What We Fund

Our Mission

Our mission is to help protect the world from climate change, keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees and restore our relationship with the natural world.

We want to make this difference by using our grants and investments to safeguard our forests, repair damaged soils, connect people with nature, support universal access to clean energy and help make financial investments better benefit nature and our society.

Our Programme Areas

Since the Trust was founded, tackling climate change has and continues to be the Trust’s primary focus. Trustees chose these distinct and inter-connected programmes as they are key in the fight against climate change and transitioning us towards a fair and just low-carbon society.

We usually only fund registered charities or organisations which align with our charitable purposes. We do not usually make grants to individuals.

The Climate Change Collaboration

The Climate Change Collaboration is an initiative comprised of the Ashden Trust and two other Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, the Mark Leonard Trust and JJ Charitable Trust. It funds efforts which help move private and public capital away from polluting corporations to companies that will help achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping temperature rises well below 2 degrees and preferably 1.5 degrees.

The Climate Change Collaboration

The Climate Change Collaboration is an initiative comprised of the Ashden Trust and two other Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, the Mark Leonard Trust and JJ Charitable Trust. It funds efforts which help move private and public capital away from polluting corporations to companies that will help achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping temperature rises well below 2 degrees and preferably 1.5 degrees. Moving money in this way is vital to ensure future stability of our financial systems and protect our planet too.

The IPCC’s 2018 Global Warming Special Report has set the imperative to move our financial markets towards solutions which arrest global warming at well below 2 degrees – to do this requires aligning global finance with the Paris Agreement.

Since 2015 the Climate Change Collaboration has helped spearhead the Divest Invest movement within Europe. Divest Invest asks investors to move their money out of fossil fuels investments and into climate solutions. The Trust has engaged with many different organisations and institutional investors across Europe. To date, over $14 trillion worth of assets under management has been moved out of fossil fuels globally.

We are also seeking legal clarity on whether the Trust should or must align its own investments with the Paris Agreement to avoid catastrophic climate change, as well as remove potential conflicts between its investments and its charitable work on mitigating climate change.

Some grantees supported through the Climate Change Collaboration:

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (“UKSIF”)

UKSIF is a membership organisation committed to growing sustainable and responsible finance in the UK. UKSIF influences government policy and regulation that support the growth of sustainable finance, informs it members and the public of industry developments and connects different stakeholders operating within sustainable finance to each other.

The Climate Change Collaboration partnered with UKSIF to produce its 2018 “fund managers’ responses to climate-related risks facing fossil fuel companies” survey. The survey explored to what extent fund managers accounted for climate change related risks when assessing whether International Oil Companies (IOCs) were prudent investments, what engagement strategies fund managers had in place with IOCs and what client demand there was for fossil fuel free funds.

Client Earth

Client Earth use the power of law to bring about systemic change that protects the earth for all its inhabitants.

Client Earth’s ‘Climate Finance Initiative’ seeks to catalyse the adoption of legal and regulatory frameworks which drive sustainable capital investment.  The Climate Change Collaboration has, and continues, to support this Initiative’s pensions workstream which utilises legal and advocacy interventions to drive the UK pensions sector towards Paris Agreement aligned governance and investment models.

Carbon Tracker Initiative

Carbon Tracker is an influential think-tank that investigates the financial risks of fossil fuels investments.

The Climate Change Collaboration has recently funded Carbon Tracker to undertake new research on the scale of bank lending for new or existing fossil fuel projects and companies.

Stopping Deforestation

We have funded efforts to stop deforestation across the world since the Trust was set up in 1989; it remains a key target area for the Trust. Our efforts are currently focused on the Amazon and forests within Indonesia and West Papua.

Stopping deforestation

We have funded efforts to stop deforestation across the world since the Trust was set up in 1989; it remains a key target area for the Trust. Our efforts are currently focused on the Amazon and forests within Indonesia and West Papua.

