The Environmental Giving Pledge
In May 2017, we set out to raise $50 million for the environment in five years.
In October 2020
We announced our members gave in excess of $120 million — enabling us to exceed our campaign goal.
Our members have contributed or pledged to stop land clearing, save the Great Barrier Reef and protect our precious freshwater and sea life.
We always call on donors to join our community of action now and pledge to increase funding to protect the environment now and for future generations to come.
Our shared vision
We envisage a future Australia where the natural world is celebrated and thriving.
The power of science converges with Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people’s millennia of experience to guide the wellbeing of our land. Wildlife is rich and abundant. We take action to protect and restore this land. We are proud of our relationship with our land, air, wildlife and water.
We power our country with clean, renewable energy. We have stopped extracting and burning fossil fuels and supported the transition to meaningful jobs in the clean energy economy. We have good infrastructure such as public transport, public parks and collective gardens. We have access to nature for our wellbeing.
We have a national strategy to protect our environment.
And it is well supported by strong institutions, laws and resources.
We all have free access to clean air and water. We enjoy good food and land that is well cared for. We support our farmers to grow fresh food in ways that regenerate the soil and promote the health of our land and waterways.
We know our children, neighbours and friends will be free to enjoy this beautiful country for generations to come. We are proud of our Australia and proud of our role as protectors of our environment in the world.
Creating pathways for change
For over a decade we have been engaging with experts from academia, philanthropy and the community sector to identify four pathways for change, where focused and strategic funding can deliver real impact.
Owning the narrative
Australians will act for the environment when passion meets motivation.
The myth that we must choose between the economy and the environment is pervasive. Recognising the importance of changing the story, owing the narrative and reversing the inertia, philanthropy can support all aspects of effective communications including strategy development, story-telling, data collection and sharing.
From grassroots to treetops
Now more than ever, Australian needs independent environmental organisations advocating to hold government and the corporate sector to account and to promote policies with drive sustainability.
With every $1 spent on advocacy resulting in $99 of government action and spending, environmental advocacy is a great investment of philanthropic funding.
Lifting up diverse voices
In every sector, we find people who care about the environment and every sector will benefit from the protection of the environmental systems that underpin life on earth.
By supporting this ecosystem of people and sector speaking up for the environment, a societal response can be created. Philanthropy can encourage diverse voices through convening and resourcing alliances and networks, and amplifying the messages from different sectors include health, agriculture, tourism, finance, faith, education and welfare.
Working together to create impact at scale
No single individual or organisation can reverse climate change or prevent mass extinctions.
However, by working together we can create impact at scale.
Philanthropy can encourage organisations to collaborate rather than compete and can fund the often hidden backbone activities and skill development required for collaboration.
Millions of people are doing their bit to care for all these things that inspire our love of country.
Millions of people are involved in planting trees, pulling weeds, watching birds and caring for nature.
Australia’s renewable sector has doubled its output over the past 12 months, with more than $20 billion of projects now under construction.
SOLD ON SOLAR
Australians love their solar panels — we have the highest proportion of households with PV systems on their roof of any country in the world.
MANAGING THE LAND
Indigenous people own or manage more than 20 per cent of Australia and their protected areas make up 45 per cent of our national reserve system, employing more than 2600 Indigenous rangers.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Fair trade, farmers markets, locally grown, organic farming and food miles are all part of how many of us think about our food.
Across Australia, communities are working to reduce pollution by eradicating plastics from their homes and businesses, and campaigning for a ban on plastic bags, bottles and packaging.
“In 2016, environmental charities in Australia received only 2.3 per cent of all charitable sector donations ($187 million) and we estimate that around $34 million of this came from structured giving. Of total revenue for all charities including government grants and fees for service, the environment received just 0.59 per cent of $729 million. Considering the scale and complexity of the environmental challenges we face, this amount is simply not enough.”
Keith Ince, Chair of the Board and AEGN member
Australia’s environment is in catastrophic decline and we are heading toward a tipping point. Humans are demanding too much of our land, water, air and oceans. Yet we know we have the power to reverse this decline.
We have the world’s highest extinction rate and our precious native animals, birds and plants are threatened by tree clearing, invasive species, and habitat loss and fragmentation.
Our oceans are clogged with plastics and new pollutants including microbeads. Warming water are destroying precious marine ecosystems including and far beyond the Great Barrier Reef. Parts of our much loved coastline are sullied and threatened by continued development.
Cities keep expanding, covering our green spaces and agricultural land with buildings and roads. Traffic chokes our neighbourhoods as public transport infrastructure struggles to keep up. People endure unprecedented heatwaves in building ill-equipped to protect them.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have changed our climate. Australia is experiencing more floods, fires and storms. Already under immense stress, mature is struggling to adapt.
The river systems which bring life to our continent and feed our communities are in poor health.
There is no adequate strategy to protect our environment from these escalating pressures.
Hear from others
We’re increasing our funding because the issue is increasingly urgent.
The impacts of climate change are being felt, seen and experienced. They are impacting our businesses and employees. All funding priorities are important to us, but if we don’t sort out the environment, what’s the point? Our foundation supports advocacy, research and direct remediation, focusing on climate, food systems and, reef and marine environments.
That is why we support The Environmental Giving Pledge to reach $50 million in five years.
Hayley Morris, Morris Family Foundation
We became one of Australia’s leading environmental funders after announcing a $10 million funding increase over three years to 2022.
Our foundation seeks to lead by example, highlight the significance of the issue, be targeted in the areas we seek to fund and follow words with action and funding — and we invite others to join us.
The Foundation partnered with The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Foundation to initiate an Australian freshwater mapping study using a $500,000 up-front investment to determine where philanthropic funding can make the biggest impact.
Now The Ian Potter Foundation and our partner The Myer Foundation have jointly agreed to commit $10 million over 10 years to create a new independent water policy centre.
Craig Connelly, The Ian Potter Foundation
We are a small, nimble foundation that devotes most of our giving to addressing climate change. Given the urgency of the issue, we are committed to spending down our corpus within 5-10 years.
We only have a short window left to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The idea of holding onto a corpus for the long term isn’t valid when faced with an existential crisis.
Our foundation complements its giving with in-kind support including business mentoring, strategic advice and assistance with proposals for further funding.
That is why we support the AEGN’s Environmental Giving Pledge to reach $50 million in five years.
Eytan Lenko, Lenko Family Foundation
We allocated $850,000 to help set up the Moreton Bay Foundation to protect the bay and give it a voice.
We decided to increase our funding when we realised there was a lot of research being done about the Moreton Bay but no action coming out of it and nothing much was getting through to the general public or government.
For us, this isn’t about chaining ourselves to trees or being partisan — this is about broad collaboration.
That is why we support the AEGN’s Environmental Giving Pledge to reach $50 million in five years.
John and Meta Goodman, The Goodman Foundation
We have a vital role
The role of philanthropy
Philanthropic funds are incredibly important.
Philanthropy is not beholden to election cycles or shareholders. And with the ability to be nimble, flexible, innovative and independent, philanthropy in partnership with powerful and effective community and other non-government actors can hold the keys to achieving change and scaling up the right solutions.
Philanthropy empowers the community and its leaders and has a long track record of building capacity in movements, supporting advocacy to achieve major outcomes and ensuring impact for investment. Philanthropy plays a vital role in supporting the actions of ordinary Australians as they repair landscapes, advocate for better policies, make life changes, use their purchasing power, act together in communities and enjoy and protect nature.