Matangi Bali Initiative – developing an entrepreneurial approach to seek solutions to climate change in Bali.

From October 2023 to January 2024, We conducted a baseline study and gathered insights from residents of Bali on the topic of climate entrepreneurship. The baseline study was carried out to gain a deeper understanding of the context and perspectives focused on innovation and entrepreneurship-oriented solutions aimed at promoting green growth in Bali.

The baseline knowledge gathering methodology included: document review; 6 framing interviews with social enterprise technical support providers; two group discussions in Bali with 33 participants and an online survey that was filled by 362 participants.

Survey respondents are individuals currently residing in Bali (regardless of nationality or origin from within Indonesia)


Understanding the climate issues in Bali

97.5% of respondents express a high level of anxiety about the impact of climate change. The primary worries are its impact on their health and their families (53%) and the availability of food and water (47%).

The most commonly perceived climate-related issues in Bali, as identified by participants in group discussions and surveys, are extreme heat. 94% of respondents mention that extreme heat is the most significant change in weather or the environment in recent years, followed by water and air pollution (62% of respondents).

In some villages, such as Tigawasa in Buleleng, there has been a decrease in the water flow of nearby rivers. Deforestation and drought force residents to travel farther to obtain water from its source. In this context, the traditional role of women involves collecting water for household needs.

Additionally, respondents mention that floods and heavy rainfall are significant changes they have experienced in their environment. Since 2010, there has been an increase in the frequency of heavy rains and large floods in Jembrana, Ubud, and Renon. Sea levels in Klungkung Regency have also recorded an increase.

The majority of the population in Bali feels these environmental changes, given that agriculture is a crucial sector in Bali’s economic movement and development. In 2020, the agricultural sector contributed significantly, accounting for 15% of Bali’s Gross Domestic Product. Until now, Bali’s agricultural sector has consistently been a strong support for the fragile tourism industry amid economic, social, and environmental upheavals, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rapid development in Bali

The climate issues in Bali are closely linked to the fact that males are the land heirs (even though many women could inherit if there are no male siblings and they haven’t left the household, for example, to get married). As a result, men tend to have a greater influence compared to women in decision-making processes related to land sales, businesses, and other strategic decisions.

A lot of land has now become buildings, whereas before there were a lot of trees. This has contributed to climate anxiety, which will affect both mental & physical health.

Youth participants validated this point by stating that land conversion has led to the feeling of anxiety among them, as they are losing green space in Bali. 

The rapid population growth and tourism sector development in Bali also bring several other impacts

  • Population growth will affect the amount of waste generated.
  • There is a rapid rise in vehicle use on the island coupled with unintegrated and insufficient public transportation. The carbon footprint made by tourism activities is huge. 
  • Food waste caused by mass production of the tourism industry.
  • Overload of organic waste due to increasing volume caused by the rise of tourism (estimated to be three times the waste caused by the Balinese).

Public policies

The local government and the community in Bali generally acknowledge and are aware of the importance of Net Zero Emission (NZE) and the transition to clean energy. According to our survey findings, the government is perceived as having the highest capability to address climate change concerns, with 56.2% of respondents indicating so across the board, notably emphasizing local and regional governments.

Unfortunately, despite this awareness, the Bali government is increasingly constructing Gas Power Plants (PLTG) rather than transitioning to Solar Power Plants (PLTS). Bali’s dependency on fossil fuels persists with the construction of a new PLTG with a capacity of 2×100 MW in Pesanggaran. 

The inconsistency between formulated policies and their implementation poses the biggest challenge currently faced by Bali.

On a positive note, Bali excels in energy transition policies compared to other provinces in Indonesia. The province of Bali has set an NZE target for 2045, which is 15 years earlier than the national target. This initiative is supported by the launch of regulations for the development of renewable energy and electric vehicles.

For further details, NEX Indonesia has compiled a policy brief on the Role of the Provincial Government of Bali in Supporting the Clean Energy Technology Startup Ecosystem (Cleantech Startups). Click here for more information.

Nevertheless, amid the complexities of climate challenges in Bali, significant opportunities for transformative change also arise.

Gender issues and disparities

“As a female entrepreneur, we are often underestimated by men, especially if the market is dominated by men, such as working with local farmers.”

Regarding equal access and resources for women interested in initiatives or social entrepreneurship, findings from two group discussions indicate that women engaged in social entrepreneurship benefit from exclusive forums for women. However, they also suggest that involving men in specific discussions within these forums can be beneficial, allowing them to provide understanding and engage men in supporting women in the business world. Male participants in these discussions express their willingness to step back and create space for women, especially those familiar with gender equality education. They commit to supporting women in leadership roles and taking part in caregiving roles. Implementing gender equality education for male groups can yield positive results. Involving men from these groups in women’s social entrepreneurship forums can be a strategic step for mutual benefit.

Among female entrepreneurs, one critical yet often overlooked issue is how lonely the journey of a social entrepreneur can feel, especially in the climate sector. This often serves as a barrier to active participation in climate action. Female entrepreneurs need a space/forum – exclusively for female social entrepreneurs. This space can be used for anything – not just discussing business but also providing a support system, whether for validating ideas, opinions, or perspectives by other female social entrepreneurs. When women pursue their ideas or businesses independently, self-censorship regarding their perspectives on controversial subjects like gender equality in the entrepreneurial/business/work environment is unavoidable. This space/forum may help female entrepreneurs in overcoming their fears.

“Here, ‘environmentally friendly’ products can only be afforded by the middle to upper socio-economic class.”

