Young people want charities to be more involved in climate change debate, poll finds

Written by Lauren Weymouth
19/09/19

The public want charities to be more involved in the climate change debate, particularly younger people, who believe the sector has a key role to play in the movement, a new poll has revealed.

Latest polling from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) found 46 per cent of people agreed charities are an important part of the climate change debate, while over half (51%) disagreed with the statement 'charities should not get involved with the climate change debate'.

Meanwhile, younger respondents (aged 16-24), were most likely to think charities are an important part of the debate - 59 per cent stated they feel this way.

The same group of younger people overwhelmingly disagreed (69%) with the statement that 'charities should not get involved in the climate change debate', which was significantly higher than the 51 per cent average.

CAF asked participants who they thought had most effectively led the climate change debate, to which 35 per cent of respondents said individuals had been the leaders. This figure rose to 38 per cent among women and 45 per cent among 16-24 year olds.

But just 9 per cent said charities had been leading the debate, while 14 per cent said international bodies, 8 per cent said the government and 2 per cent said businesses.

“People clearly see individuals as leading the public debate on climate change,” CAF head of research, Susan Pinkney said.

“This is likely to have been a result of prominent activists such as Greta Thunberg and the school climate protests.”

“It’s notable that a sizeable minority of those polled were unsure about whether or not charities are an important part of the climate debate, or whether they should play any role at all,” she added.

“Charities like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth often lead the climate conversation, but perhaps the charity sector at large – along with international bodies, governments and businesses – need to get better at expressing how they’re helping to tackle what is emerging as the defining issue of our age.”

The findings from the poll come ahead of the global climate strikes, which are taking place in a number of locations across the world between 20-27 September.

The impeding strike is part of a wave of inspirational climate action being headed up by children and young people. They began in August 2018 when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament and demanded change.

On 22 October, Charity Times will be holding an event on climate change for people responsible for the investments of their charitable assets.

The highly topical conference will explore the relationship between charity investments and climate change, and provide charity leaders with all the information they need to yield good investment returns, while at the same time reducing the damage to the Earth.

You can read more information here.




  • Charity Times Awards Event Date: 2nd October 2019 Event Deadline: Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Charity Times Pensions Roundtable Event Date: 10th October 2019 Event Deadline: Barnett Waddingham, 2 London Wall Place, London For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Investors Forum – Climate Change Event Date: 22nd October 2019 Event Deadline: 1 Birdcage Walk Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Charity Times Annual Conference Event Date: 6th May 2020 Event Deadline: The Waldorf Hilton, London
  • Property Roundtable Event Date: 2020 TBC Event Deadline: Searcy’s at the Gherkin For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Better Society Awards Event Date: 23rd May 2019 Event Deadline: 25th January 2019 London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London
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