Arcadia founders join a call urging donor and foundations to increase environmental giving
As the UK prepares for a critical year for environmental policy, with the hosting of the G7 summit and the Cop26 UN climate talks, Arcadia founders Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin have joined a call for greater support to environmental causes from donors and foundations. Environmental philanthropy funds vital work that cannot be undertaken by governments and the private sector. It can be used to take risks, to fund transformative solutions and to push for change. Yet grants to protect and rehabilitate nature account for less than 4% of total giving from UK trusts and foundations and less than 2% goes to support action on climate. Some of the UK's leading environmental philanthropists have signed the letter. The Environmental Funders Network, which is coordinating the initiative, will send it to the UK's wealthiest families and largest foundations.
Learn more about our grants to protect endangered nature.
Read the full letter below or here.
Mediterranean Monk Seal. Photo by Zafer Kizilkaya. © Courtesy of Fauna & Flora International.
Letter to Philanthropists - June 2021
We are writing to invite you to join us in making such a commitment.
This year, with the UK hosting the COP26 international climate talks as well as the G20, and with the UN Biodiversity and Ocean conferences also taking place, we have an unparalleled opportunity to make a difference. What we do, or don’t do, in the coming months will set the terms of the future for everyone, now and for generations to come.
The environment is humanity’s life support. Yet the human systems we have collectively established – economic, industrial, even political – are changing our climate, endangering our fellow species, and diminishing our health and wellbeing. Whatever causes you care about and already fund will undoubtedly be impacted by climate change. There are myriad proposals for redesigning these systems in ways that support life, not degrade it, but the funds currently available for that work are a fraction of what they need to be. Estimates indicate that environmental philanthropy represents less than 4% of total giving from UK trusts and foundations; less than 2% goes to climate. We need much more to fund the solutions that exist but urgently need scaling: supporting civil society and social movements to protect our atmosphere, forests, seas and rivers; green research and innovation; strategic litigation; public education and much more, from the local to the global level.
We are calling on you to join us in a movement that changes this. Together, we can substantially increase funding for environmental and climate solutions – both through donations and investments – as well as raising the profile of the work already underway.
Philanthropy and charitable giving at all scales provides the most flexible capital and support for civil society. It funds vital work that cannot be undertaken by governments and the private sector, and can be used to take risks, to fund transformative solutions and to push for change. There are numerous environmental organisations doing brilliant work at all scales and levels, and even comparatively small amounts of funding can have a tangible impact. Environmental philanthropy has made a huge difference so far – it has saved species from extinction, changed national legislation, improved air quality in our cities, encouraged the movement of capital away from fossil fuels and into climate solutions, restored vast areas of land and the sea, revolutionised industries, and safeguarded the health and livelihoods of millions of people. With our investments too, we have the opportunity to drive positive change by focusing on the long-term impact they have on the environment and society. Philanthropists using their donations and investments to protect life on Earth are leaving unparalleled legacies.
Whether you already support environmental causes or are unsure of how to start, there are programmes that can connect you to other funders and support you to develop the most impactful and meaningful environmental philanthropy strategies – further information is overleaf.
The moment is now to get involved in the challenge of our lifetimes: to restore our climate and nature. With your efforts joining ours, we are confident that we can change the course of the future together, for the better. We can think of no higher calling for our wealth. Thank you for taking the time to hear us.
André Hoffmann, MAVA Foundation • Ben Goldsmith, The Ecology Trust •
Bill Carman, Carman Family Foundation • Devika Waney Mokhtarzadeh, Savitri Trust •
Greg Skinner & Suneil Setiya, Quadrature Climate Foundation • Heather Stevens, Waterloo Foundation •
James Arbib, Tellus Mater • Jessica Sweidan, Synchronicity Earth • Kristian Parker, Oak Foundation •
Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, Arcadia Fund • Sam Roddick, Roddick Foundation • Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden •
Sophie & Nick Marple, Gower Street • Stephen Brenninkmeijer, European Climate Foundation