After years of little change, annual giving from UK foundations for environmental work nearly doubled between 2015/16 and 2018/19, a hugely encouraging upswing. At £222 million, annual giving levels still have a long way to go to meet the scale of the challenge (this figure represents just 6% of total UK foundation giving in 2018/19), but our forecast indicates that the trajectory will continue to rise steeply. In this blog we summarise the key findings from the latest edition of the Environmental Funders Network’s 'Where the Green Grants Went' series, which examines environmental giving from UK-based foundations and lottery sources from 2016/17 to 2018/19 in comparison to previous years.
COP26 will shape how governments respond to the climate crisis. It is also an organising moment for civil society, and a chance for funders to make public commitments in solidarity with civil society and the climate movement. Ahead of the start of COP later this week, Eva Rehse and Florence Miller take a critical look at the state of climate philanthropy today.
In December 2020, the UK Government announced an end to its finance for fossil fuels overseas, becoming the first major country in the world to take this step. This landmark announcement followed a multi-year campaign by a coalition of NGOs, which later won the ‘David and Goliath Award’ at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s National Campaign Awards. Adam McGibbon, the coordinator of the campaign, shares some of the key factors in the campaign's success that led to this big – and unexpected – policy win.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the shortfall in funding, current and prospective climate funders face extremely challenging decisions to ensure their grantmaking is as impactful as possible. Information on which particular issues, approaches and organisations other funders are supporting, and which are receiving less attention than others, can be very helpful to funders when making difficult grantmaking decisions.
With this in mind, EFN initiated a mapping exercise in 2020 to gather information on climate-related grantmaking from funders that participate in EFN’s Climate Funders Group. This blog summarises our key findings which we hope will be of use to current and potential climate funders.
From "veggie burgers" to "vegan sausage rolls", Europeans have been enjoying plant-based meat and dairy for decades. But in October 2020, the European Parliament voted on a plan to ban the plant-based sector from naming their products with the everyday language people use to describe these foods. Following a funder-supported campaign from The Good Food Institute Europe in collaboration with other international non-profits, leading businesses and thousands of consumers, MEPs voted to reject this attack on plant-based meat. Richard Parr, Managing Director of GFI Europe, describes how the willingness of their funders to support a collaborative approach enabled their small team to have an outsized influence in defeating the veggie burger ban.
How can we communicate about the ocean effectively in a COVID-19 world? It is a question that many members of the Marine CoLABoration, a network of ocean-interested organisations funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, have grappled with since the start of the pandemic. There have been difficult conversations over the need to communicate sensitively, while also protecting the hard-won gains that have been made in recent years and continuing to progress forwards. Natalie Hart from the Marine CoLAB explores how we can push for meaningful change, but do so in a way that does not cause harm.
The need to act on the pandemic has meant new challenges for much of Greenpeace's core work. Our volunteers aren't out on the streets talking to people about environmental issues; politicians and companies are less open to meetings with our campaigners as they struggle with immediate priorities; many events that would usually be crucial to our fundraising have been cancelled or postponed. Meanwhile, governments are injecting trillions into the global economy to keep it afloat. With this unprecedented amount of money available it is our job to ensure that, rather than propping up old industries that are fuelling the climate and nature crisis, governments direct that money towards a greener, more resilient economy that puts people and the planet first.
In the first of a blog series about the impact of COVID-19 on the environmental sector, we asked the Chief Officers of the environmental NGO networks, the Environment LINKs, how their members were coping.
The ability of citizens to organize themselves and redress grievances is under attack in 111 countries around the world. For environmental and conservation funders, these restrictions limit the ability to achieve key program outcomes, whether in wildlife protection, forest conservation, or climate change. We can come together with other funders, governments, and NGOs to address the root causes and manifestations of closing space, to help citizens in their efforts to protect our shared planet.
It is over thirty years since Michael Soulé proposed his model of conservation biology as a “synthetic, multi-disciplinary science”. Since everything humanity needs and does is ultimately derived from nature, it is imperative the sciences, social sciences, policy, practice, human rights, international development, legal and financial systems, culture and the arts come together to address one of the most pressing existential crises of our time. The Collaborative Fund is designed to support such collaboration between nine biodiversity conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge.