Call for ideas archive 2020

The Lab has selected eight new climate finance ideas for its acceleration program in 2020.

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What is the Lab looking for

The Lab is seeking ideas for financial instruments that can unlock investment for climate mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries. For the 2020 cycle, the Lab has a special call for ideas that target sustainable energy access, sustainable cities, sustainable agriculture, and nature-based solutions, and that target the geographies of India, Brazil, and Southern Africa. We also welcome ideas that target other sectors and developing countries.

  • Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

    The Lab seeks the most transformative ideas – both mitigation and adaptation – in developing and emerging economies, including those that do not fit in the priority sectors included here.

  • Sustainable Energy Access

    Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to ensure affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030. However, more than 1.2 billion people currently live without access to reliable electricity.

    Significant investment is neede  order to close the gap, and achieve universal energy access by 2030, though CPI research has found that there are relatively few blended finance initiatives that focus on distributed and off-grid electricity generation. There is a key need to identify, develop, and scale financial solutions that enable private sector capital to flow into energy access investments, including solutions for distributed generation, off-grid, and “last-mile” grid connection, thereby creating a viable market for generating and delivering energy to the developing world.

    With additional support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Lab is seeking proposals for innovative financial instruments to address market barriers and support the scale-up of sustainable energy access for both residential and business application.


    These sustainable finance vehicles will offer returns for investors, while reducing emissions, supporting improved livelihoods and access to education and opportunities, and reducing negative health impacts associated with carbon-intensive forms of energy production.

  • Nature-Based Solutions

    Nature-based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, in order to reduce emissions, enhance resilience, and offer human development and biodiversity benefits

    Despite their importance, the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems has been funded almost exclusively by limited public or philanthropic funding, though the introduction of innovative approaches which catalyze private sector investment will be crucial in achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals and creating a viable market for nature-based solutions.

    The Lab is seeking proposals for innovative financing solutions that seek to unlock private investment in projects that conserve and restore biodiversity and ecosystems in developing countries around the world.

    Relevant solutions could include (but not be limited to) financial instruments that focus on scaling up the preservation and restoration of forests as well as conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and wetlands; prevention of desertification, other ecosystem services, or building climate resilient infrastructure.

  • Sustainable Cities

    Cities are critical players on climate change. More than half of the global population lives in cities, which consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions. And with 90 percent of the world’s urban areas situated on coastlines, cities are at high risk from climate change impacts such as sea level rise and extreme weather events.

    For this reason, cities are on the front lines of climate action, making bold commitments around climate-resilient, low-carbon development pathways. To mobilize the finance needed to bring these commitments to fruition, policy makers, the business community, philanthropic actors, and all classes of investors must work together to pilot, implement, and scale up sustainable investment models.

    With the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and other funders, the Lab is seeking proposals for innovative financial instruments to address market barriers and support the deployment of climate solutions in cities in developing countries, including in energy efficiency, clean energy, low-carbon transport, and other sectors. Proposals may be completely new – i.e., ideas never before implemented – or may seek to adapt or replicate a previously piloted instrument in new developing country city contexts. The Lab will work closely with The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an international alliance of nearly 10,000 cities and local governments, throughout the Lab process.

  • Sustainable Agriculture

    With support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Lab is seeking proposals for innovative and transformative financial instruments to mobilize investment to overcome existing barriers to climate resilient, low emission agriculture, with a regional emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

    Countries in sub-Saharan Africa remain among the most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of climate change, which are already a major cause of out-migration and poverty. Here, climate impacts on agriculture, which employs 60% of the workforce, will increase vulnerability and further threaten rural poverty, which is particularly acute among women and young people.

    Key barriers to rural transformation and improved resilience in the region include a lack of land tenure, basic infrastructure, technology and knowledge, as well as insufficient access to well-organized markets and financial services, including credit and insurance.

    Overcoming these barriers requires the development of new business models and approaches that are (1) attractive to the financial sector and (2) supportive of a paradigm shift toward low-emission, climate-resilient agriculture in a way that transforms the livelihoods of women and young people, and increases food security and nutrition.


Nov 30 - Jan 01
Webinar: Seleção de ideias para o Lab 2023

O Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance está com inscrições abertas para soluções inovadoras em ...


What happens if your idea is selected?

If your idea is selected by Lab Members, you will work with a team of analysts, key stakeholders, and experts to:


Develop or refine the mechanics of your idea.


Survey comparable instruments, ensuring the final instrument is innovative and impactful.


Develop robust financial modeling.


Assess and document potential social and environmental impacts.


Map risks and risk mitigation strategies.


Develop a detailed implementation plan.


Produce promotional content.


Present your idea to donors and investors.


Potentially receive endorsement from the Lab.

How ideas are selected


Applicants must fill in an online form (see PDF version for reference). A set of key criteria guides how submitted ideas are assessed and ranked

  • Actionable

    The Lab looks for ideas that demonstrate: (1) the involvement of entities able to implement the idea with relevant experience; (2) a clear pathway to implementation, including a defined timeframe, key activities, and project milestones; (3) identification of potential risks to implementation and strategies for dealing with them.

  • Catalytic

    The catalytic potential is the ability of the idea to mobilize private sources of climate finance. Ideas should demonstrate: (1) the potential for scale-up of private investment in the target market; (2) the ability or potential to replicate in other markets.

  • Innovative

    Successful Lab ideas demonstrate how the idea addresses barriers to climate finance that have either not yet been addressed or will be addressed more effectively than existing approaches in the market. In essence, the Lab looks for submissions that clearly articulate how the idea submitted is a value-add to other efforts in the space.

  • Financially Sustainable

    High-quality Lab ideas will have a clear strategy for phasing out public and philanthropic financial support over time and achieving market viability on commercial terms, even if that runway is long in certain cases. They should also identify challenges and risks to attain these objectives and strategies for managing them.

  • Value Add

    The Lab seeks to offer a significant value-add to the success of the selected ideas and teams, ensuring the capabilities of the Lab team and network complement the proposing team’s capabilities and needs. We look forward to working with teams with sufficient time and a functional governance structure to participate fully in the Lab process.

Why submit an idea?

Selected ideas receive guidance from high-level leaders from the public and private sectors, who contribute expertise, political support, and financial capital to the instruments.

See all Lab members

Selected ideas also benefit from robust analysis, stress-testing, and development by Climate Policy Initiative’s team of experts.

Meet the Lab experts




value of in-kind analytical and communications support received by selected Lab ideas




mobilized by endorsed Lab instruments

Who is involved?

The Lab comprises over 70 expert institutions in government, development finance, philanthropy, and the private sector. The funders for the Lab’s 2023 cycle are included below. CPI serves as the Lab Secretariat.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Bloomberg Philanthropies
German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)
Rockefeller Foundation
Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation
UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
International Fund For Agricultural Development