Lombard Odier and the WWF are publishing a guide to philanthropy for individuals and private foundations wishing to make a meaningful contribution to reverse biodiversity loss and address threats to nature. The Donor’s Guide to the Environment is intended as “a useful resource for any philanthropist wanting to protect the environment and help fight climate change”, said Lombard Odier in a press release.
Written and published in partnership with the WWF, the guide aims to raise awareness and facilitate engagement and funding in this field. “It provides information and analysis to better understand the scope of the nature and climate emergency we are facing and identify different types of solutions”, they stated.
Drawing on the combined experiences of Lombard Odier Group and the WWF, it outlines concrete projects, expected outcomes and donor opportunities for preserving oceans, forests and freshwater habitats across the globe. The guide also highlights case studies in the field of impact investment.
“One million species are threatened with extinction and the way we currently produce and consume is causing irreparable damage to biodiversity, land, forests, oceans and river systems. The science is clear: the loss of nature together with climate change is a global emergency putting our economic prosperity, wellbeing, development and survival at risk”, said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.
In 2017, only 3% of the US$410 billion donated to charity by US citizens went to environment-related causes, although this represented an increase of 7.2% on the previous year (NP Source). In Europe, a study from the European Foundation Centre looking at 87 of the largest European foundations found that they gave a total of €583 million in environment-related grants in 2016, less than 1% of the estimated €60 billion given in grants by European foundations that year (EFC).
“Despite awareness being higher than ever before and increasing engagement by philanthropists around the globe, faster progress is needed, along with the commensurate financing, to rebalance our relationship with nature. Philanthropy can help today and more than ever before in financing actions that target the root causes of nature loss and climate change and mobilise decision makers in driving the much needed systemic change for a sustainable future for people and planet”, added Lambertini.
Lombard Odier stated that the guide “clearly demonstrates that all donations are important to respond to today’s climate and environmental crisis”. For example, an amount such as US$35’000 can kick-start the development of a local sustainable fishing industry in the Mediterranean, whereas getting a developing country climate change-ready “requires funding in the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars”.
“The estimated funds needed to protect our climate and halt the loss of biodiversity are enormous. While the majority of the funding will come from governments, there are tremendous opportunities for philanthropic donors to make a difference as well,” said Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner of Lombard Odier Group and President of Fondation Lombard Odier.
“Philanthropy has a rare value. It is the catalyst that can ignite significant change in our culture. It can fund and support visions, no matter at what stage, be it the seed of a good idea or a fully-grown initiative. In this respect, the finance sector is also stepping up to the challenge, with innovative and sustainable finance initiatives”, he added.
As well as highlighting grants, the Donor’s Guide showcases some new financing tools, also important in addressing the environmental challenge. One example is the Blue Bond from The Nature Conservancy, which raises money to refinance developing countries’ debts on the condition that they use the money received to protect or preserve their natural environments.
“Such new financing tools are valuable because they mobilise capital that allows countries to address underlying structural factors that often attract less attention from philanthropists,” said Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier Group.
The Donor’s Guide to the Environment has been edited by Lombard Odier Group and is available in English. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Lombard Odier Group and WWF websites.