20 April 2021

EFC publishes 5th edition of “Environmental funding by European foundations”

View “Environmental funding by European foundations” vol.5

Brussels, 20 April 2021 – Today the European Foundation Centre (EFC) launched the 5th edition of its environmental funding mapping, representing the most comprehensive study to date into support for environmental initiatives provided by European philanthropic foundations. Researchers and representatives of foundations attended the online launch event, which was moderated by the study’s lead author, Jon Cracknell of the Hour Is Late. The research is an initiative of the EFC’s European Environmental Funders Group (EEFG).

The mapping builds on the work of the four previous editions, significantly increasing the number of foundations and grants being analysed, along with the total value of these grants. The research seeks to establish as detailed a picture as possible of the state of European foundation funding for environmental issues. This edition of the mapping covers 127 foundations and 5,358 environmental grants across 146 countries, totalling €745.6 million in funding in 2018.

“The 5th edition of the mapping tracks the landscape of philanthropic environmental funding in Europe in unprecedented detail,” says EEFG Chair Charlotte Ruhbaum of Stiftung Mercator. “It creates a valuable resource that can inform discussions on the effectiveness of environmental giving within the European Environmental Funders Group and beyond.”

This latest edition highlights a continuation of several trends found in the 4th edition: Many of the same thematic issues continue to receive the largest share of funding; there is still a severe lack of EU-wide grantmaking activity, a stark contrast to the 80% of environmental legislation framed at the EU level; and similarly large disparities were identified in grantmaking activity across the various regions of Europe. Furthermore, the data illustrates a welcome rise in the total value of environmental grants of 15% among the 77 organisations featured in the 4th and 5th editions of the mapping.

‘’Climate and atmosphere’’ maintains its position as the most funded thematic area, receiving 18% of funding by value, building on its 14.8% share from 2016, though this increase is characterised by a number of larger grants from a select pool of funders. In terms of value the big winners were “agriculture & food” and “climate & marine”, receiving increases of over €20 million each between the fourth and fifth editions. However, by percentage growth there were promising increases in the five normally underrepresented categories of “consumption & waste”, “transport”, “trade & finance”, “fresh water”, and “toxics & pollution”. Critically though, these five categories are still the bottom five thematic areas when it comes to funding, demonstrating a continued lack of support for the “systemic drivers” of environmental harm.

“The new report shows welcome growth in environmental giving by European foundations, with 5,358 environmental grants worth €745.6 million,” says Jon Cracknell. “The research suggests, however, that just 22 out of the 127 foundations covered by the report are really trying to disrupt and transform the status quo, despite the fact that we have less than 10 years remaining to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.”

The five editions of this mapping are intended to build understanding of the philanthropic sector, improve coordination, and provide analysis that informs discussion of effectiveness in environmental grantmaking.

Access the report: www.efc.be/EnviroMappingvol5

All five editions of this mapping are available to download from the EFC European Environmental Funders Group page of the EFC website.