The AKO Foundation Trustees have become increasingly concerned by the effect of the changing climate on current and future generations and on global biodiversity.  While acknowledging that they might have done so earlier, in 2019 they initiated what is becoming a third principal strand of grant-making, under the category heading ‘Climate’.  By flying, driving and so on the Trustees do not live a carbon-neutral life, and would not wish to imply that they do.  Nevertheless, they believe it is better to do something than nothing.  Accordingly, they seek to support a portfolio of beneficiaries who they believe will have significant and lasting impact.

While acquiring experience in this field, the Foundation is taking advantage of the knowledge and advice offered by the Climate Leadership Initiative and other expert bodies.

Climate

CDP

CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) draws on the power and influence of investors and buyers to motivate companies, cities, regions and states to disclose and manage their environmental impacts.  It plays an essential role as the leading disclosure platform covering more than 7,000 companies and 600 cities globally.  Over the past 18 years, CDP has built the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world, on the premise that what cannot be measured, cannot be managed.  CDP is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition.

In 2020 the Foundation added an unrestricted grant to its existing support to CDP.

Energy Foundation China

Energy Foundation China (EFC) is the largest climate-related grantmaker operating in China.  Dedicated to facilitating China’s sustainable energy development, and working closely with a wide range of both public and private sector bodies, EFC acts as regrantor, facilitator, and strategic adviser.  Its Beijing-based staff support policy research, the development of new standards, capacity building, and dissemination of best practices across multiple sectors of the economy, for example in key areas such as transport electrification, cooling efficiency, power sector reform, and green finance.  It makes around 200 grants per annum to research institutes, academies, think tanks, and other NGOs.  The Foundation has made a grant over 2 years towards EFC’s core activities in China.

Client Earth

Client Earth is a UK charity that employs the power of the law to protect the planet.  It uses legal advocacy, advice and, where necessary, litigation in order to ensure that government policies and corporate investment behaviours comply with existing environmental, energy markets and state aid legislation in countries around the world.  The Foundation made a substantial grant to Client Earth in early 2020.

European Climate Foundation

Founded in 2008 and registered in the Netherlands as an international non-profit organisation, the European Climate Foundation is a strategic regranter whose aims are to promote climate and energy policies that will reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and to help Europe play a stronger international leadership role in mitigating climate change.  It undertakes research and technical analysis and strategic communications, convenes partnerships between policy-makers and other representative groups, and co-ordinates high-level political and diplomatic action.  

The Foundation made its first grant to ECF in 2020.

Conservation International

Conservation International seeks to protect the earth’s natural assets by promoting sustainable economic growth and climate resilience.  Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, Conservation International empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, global biodiversity, and the ultimate well-being of humanity.

Rangelands (grasslands, savannah and shrub lands) cover 47% of the Earth’s land surface and provide livelihoods to 180 million people globally, including more than 20 million pastoralists in Africa.  For certain African communities, restoring and sustainably managing this land is essential to lift them out of poverty and to provide them with water, food and jobs.  In addition, rangelands play an important role in ecological processes across Africa, forming important water catchment areas in dryland countries.  The condition of rangelands determines the ability of surrounding ecosystems to absorb and store water and carbon, and degraded rangelands contribute directly to the loss of soil carbon into the atmosphere, soil erosion into water courses and wetlands, and the dominance of bare ground in these ecosystems (contributing directly to heat and water stress for both people and nature).

The Foundation has agreed to fund a project whereby CI will work with women in Kenya and South Africa to assist them in the sustainable management of rangelands.

Live Ocean

Live Ocean is an NGO based in New Zealand, working to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, and in particular the oceans around New Zealand, the country with the 4th largest marine space on the planet.  It funds marine research and the transition of research data and conclusions into ocean health action; and it uses sailing events globally to promote ocean-friendly behaviour.  The Foundation made a match-funding grant towards Live Ocean’s core costs.

Basecamp Explorer Foundation

The Basecamp Explorer Foundation (BEF) is the charitable arm of a Norwegian sustainable tourism business, which operates in the Arctic and in Kenya.  In Kenya, Basecamp has had a long association with tribal chiefs in the Maasai Mara region; by collaborating with the local communities, BEF seeks to halt the extinction of the region’s wildlife. 

BEF’s approach is based on a close partnership with those who own and inhabit the land.  The Foundation’s grant, over 3 years, will be used to lease, from local families, corridors of land that are critical for wildlife migrations; and to fund the operating expenses of a new educational entity, the Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara, which will train local people in the tourism and hospitality industries.

Science Museum

The Foundation made a grant towards the planned exhibition Our Future Planet which it is hoped will open in 2021.