Climate philanthropy: a guide to green giving | FT Wealth

Watch this fireside chat between climate philanthropy experts Rachel Harrington, Executive Director of the Coutts Institute and Florence Miller, Director of the Environmental Funders Network on the basics of “green giving” where to start, how to find a meaningful cause, and why billionaires alone can’t solve the climate emergency.

It’s much better to act now than have those regrets 10 20 years down the line this is the window for action right now a pound spent today is worth 10 pounds in a decade i’m rachel harrington from kutz and i’m here in london to talk with florence miller from the environmental funders network about how we can all make a bigger impact on the world florence it’s so

Great to catch up with you after 2021 which was such a big year for the environment all of the conversations that have been happening around climate crisis we’ll have heard lots of talk about climate philanthropy and how important it is what we’ve seen in just in the last three years is a huge uptick so i think the penny has dropped both in the public consciousness

Around environmental issues but you’re seeing that mirrored in philanthropic interest for quite a long time total giving from uk trusts and foundations was at about 100 to 110 million pounds a year that sounds like quite a lot i mean it’s an absolute drop in the bucket what what do you do when a client comes to you newly interested in these issues but not knowing

Where to start for me as a philanthropy advisor what you’re trying to do is be that kind of tour guide to the sector there might be some things where the best thing to do is to make a donation you know to a charity that’s got a great model needs to be able to scale up in the middle there could be really interesting opportunities to fund early stage ventures that

Could have a commercial future but need some of that risk capital to get going or projects where there’s a potential to get some of your money back but you’re really in it for the environmental return and then also when we’re looking at you know the money that we’re investing for them in mainstream markets you know how do you do that in a responsible way you

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Know as a responsible investor i think there’s this growing idea that what you do about climate change should not just be bundled up in your philanthropy it should cut through everything that you do it should be in your business practices it should be in your investments and it should be in your philanthropy you know a decade or more ago there was this sense

That you spend the first half of your life making your money and then the second half of your life giving it away and philanthropy was over here and investing was over here now i think there is this sense that we can use all of our resources in line with the things that we care about as investors we’ve all got huge power probably much more than we realize to

Make a difference to be able to engage with businesses i mean we’re engaging with um hundreds of companies every year at coots on behalf of our clients to get them to to change their behavior so clients know that when they’re investing with us whether it’s their their isa or a 20 million pound portfolio that it’s going to be invested responsibly and be part of a

Journey towards the net zero ambitions by 2050. where would you suggest people start if they’re thinking about dipping a toe in the water of green giving i think of philanthropy in three main ways there’s the thematic issue that you want to support and within the environment climate change will be one of those and within climate change you may think okay i want


To influence the way industry works so for example we need to figure out how to make concrete without producing nearly so much carbon dioxide that could be your niche how do we make our buildings more energy efficient how do we make transport more energy efficient these are the things we haven’t solved yet these are sort of thematic areas that you could focus on

Then there’s the approaches that you want to fund and approaches are things like litigation there are really effective environmental organizations that litigate or you may think environmental education is what’s necessary or you may think we need more research maybe you’re going to fund some research into battery development and then there’s geography so where

Am i going to fund a lot of people fund where they made their money where they where they reside but actually there are gaps around the world that need to be funded so it’s these three lenses that you can apply to start narrowing down and then you can lay on top what’s my passion so that’s a really helpful way to think about it isn’t it what i’m always saying is

You know with philanthropy you learn by doing you know you’ve got to start somewhere just start just start giving and you’ll quickly find a way to put your money where other money isn’t just trying to find find the gaps if the planet were picking its team we’d all be on it it needs all of us playing a part here but like with any team it’s going to look different

For different people we might have a different role to play some of us might only be able to give a few hundred or a few thousand pounds others might have tens of millions to give are they equally valuable and important i think the important thing to understand is the relative strengths of different amounts of money so the value of smaller amounts of money is

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Often that they can be injected really quickly so they’re much more responsive to need but larger donations can be much more patient i mean they take longer to make decisions about because they are a larger amount of money but they can persist and support for example policy change both forms of capital are necessary in the system to make the changes we need i

Spend a lot of time working with the next generation and they want to know how all of their families assets are being used in line with their values and they want those transparent conversations with the people who are looking after their money to say how are you using this to contribute to making the world better i think it signifies a sense of urgency now

That younger people are thinking what is this money for if not to protect the planet that we’re living on and our children will be living on in the future how do you keep positive what gives you hope it’s tricky isn’t it because it’s so easy to get sucked into the the doom and gloom but actually for me the hope is in the action you know this is not a crisis

That’s going to be solved by governments and billionaires it’s a crisis that’s going to be solved by all of us taking the action that we can there is a great deal of joy to be had from doing this kind of work from investing in a better future for everybody i mean that sounds so twee but actually that is what people are trying to do the planet is picking all of

Us like we all need to be playing a role in this

Transcribed from video
Climate philanthropy: a guide to green giving | FT Wealth By Financial Times

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