Adaptation projects may be difficult to prioritize and sustainably finance as the results of projects are difficult to quantifiably measure and compare across project types, and no singular “unit” for adaptation outcomes exists. The Higher Ground Foundation has been working to develop the Vulnerability Reduction Credit (VRC™), which incorporates cost/benefit analysis and per capita vulnerability equalization tools to measure the outputs of climate adaptation projects, quantifying in a singular unit expected and delivered measures to reduce vulnerability to climate change.
While there are exciting initiatives in climate adaptation evaluation and finance, one challenge constraining all of them is a lack of a universal "currency" that creates quality assurances that can unlock private finance for adaptation projects. The VRC™ Standard Framework guides creation of project methodologies that support the robust measurement of adaptation impacts and corresponding issuance of VRCs. While the VRC does not replace qualitative evaluations, it serves to give project participants a robust starting point for monitoring and evaluation that also may facilitate policy making and target setting, project finance, community-led adaptation, and innovation.
The presentation summarized the structure and utility of VRCs and showed through a case study how communities facing climate risks may understand and respond to these risks more effectively.
To encourage investment in climate adaptation projects, The Higher Ground Foundation created the Vulnerability Reduction Credit, or VRC™ an economic measure of the effects of projects in reducing climate change vulnerability. VRCs can be used for M&E, prioritizing investments, and when priced may leverage finance. The HGF advises policymakers, funders, and vulnerable communities on how to use VRCs to deploy adaptation technologies, design viable adaptation planning systems with VRCs, and co-develop pilot projects that validate VRCs as an investment instrument.
Karl Schultz, Founder and Executive Chairman
Karl has worked on environment and development issues since 1991, including for the Peace Corps in West Africa and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's climate protection division where he managed the agency's international and domestic coal and climate programs. Over the past decade he has focussed on climate, markets, and policy issues and founded energy and environment consultancies Climate Mitigation Works and Energy Edge. He also co-founded the clean energy venture Green Gas, and now focuses primarily on climate finance and adaptation economics. He is the creator of The Higher Ground Foundation's vulnerability reduction market concept. Karl is responsible for strategic oversight of Higher Ground, research and development, and is Higher Ground’s senior spokesperson.
Elizabeth is a business major at Fordham University, with a concentration in marketing. She is studying sustainable business, and is working with the Higher Ground Foundation to improve its social media presence and marketing to its various stakeholders.