Powerful new tool provides Climate Lens on giving and investing for funders 

Thu, 30 Mar 2023 Estimated reading times: minutes

A Climate Lens tool was launched this week by the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN) and Philanthropy Australia, designed for funders seeking to better understand and mitigate against the cross-cutting impacts of climate change. It can be used by all Australian funders and applied across every aspect of philanthropy, from grant-making to investments and how corpus funds are managed. 

Only around 2 per cent of philanthropic giving in Australia is directed to the environment and climate change, so the Climate Lens aims to highlight this dire gap in the giving and impact sector, as well as the domino effect on other issue areas and marginalised communities when climate action is not adequately funded or understood. Globally, for every dollar invested in climate-resilient infrastructure, six dollars are saved in future disaster costs.  

The tool highlights the distinct cross-sections between climate change and common funding areas such as health and wellbeing, children and young people, women’s rights and gender equality, socioeconomic disadvantage, disasters and emergency management, biodiversity threats, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice. 

The toolkit is being launched at a number of events around the country. The Melbourne launch was held at the Sustainability Victoria office and was attended by around 100 members and supporters from the sector. Jack Heath, CEO of Philanthropy Australia, said: “We know climate change is on many of our members’ minds, but the size and complexity of the issue can often obscure pathways to action.  

“The Climate Lens tool shines a light on the impacts and opportunities to act in a clear and compelling way. We think it will be an invaluable resource to the philanthropic community in Australia.” 

The work of several Australian funders, working across a range of areas and stages of their giving journeys, is showcased in the toolkit. They have each applied a climate lens to their giving, achieving better outcomes for people and nature as a result. The philanthropists include Dr Catherine Brown OAM, CEO, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund, Hayley Morris, Executive Director of the Morris Group, Stacey Thomas, CEO, The Wyatt Trust, Tash Keuneman, Director of The Keuneman Foundation, and Sarah Buckley, Chief Executive Officer at The Trawalla Foundation.  

Amanda Martin OAM, CEO of Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, said: “While some funders are passionate about the climate crisis, others are newer to exploring these issues, or may feel unsure where to start. The Climate Lens aims to help Australians understand that funding climate action inherently helps to address the other issues they care about, whether it’s First Nations justice, gender equality, poverty and disadvantage, health or other areas.  

“There is no community that climate change is not impacting in Australia, and our marginalised communities are most at risk. The more we can understand the implications of these intersecting issues, the better we can drive action and effective outcomes.” 

Key research illustrating the intersections highlighted in the tool include:  

  • In NSW, VIC, ACT and Jervis Bay Territory, First Nations Australians were twice as likely to be directly impacted by the 2019–20 Black Summer bushfires than non-Indigenous neighbours 
  • 86% of Australians aged 14 to 17 consider climate change a threat to their safety  
  • The UN estimates that women comprise 80% of people displaced by climate change 
  • Australians facing disadvantage are more likely to live in areas most affected by climate impacts; when disasters hit, these communities have less resources to cope. 

More information is available about the Climate Lens and the tool can be download. 

To get involved in funding or supporting climate action today, reach out to the AEGN or Philanthropy Australia.