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.
Posts from a range of voices on fostering an effective environmental movement.
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.
We are at a key moment in history. If business as usual continues, we have just five years left before we reach the critical global temperature rise of 1.5C. Despite some of the world’s largest economies recently ratifying the Paris Agreement, there seems little real commitment to tackle the big transition required to change course from this trajectory. Civil society is mobilising in response, but finds itself under pressure from state and non-state actors alike. At Global Greengrants Fund we are discussing what our priorities should be over the next five years within this context. Three fundamental questions underlie our thinking.
Seldom are ‘environmental’ issues ‘merely’ environmental issues; often they are part of larger, connected and complex resource, social and health concerns. Responding effectively to these connected challenges requires integrated solutions, but two problems are faced in doing so. Firstly, few conservationists take the multi-dimensionality of the issues into account when designing programmes. Secondly, few funding partners realise that existing funding policies often prevent one of the most suitable approaches to many conservation issues being implemented in the first place.
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