Lucy Gilbert, Head of Policy
As Great Big Green Week is upon us, it feels timely to highlight our commitment to environmental funding. Earlier this year we published our latest Vital Signs report, on Climate & Communities in the West of England. It looks at the impact on local people of food systems and insecurity, extreme weather, energy and transport, and the natural world. The findings were stark on the need for urgent action and on how unequally climate change affects our different communities.
Addressing the climate crisis is an issue of fairness
As we’ve witnessed during the pandemic, the climate crisis will worsen the inequalities that already exist here. Those are the same inequalities that our local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, our fund holders and our staff team are all working so hard to address. And so it feels right that the environment and the climate crisis is taking a more prominent place in our thinking at Quartet. We are now signatory to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change.
Based on the experience of the pandemic, we know the VCSE sector will be essential in supporting residents and in fostering behaviour change. We want to help organisations prepare for future crises, to grow their resilience and to engage with the climate-related impacts on their beneficiaries. We know they will need funding to have the capacity to do this. We were so delighted to be invited to speak at an event hosted by B&NES Third Sector Group (3SG) as part of B&NES Climate & Biodiversity Festival, to make sure local groups know how keen we are to support this kind of work.
How much funding do we award environmental causes?
The Environmental Funders Network estimates that less than 4% of funding from charitable trusts currently supports environmental and conservation work. Analysis of Quartet’s own grant-making over the last ten years suggests that approximately 5% of our total funding has been for environmental projects. Not specialising in environmental issues, this will never be the majority of our grant-making. But we believe there is scope for us to do much more here, to weave considerations around the environment into everything we do at Quartet, and to make sure the impact on the environment is considered in all our grant funding decisions.
We are currently talking to key people and groups, getting their views on the action that we should take as a local funder. Out of these conversations, we are finding a real opportunity to give strategic support to environmental groups, to collaborative work, and to community groups outside of the environmental sector who want to start to plan and respond to climate change.
Please contact Lucy Gilbert, our Head of Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more or in being involved.