The issue of inequality is not only a gap between men and women but also occurs among women from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Most female entrepreneurs come from middle to upper socioeconomic backgrounds. Environmentally friendly products are also often sold at higher prices, making them accessible only to specific demographics.

On addressing confidence and overcome prejudice

Both young people and women face low confidence as a major challenge in developing social entrepreneurship in Bali.

“Although people in Bali have talent, they are reluctant to compete. The difference in atmosphere between Java and Bali is very striking. Young people in Bali often hesitate and are unwilling to take leadership positions. Their involvement in environmental activities tends to be reactive, leaning more towards a ‘if there’s an activity, just invite me’ attitude rather than being proactive,” stated one discussion participant.

Notably, many people in Bali express that becoming an entrepreneur is not an option that has ever crossed their minds. Those who complete their education, even those who go outside Bali for higher education, are expected to become Civil Servants (PNS) or work in the tourism sector. This is influenced by the views of extended families and society, as both are considered safer career paths, as opposed to being an entrepreneur.

Furthermore, this lack of confidence is also linked to overcoming prejudices against local products and services.

“Every time I introduce my local business idea or product, it seems that people are slightly disappointed because the environmentally friendly product comes from within the country, not from abroad. Subsequently, they begin to doubt the quality of my product. Some people still have stereotypes that foreign products are superior to local products.”

The lack of innovation culture in Bali is caused by insufficient support for entrepreneurship, especially due to low confidence and prejudices against local products and services.

Fact highlight: oceans of plastic waste

There is a long-established habit of discarding garbage in Bali. However, this garbage used to primarily be organic, whereas in the past couple of generations this has increasingly consisted of plastic.

In the past, Bali had its own way of disposing and managing waste. Since the majority of household waste was organic, the Village Self-Management Waste System (Pola Pesan-Pede) was a suitable step inherited from ancestors. However, in recent generations, there has been an increase in plastic and other inorganic waste, rendering this method ineffective.

People want the convenience of using plastic but they do not know what to do with the plastic waste. However it is still the cheapest alternative for those of lower socio-economic status. This is about the management of plastic waste because it is not possible to completely eliminate the use of plastic. Some organic products are very expensive and in Bali there is a lot of green-washing.

“When the community’s priority is basic needs, they don’t care about the environmental damage caused by plastic use because the cost [of using plastic] is affordable for them.”

According to group discussion participants, every time there is environmental education in Bali, particularly about waste management, the target audience is always women. A male participant in the discussion mentioned that men are  careless about waste management compared to women.

On the other hand, with many responsibilities burdened on women – using instant products provides them with a lot of convenience. Of course, these instant products are packaged in plastic. Almost all participants agreed that in Bali, women’s time and energy are concentrated on preparing traditional ceremonies. All participants agreed that the use of instant food helps women, allowing them more time for other activities, including starting a business.

However, we have seen how young people work on this issue to prevent the island from being overwhelmed by plastic waste. Ida Bagus Madhara Brasika, along with Alfina and their team, established GriyaLuhu, a digital technology-based waste management innovation that fosters collaboration between villages. GriyaLuhu is one of the startups alumni from the New Energy Nexus Indonesia acceleration program in 2023.

On encouraging women and youth into entrepreneurial opportunities

Climate entrepreneurs in Bali, especially young individuals and women, receive minimal support. Among the supports for innovation development in entrepreneurship, there are still many gaps because most support or assistance is concentrated on advanced stages, and rarely focuses on Bali.

Young participants stated that as climate entrepreneurs, they can inspire other young generations to seize opportunities to develop this business. Therefore, youth forums, where young people can use media to share ideas, experiences, challenges, and solutions, would be an effective channel for exchanging information and talking with their peers. These forums can also serve to discuss and provide inspiration for climate solutions with a fun approach. Discussions can be conducted in formal settings (facilitated by organizations, schools, or universities) or in informal settings, such as in Banjar or during STT meetings (local young people’s groups in Bali). The most important aspect of these forums, according to young people, is letting the young generation themselves design the forum. Interested organizations can provide support by facilitating forums and providing experiences.

On the other hand, female participants highlighted the need for a ‘space’ for female social entrepreneurs to discuss their plans and ideas. There are women entrepreneurs’ forums in Bali, but they are exclusive and not all women entrepreneurs can access them. Participants suggested the existence of a more inclusive women’s space/forum, meaning that anyone, in any business or at any business stage and from all regions in Bali (not just in the metropolitan Denpasar area and its surroundings), can join.

Our approach

“Matangi”, directly translating to  “wake up” embodies the essence of reviving the life of Balinese communities and their symbiotic unity with nature. The Matangi Bali Initiative aims to develop an innovative and entrepreneurial approach that promotes the creation of green growth in Bali.

Our journey in Bali began in 2021, where we extended capacity building support to women climate entrepreneurs, fostering innovative solutions despite gender barriers within the climate sector. Recognizing the limitations of solely empowering one group, we have pivoted our approach to encompass broader participation, encouraging all stakeholders – including men, women, youth, government,  and communities – to embrace and cultivate leadership organically. This effort ensures that diverse voices contribute to sustainable solutions addressing climate change effectively. 

This initiative is initiated by New Energy Nexus Indonesia as part of the Bali Net Zero Emissions Coalition with CAST Foundation, IESR & WRI Indonesia. Matangi Bali  is supported by Climateworks Foundation and ViriyaENB.

As part of the Matangi Bali Initiative, a baseline study was conducted in partnership with Saraswati Development Innovation. The findings gathered from these efforts are utilized to inform our program planning and implementation.

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