Small Businesses, Big Impact: How South Asia’s Innovators Are Reshaping Climate Conversations

Business Wire India
At the recently concluded UN annual climate conference, COP28, a group of key climate enterprises from South Asia were showcased for their innovative and impactful climate solutions. The initiative called the South Asian Business House (SABH), launched at Dubai Expo City, put the spotlight on lesser-known climate-focused businesses and their diverse solutions, spanning sectors from cooling solutions and green finance to energy and transport.
In the Global South, especially South Asia, micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs), despite having scalable solutions, remain underrepresented at a global scale, especially in important forums such as the UN annual conference COP. Keeping in mind this critical gap, SABH, powered by global storytelling platform PlucTV, showcased 50 businesses from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, at COP28.
SABH is the call of the hour as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of climate action. According to the latest IPCC report, avoiding 1.5°C is still possible, but for this emissions need to be reduced by at least 43% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, and at least 60% by 2035. And as per the World Bank, small and medium businesses represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Connecting these two overarching statistics, SABH intends to get the global business community to act with urgency and innovation.

“With SABH, we wanted to mainstream bold and scalable climate action by SMEs. At COP28, getting five amazing businesses was a clarion call to the global business community, to join hands and foster collaboration for solutions to scale up. The movement has already begun where we are connecting solutions from across South Asia so that they are scaled up faster. We are also grateful to Expo City Dubai for allowing us to present these businesses here,” said Tamseel Hussain, founder, PlucTV, which has a global presence in 22 countries and a network of 250,000 creators.
Under SABH, as many as 20 businesses got to share their climate stories through short films that premiered at COP28. Among them, five business leaders from India presented their solutions in an exhibition held at Dubai Expo City. It also provided networking opportunities to these businesses where they met like-minded entrepreneurs and explored collaboration opportunities. Taking forward the vision to equip businesses with better skills, two courses under SABH are also being offered free of cost. The courses– ‘Integrated Sustainability Strategies in Climate Leadership’ and ‘Climate Storytelling and Content Creation’– will not just upskill the business leaders and their employees but also allow them to market their solutions effectively.

The motto of SABH ‘Show, Tell, and Scale for the Future’ came to fruition with businesses presenting their solutions to the expo audience. Mohit Agarwal of Vinayak Industries, from Ghaziabad, who presented his cooling solution at an international conference for the first time, amplified the challenges arising out of rising temperatures in middle-income households. He showcased the impact of his unique, eco-friendly paint crafted from minerals and water using a prototype where audiences were explained how this specialised paint when applied to roofs, effectively lowers the indoor temperatures thereby bringing to attention ‘cool roof’ solutions.
“SABH was a great opportunity for us and talks are underway with four businesses on how we can support each other for scaling up,” said Vikash Kumar, Director, Jitban Food Supply Chain, from Bihar in India. His organisation addresses the issue of food wastage by enhancing the cold-supply chain through ‘hot water treatment’. The other three organisations present at the Expo City Dubai Pavilion included Envo Renewables from Guwahati which implements renewable energy solutions and have positively impacted around 10 lakh rural residents in Northeast India. Green Banana from Gujarat has pioneered an alternative to concrete, composed entirely of 100% waste material, free from additives, chemicals, and pigments and their manufacturing process requires no water for curing and generates zero waste. Ajit Shah, founder of Yantra Harvest, Pune, emphasised how the energy-saving or energy-efficiency sector could assist industries in conserving energy and converting it into monetary savings.

Going forward, SABH will get on board a wider representation from diverse South Asian nations, as well as more niche sectors, thereby putting the spotlight on innovative climate solutions where stories empower businesses. The idea is to foster impactful joint ventures and amplify the success stories at various other global forums with several hundred businesses and a larger number of key sectors.