Funders showing ‘strong progress’ in tackling climate change

Trusts and foundations are making “continued strong progress” in adopting measures to help protect the environment and tackle climate change, according to the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF).

Its survey of those signed up to the ACF’s Funder Commitment on Climate Change shows that across all six key pledges funders have either made some progress or are at an advanced stage of adopting climate change tackling measures.

The Commitment was launched in 2019 and has 91 signatories.

On the commitment to encourage trustees, staff and stakeholders to learn more about climate change, 36 funders had made some progress, while 11 are at an advanced stage. For example staff at the Samworth Foundation regularly attend webinars on climate change, land management and biodiversity.

In terms of committing resources to tackle climate change, 19 are at an advanced stage, while 28 have made some progress. OVO Foundation is among those to act on this commitment through the launch of its £1m Climate Changers fund for projects that are addressing climate change.

Green investments

Funders are increasingly looking to ensure their investments are green, the study adds. On the commitment to steward investments for a post carbon future, 15 charities are at an advanced stage, while 31 have made some progress.

“This year’s report shows a shift to those reporting they have made some progress, jumping from 30% to 46% of respondents” compared to last year’s survey, says ACF’s report.

A focus on climate change friendly investments among funders could increase further in coming years following a landmark legal ruling this year that allows charities to focus on green investments, even if it means losing out financially be excluding a large part of the market.

Other commitments where progress has been made by funders include reporting annually on green commitments, decarbonising operations and integrating climate change into existing programmes and processes.

“We’ve consistently said that climate change is an issue for all foundations and funders,” said ACF senior policy and engagement officer Joanna Peinkowska.

“Given the range of its impacts, it’s a health issue, a gender equality issue, a racial and social justice issue, an intergenerational issue, an economic issue and a issue for local communities. This report shows that funders agree, with more signing up who work across a wide range of funding themes.

“What’s particularly pleasing about the report this year is the continued commitment from signatories to report back.

“Funders aren’t signing up to the Commitment and then forgetting about it but using it as a framework to develop their own thinking and actions on climate change. We’re looking forward to seeing what actions funders take forward this year.”

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