Globally, more and more philanthropic foundations are announcing public commitments to protect our planet. Where in the past philanthropic focus has largely focused on medical research and support, and poverty relief and education, the urgent call for funds to mitigate the effects of climate change has shifted funding direction towards sustainability and environment protection.

With COP26 just around the corner, there’s been an increase in announcements from philanthropists ramping up their donations and investments for climate action. The latest and largest was a US$5 billion donation to Biodiversity Conservation, from nine international funders. Michael and Annie Cannon Brooks have announced they will spend $1 billion investing in green technology businesses, with a further $500 million in donations for philanthropic organisations, think tanks, institutes and civil society organisations working on the climate crisis. 

This month, we welcome to the Climateworks team Elizabeth Ee, Development Manager, who will bring together philanthropic partners with ClimateWorks’ ambition to transform the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Liz will focus on securing funding for our international projects – building partnerships and collaborations to accelerate solutions for greater traction on net zero goals. Liz comes with 15 years of experience in public relations, major gifts fundraising, corporate ethics as well as environment, social and governance (ESG) in Australia and Singapore. She believes in joining an organisation closely aligned with her values and is passionate about making a difference for the environment. 

The Asian region is seeing a substantial increase in the channeling of philanthropic funds to combat climate change, and protect our oceans and environment. Last month, Singapore-based investment company Temasek pledged $15 million to co-fund a research centre that harnesses hydrogen for sustainability applications, and a gift of $3 million to implement a research program to develop a knowledge database and toolkit for blue carbon stocks in the region. There has also been an increase in unrestricted giving towards climate change,  allowing organisations like ClimateWorks to have untethered access to tackle the region’s most urgent climate change problems.

ClimateWorks is over 80 per cent funded by Philanthropy. Core funding – not tethered to a specific project or outcome – enables us to respond strategically with action in the areas of greatest value. Our experience, from creation in 2009 to now, has shown the need to scale our work in order to reach the sectors and decision-makers required for reducing emissions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

We welcome new philanthropic investment and partnerships to co-design and collaborate together from all regions, well beyond Australia.

Reach out to Liz Ee at liz.ee@climateworksaustralia.org if you’re interested in learning more about how we work with our philanthropic partners to facilitate meaningful change.