Climate change is the largest and most pervasive threat to both people and the planet. Yet, too often funders still tend to think of climate change as siloed in our analysis and responses, or a purely environmental issue, divorced from social issues and strategic missions.

At the same time, human rights and social justice funders understand that applying a climate-lens to their strategies will further their core missions, be that economic justice, LGBTQIA+, women’s rights or disability rights. In fact, it is the only way we can collectively tackle the climate crisis, and also continue to inspire change in the areas we were set up to address and for the communities we seek to serve. Now is the time for bold action and philanthropic leadership in positively shaping our societies, and advocating for large-scale change.

But what is a ‘climate lens’? This is a question the sector has collectively been tackling for the last couple of years. We are beginning to find and refine answers, and as more foundations embark on their journeys to integrate climate into their strategies, the field is growing and our expertise becoming stronger.

The following are four first steps funders can take as they set out on this journey.

  1. Analyse how your foundation’s specific interests and concerns intersect with climate change and where climate change is having or will have an impact on your priorities and strategies.
  2. Map your funding against key climate change-affected geographies and gaps in climate funding.
  3. Collaborate and coordinate. Climate change is a complex and interconnected issue. Appreciating that no one can work on everything, who are the natural partners for your foundation and what could such a partnership look like?
  4. Capture your learnings and thinking, and share it with others – you are not alone on this journey, whether established foundation or new trust, and together we are building a new philanthropic field.

Read the full article about funders using a climate-lens by Eva Rehse at Alliance Magazine.