Unsustainable development, consumerism, the unequal role of women in society – all have negative impacts on our natural environment. Can environmental philanthropy successfully address the most pressing challenges if we do not acknowledge their interconnected nature? We believe that collaboration with funders from different fields – health, development, social justice – will mean a better-targeted and relevant response to environmental problems, and ultimately more impact. Collaboration across sectors is the future of environmental funding.
Posts from a range of voices on fostering an effective environmental movement.
In a recent EFN survey of 92 chief executives of environmental organisations, nearly half of the respondents indicated that their organisations' funding, strategy or other activities are being constrained by the so-called ‘closing space’ for civil society, here in the UK and in countries spanning the globe. The solutions will likely require groups to work across issue areas. How can funders help?
Each year EFN hosts a two-day retreat for funders to discuss the most pressing issues concerning those involved in tackling the myriad of challenges facing the environment. ACF’s Emma Hutchins reports back.
We believe our current food system is broken, causing not just environmental damage, but epidemics in obesity and diabetes, poverty amongst food and farm workers, and the mistreatment of animals. Last year the Food Ethics Council was commissioned by a group of funders to conduct a census of CSOs in order to develop a picture of the voluntary sector on food, farming and fishing in the UK. The census indicates that the challenges faced by the food system are getting worse. And despite the best efforts of CSOs, the sector’s response is not commensurate with the scale and urgency of the challenges.
The big opportunity of the decade is Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – maritime areas, clearly delineated, and protected in one way or another from atop the foaming wave to Davy Jones’s locker. But for them to make a meaningful difference, they need meaningful management, effective compliance and enforcement, and routine and widespread monitoring of benefits. That’s hard work. Arduous toil costs cash. Trusts and foundations have an important role.
It troubles me when I hear grant-making colleagues comment that the worst applications they receive are from environmental NGOs. So I thought I’d suggest some tips – Raven’s Rules for Relevant Writing, if you will. I hope you find them useful.
EFN’s Forest Funders Group has developed a methodology for mapping forest-related grants. The aim is to profile the flow of forest grants around specific issues, geographies and theories of change, and in doing so help funders to gain a better sense of forest philanthropy in the round, and reflect on the place of their portfolios within it. This trial analysis of a subset of grants offers some tantalising points for reflection.
The divest-invest campaign has helped foundations focus on the contribution of fossil fuel producers to climate change and on the need for mission-driven investing. But divest-invest is only the beginning of the story. To rapidly shrink greenhouse gas emissions, we must focus on utilities—the largest consumers of fossil fuels—as well as oil and gas companies. To the degree foundations hold shares in utilities, they have a voice and it is more important than ever that they use it.
Over the last year and a half or so, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has been working to understand how leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the South experience, and engage with, disruptive change that has impacts on their organisations. Now a new report looks at the implications of disruptive change in Southern CSOs for funders.
If you are interested in contributing a blog post, please contact us.