemic solutions for complex sustainability challenges across the World.
The five companies include mPharma based in Ghana and Suncluture from Kenya: plus, MySoc from the US, Siklus from Indonesia and Trees as Infrastructure from the UK.
Organised by Morgan Stanley, the leading American investment bank and financial services company, the Sustainable Solutions Collaborative, which is organised by the firm’s Institute for Sustainable Investing targets to help scale breakthrough and innovative solutions to global sustainability issues for lasting and systemic impact.
The Institute drives strategic environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives at the firm and aims to accelerate the adoption of sustainable investing strategies across capital markets.
Innovative solutions with impact
The Collaborative seeks to solve some of the world’s most complex sustainability challenges, from climate change and waste reduction to equitable health care and food insecurity, which the bank says require large-scale systemic solutions.
“Each one of these initiatives, which range from the fully commercial to the entirely nonprofit, has developed remarkable innovations. Through the help of the Collaborative, they have the potential to create the systemic changes needed to create a more sustainable future,” said Audrey Choi, Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. “We admire their creative thinking and dedication, and look forward to working actively with them to help bring their solutions to scale.”
The bank notes that to identify the companies that have been shortlisted, the Institute for Sustainable Investing reached out to a network of distinguished sustainability thought leaders and practitioners from a variety of industries and sectors who submitted nominations for the Collaborative.
From more than 150 recommendations, it then implemented a rigorous screening and selection process to choose innovative ideas with high potential for systemic impact, as well as organizations that could benefit from sustained engagement with the firm.
The bank says that the five companies will each receive a US$250,000 award and will participate in a year-long partnership with the Institute and in the long-term, they will become members of the Collaborative which will be the network of Morgan Stanley leaders and partner organizations that facilitate cross-sector collaboration on the most pressing sustainability issues.
The innovative companies
mPharma is a Ghana-based health-tech startup that is revolutionizing the drug supply chain in Africa using the tools that make e-commerce convenient and profitable to make health care accessible and affordable while SunCulture brings together innovations in inclusive finance, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture to empower small farmers in Africa to make their farming practices more profitable and sustainable.
MySOC is a project of Skidmore College and Michigan State University that is harnessing unprecedented amounts of diverse data types to answer foundational questions about soil carbon and create a new market in partnership with farmers committed to sustainability.
Siklus is tackling the nexus of poverty and plastic waste in Indonesia by operating refill stations through local stores and mobile delivery carts that reduce plastic waste and save consumers money.
Trees As Infrastructure, an open source platform by Dark Matter Labs, based in the UK and operating across Europe, is establishing nature as a critical part of urban infrastructure, alongside bridges, roads and rail, enabling investment, profitability and sustainability.
Investing for sustainable future
The establishment of the Collaborative follows the April 2021’s announcement by Morgan Stanley to commit to mobilize US$1 trillion by 2030 for sustainable solutions that include helping prevent and mitigate climate change across the World.
The bank has pledged to mobilize at least US$750 billion of low-carbon solutions, thus tripling its original commitment set in 2018, of US$250 million, to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ‘a scale of capital that reflects the growing severity and urgency of these global challenges.’
It also joined the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which coordinates 43 of the world’s leading banks to accelerate the transition to net zero and provides a common framework for banks to set, communicate and achieve 2050, 2030 and nearer-term targets, and engage with clients on decarbonization efforts.
“The convergence of recent crises in climate, health and social justice underscore the interconnections between environmental, societal and structural issues. It is imperative for business and finance to accelerate our efforts to drive positive global, systemic change,” said Audrey Choi, at the time.
“We are tripling our low-carbon commitment and increasing our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for the simple reason that there is no time to waste. As a leader in sustainable finance, it is our obligation to do more to support businesses, governments and individuals in securing a more sustainable world for future generations.”
Since its 2018 commitment, the bank reveals that it has mobilized US$80 billion for low-carbon financing, adding that to reach its US$1 trillion target, it will work with corporations, governments and individuals to provide clean tech and renewable energy finance, green bonds and other transactions.