The Trust has four connected areas of priority to stop deforestation:

  • support evidence collection to expose the sources and extent of illegal deforestation, as well as the risks and scale of deforestation in general, and make this information public to change perceptions that deforestation, in any form, is unacceptable;
  • support legal action to end illegal deforestation and extend legal protection to all forests;
  • raise awareness and change the attitudes of the public and financial markets so that it is unacceptable to invest in or buy or sell products which are linked to deforestation; and
  • support indigenous forest peoples in retaining their independence, livelihoods and ability to protect themselves and their forest homes
    from unsustainable development, corruption and deforestation.

Some of our grantees:

Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch is an NGO which protects and advances the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazonian forest basin. Our support is particularly focused on the Sacred Headwaters area which covers 74 million acres of Amazonian rainforest.

We have supported Amazon Watch’s campaign work targeting financial institutions that enable finance flows to extractive industries causing deforestation. The campaign aims to stop oil and gas extraction in the Sacred Headwaters through educating the financial community on the material and financial risks of drilling in the Amazon and asking them to move their money out of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Amazon.

Global Witness

Global Witness is a not-for-profit organisation which publishes in-depth investigations on corruption, land-grabbing and illegal activities of government and organisations happening across the world.

We are supporting Global Witness to strengthen UK and EU legislation and government policy on company supply chains to prevent the destruction of tropical forests.

Forest Peoples Programme

Forest Peoples Programme help indigenous communities engage with the outside powers which shape and operate in the forests in which they live, in order for them to pursue legal and customary ownership of the forests in which they live.

We currently support Forest Peoples Programme’s investigation which is uncovering the ‘shadow companies’ of large oil palm conglomerates based in Indonesia. It seeks to link these undisclosed companies to the oil palm conglomerates which actually own them, and expose the misdeeds of these shadow entities which are causing deforestation and harming the interests and livelihoods of forest communities based in the North, West and East Kalimantan regions.

Connecting People with Nature

There is a wealth of evidence which shows that spending time outside in nature has lasting positive effects on our physical and mental health as well as our general well-being. The Trust wants to bring these positive benefits to different types of people and demographics.

Connecting People with Nature

There is a wealth of evidence which shows that spending time outside in nature has lasting positive effects on our physical and mental health as well as our general well-being. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the extent to which access to nature differs across our society; those who are most disadvantaged often have less access to, and miss out on the benefits of, natural spaces.

We believe everyone should have access to natural spaces and we have a long history of supporting organisations and initiatives which get people back into nature.

Connecting Children with Nature

The Trust has a large focus on connecting children with nature; there is plenty of evidence which suggests that children feel better when outside, develop more holistically and learn better in outdoor settings. The Trust’s strategy will be to:

  • Provide opportunities for children (of school and college age) and especially those from disadvantaged homes, groups, and communities to access nature, outdoor learning and play;
  • Enable children to reap the mental, and physical health benefits of being outside in nature.

Another benefit of achieving these two aims may be that children also develop a sense of care and responsibility towards the natural world.

We recognise that some of the factors which enable or affect children being able to fully benefit from time outside in nature are:

  • An adult guide (such as teachers, parents, out-door and community leaders) who themselves are confident about being outside and in nature.
  • Opportunities for active engagement in nature.
  • Nearly every child goes to school, so schools are well-placed to provide opportunities.
  • Once children reach the age of puberty, many begin to feel much less connected to nature – likely because they are moving through puberty and the way that secondary school education is structured.

The ways in which we seek to achieve our strategy will be through the following ways:

Directly supporting children’s access to nature

The Trust has a small grants ‘pot’ which supports initiatives (summer, winter and spring outdoor schemes) which get children out to play or be in nature.

Supporting ‘multiplier’ opportunities which help connect children with nature

Important areas of focus for us are:

  • ‘Teaching the teachers’ so that schoolteachers are confident to deliver outdoor, engaging education and play.
  • Providing advice to farmers, land-managers and land-owners about how to establish outdoor learning experiences for children.
  • Connect organisations that provide support services to disadvantaged children with organisations providing support for outdoor education and play.
  • Connected to the above, further support may be given to address some of the practical barriers to outdoor education and play; such as transport and having waterproof clothes and boots, and social barriers such as feeling comfortable being out in nature.

