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News 24 September 2019

Clean Air Fund to accelerate public-private solutions to air pollution

A new partnership between the World Economic Forum and the Clean Air Fund launches today to support initiatives to achieve clean air for all and will work with governments, civil society, the health sector and businesses to accelerate solutions to air pollution.
  • More than 90% of people breathe polluted air, and the world will lose $2.6 trillion by 2060 if outdoor air pollution is not tackled
  • The Clean Air Fund is a new philanthropic initiative to achieve clean air for all
  • The Clean Air Fund and World Economic Forum will work together to establish public-private initiatives to accelerate solutions to air pollution

Ninety percent of people breathe polluted air and almost 100% of cities breach World Health Organization guidelines for clean air. About 4.2 million deaths are caused by outdoor air pollution each year, including 300,000 children under the age of 5. In the 15 countries that have the highest greenhouse gas emissions, the health impact of air pollution is estimated to cost more than 4% of GDP. The OECD estimates that the world will lose $2.6 trillion by 2060 if outdoor air pollution is not tackled.

The private sector can improve air quality through various routes, including lowering emissions in supply chains to, innovating clean technologies and products, and raising awareness of the issue with employees and supporting them to commute in climate and air friendly ways.

“Air pollution is at the crossroads of mobility, health, energy and environment, and will require joint innovative solutions from public and private stakeholders. The Forum’s platform, tackling global and local issues through a systemic approach, is the right one to create impact and make a difference on this pressing issue.”

Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

With a focus on health, climate, mobility and children, the Clean Air Fund has projects underway in the UK, Poland, India and China to deepen the field of air pollution research and action and to build alliance across sectors to scale solutions.

The Clean Air Fund will deliver concrete action through multistakeholder initiatives and by increasing the level of funding to air pollution activities globally.

“Air pollution is a global public health emergency,” said Jane Burston, Executive Director of the Clean Air Fund. “Institutions, governments and philanthropy are taking action – businesses now need to get involved. We need to solve the air pollution crisis in order to support healthy communities around the world to realize their potential.”

The Clean Air Fund and the World Economic Forum will work together to ensure public-private initiatives can be established. At the World Economic Forum the Environment, Energy, Cities, Health and Mobility Platforms are all working on the issue, in collaboration with leading industry partners.

This article was first published on World Economic Forum and is reprinted with permission.

A partnership with the World Economic Forum is in place to protect public health by mobilizing multi-stakeholder action on ambient air pollution. The Forum will build a cohort of leaders to catalyze corporate and political will; create a shared set of tools and facts for prioritizing actions; drive thought leadership; deliver concrete action as well as share lessons learned.