How it Works

The Lab crowdsources, selects, develops, and launches transformative financial solutions to drive billions of dollars of private investment into climate change action in developing countries.

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Three Ingredients to Success

The Lab’s theory of change revolves around the collaboration between public and private sectors, openly sourcing concepts from finance innovators, and a powerful network to move the ideas into action.

Public-Private Collaboration

Strengthened partnership between the public and private sectors builds capacity and knowledge to identify and deploy effective climate finance solutions.

Innovative & Transformative Solutions

Innovative, actionable, catalytic, and financially sustainable solutions reduce risks and barriers to investment in sustainable development.

Mobilizing Finance

Catalytic finance from Lab Members and the broader network enables piloting and implementation of transformative solutions.

Lab Structure

The Lab's structure fosters cross-sector cooperation and enables solutions to overcome investment barriers

Lab Members

Principals, Advisors & Regional Panel Members

Lab members select the ideas and provide them with technical support. They can also invest in the most promising ideas.

Steering Group

Funders who support the Lab and make strategic decisions about the program.


Climate Policy Initiative manages the partnership and provides analytical support.


Innovators who submit ideas and lead their development and implementation.

Observers and Strategic Partners

Help create the needed links outside the Lab to help accelerate implementation.

Working Groups

Members, observers and external experts who advise the idea development phase.

How the Lab works

Lab Guidelines


Call for Ideas

The Lab publicizes an open call for innovative sustainable investment solutions.



Lab Members select the most promising ideas to take forward in each annual cycle.



Selected ideas benefit from 7 months of analysis, stress-testing, and guidance from experts and investors.


Endorsement & Launch

Lab Members vote to endorse and launch the ideas for piloting.



The ideas move into action and fundraising to launch pilots, with continued support from the Lab network.

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.


Established in 2014, the Lab develops transformational proposals to mobilize private investment at scale, supporting nations and businesses to access finance for tackling their climate goals.

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