The past years have laid bare many truths about our current model of capitalism — the severe income inequality and the belief that improving human lives and taking care of the environment are expendable for better profit margins. The changemakers in the growing Certified B Corporation community are demanding an end to the myth that profits must come at the expense of purpose, and environmental and social care. It’s time to wake up, it’s time for action.

At Blyde we believe in questioning the status quo. We believe in the power of the collective, in taking a stand and inspiring people by showing what can and must be changed. In our weekly Wake Up Calls, Blyde stirs up hunger for positive change. We listen to several B Corp voices who talk about their call to action for companies around the globe today. By letting people from different perspectives and businesses speak, we would like to underline the important role of business in this decade of action. ‘On stage’ today: changemaker Neera van der Geest, managing director of FairClimateFund.

FairClimateFund assists companies in building and improving their climate strategy by measuring their carbon footprint, setting reduction targets and helping them invest in certified climate projects that improve the lives of those most vulnerable to climate change. What was your wake-up call for contributing to a better world? 

This started when I was 12 years old and heard about the massive deforestation in Brazil. Several years later, I worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and realised that our economic development and energy use were causing carbon emissions that accelerated the problems in developing countries. Climate change affects us all, but people in fragile countries are much more vulnerable to its consequences. It is unfair that these people suffer more from climate change while we are primarily responsible for climate change. At FairClimateFund, we seek justice for this problem. Those with the largest CO2-footprint invest in climate projects that improve people’s lives most vulnerable to climate change and also contribute to lowering CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.  

What is your call to action for companies around the globe?

Reduction, reduction, reduction! Be sure to start now. If we continue the way we are living and producing now the global temperature will increase by over 2 degrees. This hugely impacts the world: temperatures are rising, and we are increasingly faced with unpredictable rainfall, flooding and extreme drought. These events result in failed harvests, food shortages, and ecosystem damage.

Which SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) calls to you most and why?

To reach sustainable development, we must reach all goals because every goal is connected to the others. That’s why for us (and me), many SDGs call to us. Our projects are built around SDG13: Climate Action, but also focus on 1: No Poverty, 3: Health and well-being, 5: Gender equality, 6: Affordable and clean energy and 15: Life on land.

To give you an example: We focus on clean cooking and nature-based projects. Our clean cooking projects reduce CO2-emissions and indoor air pollution (SDG13, SDG3 & SDG6). Because less or no wood is needed and cooking is much faster, time is saved. This time can be used for other activities that provide income or let women be a part of decision-making. (SDG1, SDG5).


Call me a changemaker – your company in 2030… (biggest dreams, wishes, plans?)

We have set the goal to work with our partners to provide cleaner cooking solutions for half a million people and to plant half a million trees to reduce a million tonnes of CO₂ before 2025. In the five years after that, we hope to multiply that goal. Fast forward many many years, we hopefully don’t need to exist anymore. It would be a dream that our services are no longer needed because the world operates sustainably.

If you could invite one company to join the B Corp community, what company would that be and why?

Not just one company, but I would like to invite the food sector to take a critical look at their business operations. Food systems are responsible for nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses must step up and take action to mitigate their carbon footprints. Of course, we are happy to help with their measurement, reduction strategy, and their investment in our climate projects that meet the Fairtrade Climate Standard. This means that the people in our projects also get climate finance that they can spend on climate adaptation activities. This way we tackle the whole supply chain From Farm to Fork. That’s what being B Corp is all about. Everyone should benefit from your business operations. From producers to customers. It must benefit all!


Hungry for more changemaker’s stories? Read other Wake-up Calls here.
ps. There’s more to come, so stay tuned. Follow us on Instagram!