Evidence gathering and advocacy for connecting children with nature

We want also want to support grantees to develop, share and communicate evidence which supports why children should be given access to nature and the benefits of outdoor learning and their learnings from their work.

Some of our grantees:

The Country Trust

The Country Trust brings disadvantaged school children to farms to help them understand where their food comes from and to learn more about and connect with the UK countryside.

We have provided funding to them so that this small, dynamic charity can scale up its impact and improve its evidence base that outdoor education is beneficial to school-age children.

The Nature Premium

The Nature Premium is a campaign which seeks to introduce a statutory requirement for schools to take children regularly into nature. It would give every child, in every school an opportunity, in the school week, to be outdoors to learn, be active, and play. It is seeking that this is a government funded initiative, similar to that of the existing ‘Sports Premium’.

The campaign will push for teacher discretion on how Nature Premium funding is used; teachers could then channel funding in bespoke ways which best support their students’ mental health and wellbeing, and give students new skills, knowledge and confidence to flourish.

 

Connecting adults with nature

Whilst the Trust has a main focus on connecting children with nature, it also supports organisations which help adults acquire the mental and physical health benefits of being connected with nature. Some examples of grantees which do so are:

Wild in the City

Wild in the City encourage and support adults from urban backgrounds (with a focus on BAME backgrounds) to enjoy and feel connected with local wildlife spaces and become confident to share their knowledge and experiences with other members of their family and communities.

We provided funding to Wild in The City to increase its team so it has greater capacity to engage more people and host more outdoor training sessions. We have also provided core funding support.

 

 

Horatio’s Garden

Horatio’s Garden design, create and look after gardens within NHS spinal injury centres for patients dealing with serious spinal trauma. They have opened over five gardens across the UK and Scotland.

We continue to part-fund Horatio’s Garden running costs and supported its advocacy work which highlights the clinical and health benefits of hospital gardens and their value to patients.

Sustainable Farming

With the UK exiting the European Union, there are huge opportunities for the UK to rethink its agricultural processes and land management. Looking forward, we believe our agriculture could provide healthy, affordable food produced in ways that protect soil health, restore biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and support thriving communities.

Sustainable farming

With the UK exiting the European Union, there are huge opportunities for the UK to rethink its  agricultural processes and land management. Looking forward, we believe our agriculture could provide healthy, affordable food produced in ways that protect soil health, restore biodiversity, are resilient to the effects of climate change and support thriving communities.

In recent years, we have made grants to farmer-led organisations that lead the development of more sustainable farming and land-management practices.

Some of our grantees:

Sustain

Sustain’s main mission is advocating for food and agricultural policies which enhance the welfare and health of people, society and animals.

We funded Sustain to be a key voice throughout the development of the Agriculture Act 2020 when it was going through Parliament. Sustain undertook advocacy work which ensured the new Act supported the development of sustainable agricultural practices, practices which protect soil health and help UK farmers be able to produce healthy and nutritious food.

Soil Association

The Soil Association is a leading UK charity which campaigns for sustainable farming and land use, and healthy produce and food for everyone.

We have funded the Soil Association’s Ten Year Plan for Agroecology. This work aims to model how we can transition from our unsustainable agricultural system to a new model which takes into account the environment, reduces climate change impacts, supports wildlife and provides healthy food for a growing population.

Ashden – climate solutions in action

Each year, we provide unrestricted funding to Ashden – climate solutions in action. This charity was set up by Sarah Butler-Sloss to reward, support and promote sustainable energy innovations to combat climate change and energy poverty.

Ashden – climate solutions in action

Each year, we provide unrestricted funding to Ashden – climate solutions in action. This charity was set up by Sarah Butler-Sloss to reward, support and promote sustainable energy innovations to combat climate change and energy poverty.

Ashden aims to accelerate transformative energy and climate solutions to build a more just world.  The Ashden Trust has a particular interest in supporting their work on increasing access to sustainable energy for all.  This work remains an urgent priority, so that we can support the poorest communities which are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

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