UK charitable foundations provide more than £4bn of funding every year to good causes, ranging from medical research to the relief of poverty.
Signatories to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change recognise that the growing climate emergency is a serious risk to the pursuit of our charitable aims. All foundations, whatever their charitable mission and field of expertise, can play a part in addressing the causes of climate change and supporting adaptation to its effects.
The necessary changes to sharply reduce emissions and to adapt to climate change bring opportunities for new industries, good jobs, a cleaner environment, and improved wellbeing, but also involve significant costs. Funders can help to bring about these changes, to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon economy, and to ensure that the costs are not disproportionately borne by those who are least able to pay.
The scale of the climate threat, and the scale of the solutions needed, means that this is an issue for all parts of civil society, and for all charitable foundations. Climate change is a health issue, an equality issue, an educational issue, an economic issue, a cultural issue, a scientific issue, a security issue and a local community issue, as well as an environmental issue. Children and young people are showing bold and effective leadership. There is a special responsibility on foundations, whose assets are held for the public good, to use their resources and independence to rise to the challenge.
The Funder Commitment on Climage Change includes commitments to:
- Educate and learn - make opportunities for trustees, staff and stakeholders to learn more about the key causes and solutions of climate change.
- Commit resources to accelerate work that addresses the causes and impacts of climate change.
- Inegrate in existing programmes, priorities and processes - seek opportunities to contribute to a fair and lasting transition to a post carbon society and to support adaptation to climate change imapcts.
- Steward investments for a post-carbon future, recognising that climate change is a high-level risk to our investments, and therefore to a foundation's mission. Proactively address the risks and opportunities of a transition to a post carbon economy in the investment strategy and its implementation, recognising that such decisions can contribute to this transition being achieved.
- Decarbonise operations - taking ambitious action to minimise the carbon footprint of our own operations.
- Report on progress annually against the five goals listed above, continually developing practice, learning from others and sharing learning.