How your foundation can enhance its impact using a “climate lens”.

1. A climate lens explores the relationship between your philanthropic interests and climate change.

By using a climate lens, you’ll see how climate change impacts upon your purpose area and ultimately the effectiveness of your grantmaking. Armed with this understanding, the impact of your philanthropy will continue to grow.

“Through my participation in the Funder Initiative that ran alongside the United Nations (UN) COP 21 international climate negotiations in late 2015, I came to see clearly that climate change is not just an environmental issue. The impacts on health and food security were obvious.

The opportunities to reduce carbon emissions in housing construction and to provide employment opportunities in a low carbon economy were also compelling. We decided to place a carbon lens across our granting.

Philanthropy has a special role to play as we can fund innovative solutions and opportunities, and we can bring our lens of reducing disadvantage to the current climate challenge.”

Dr Catherine Brown, CEO, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

2. A climate lens helps you understand how climate change impacts upon the people your philanthropy supports.

Climate change has a disproportionate impact upon disadvantaged and vulnerable people with certain groups, such as Indigenous communities, people with disabilities and farmers, being more affected. The elderly and people who live in geographic areas that are more prone to bushfires and major climate events are also at greater risk.

“Social justice and environmental justice are completely intertwined. We see how climate change and the deterioration of our environment are having the greatest impact on disadvantaged and marginalised people. It’s imperative that we understand the links and don’t try to work on these issues in isolation.”

Julie Edwards, CEO, Jesuit Social Services.

3. A climate lens will help give you a more confident understanding of whether a problem you are targeting is exacerbated by climate change.

As a “threat multiplier”, climate change has wide implications. National security, food insecurity, people movements and refugee numbers are all worsened by climate change.

“Military planning is progressing, but neither the world nor Australia are prepared for the serious, large-scale impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and refugee patterns.”

Admiral Chris Barrie, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force

4. A climate lens will help you find solutions that address your purpose area, while responding to climate change.

Many climate change solutions are beneficial for people and society more generally – these are known as “co-benefits”. Zero carbon homes have very low running costs and high comfort levels. Regional communities powered by renewable energy enjoy low cost power for their community facilities and fewer outages.

For funders

We’re building a climate lens toolkit and we’d love your input. Perspectives from a wide variety of foundations with different focus areas will make the toolkit a dynamic game changer.

If you are from a foundation and would like to participate in our working group, or just share your views and needs, we want to hear from you.