First climate pledge for individual philanthropists launches

05 Nov 2021 News

The Individual Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change urges individual philanthropists to recognise the climate emergency and think about ways they can address it. 

In light of the COP26 climate conference this month (31 October – 12 November), the pledge’s creators recognised that though more businesses are committing to becoming net zero by 2050, that “the role of philanthropy risks being left behind”. 

They feel the launch of the UK’s first Individual Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change bridges this gap and will help hold individual donors accountable for assisting in the battle against climate change. 

The project has been organised by Beacon Collaborative in collaboration with the Environmental Funders Network. The pledge is also backed by the Association of Charitable Foundations. It is part of a family of climate change commitments, which include the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change, which has been signed by 350 organisations. 

The pledge

The Commitment, also known as Donors for Climate, asks its signatories to sign the pledge which begins as follows: 

“As an individual donor or philanthropist, I recognise the growing climate emergency, and the serious risk it presents to the pursuit of my and my family’s philanthropic aims. I believe that anyone with philanthropic resources, whatever their mission and field of expertise, can play a role in addressing this emergency.

“There is a special responsibility on individual donors, philanthropists and philanthropic organisations, which commit assets for the common good, to use their resources, independence and influence to rise to the challenge now.”

Beacon Collaborative says that climate change overlaps with the issues many philanthropic organisations aim to tackle. The pledge stresses that climate change is not just an environmental issue but a “health issue, an equality issue, an educational issue, an economic issue, a cultural issue, a scientific issue, a security issue and a local community issue”. 

Committing to change

The pledge asked individual philanthropists to commit to the following:

  1. Education and learning - about the causes, impacts and solutions of the climate crisis.
  2. Commitment of resources - that address the root causes of climate change.
  3. Alignment with other activities - when investing or donating to charitable causes, signatories will seek ways to encourage those organisations to address the climate crisis.
  4. Investment strategy - as a donor, signatories should align their investment strategy with rapid transition to a net zero economy.
  5. Lifestyle choices – minimise personal impact on the climate through changes in lifestyle choices. This may include travel and investment choices. 
  6. Influencing and advocacy – signatories will seek opportunities to work with others to encourage and support more ambitious action on climate change.
  7. Transparency on progress – signatories will respond to a short annual survey on the actions they have taken against the six pillars listed above to share their progress on tackling climate change and identify areas for improvement.

Cath Dovey, co-founder of the Beacon Collaborative, said: “The Individual Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change is a framework for action that will help dedicated private donors and philanthropists stand shoulder-to-shoulder with professional grantmakers to support a positive transition to a net-zero world.” 

The pledge is aiming for a target of 200 signatories in time for the next COP UN conference in November 2022. 

To sign the pledge, visit

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