Up to one million species are now threatened with extinction, marking a rapid and serious decline in the health of the ecosystems we all depend on to survive and thrive. This loss is deeply concerning, as ecosystems also play a vital role in regulating the climate.

Despite this, nature conservation is still only the fifth biggest area for philanthropic giving, with climate change following closely behind. This is on the rise, but we are still falling well short of filling the $700 billion annual financing gap for nature.

In a recent interview with Alliance, philanthropist André Hoffmann shared his views on the limitations of philanthropy. While I agree with many of his points and strongly echo his call for businesses to create more value, I believe that in this planetary emergency we, need more – not less – philanthropic giving, and we need it more urgently than ever before.

I also believe philanthropy is an enabler for the very systems change that Hoffmann and others are calling for.

At The Nature Conservancy (TNC) we’re increasingly finding that philanthropy can be the catalyst for unlocking additional funding for projects: giving reassurance to larger funders such as private investors and governments, which brings new partners and collaborators on board.

This is the thinking behind Enduring Earth, a collaborative initiative to conserve an area nearly twice the size of India. Through this initiative, TNC works in collaboration with WWF, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and ZOMALAB – using a philanthropic starter fund to secure long-term funding for conservation, economic diversification, and community prosperity in partnership with at least 20 countries worldwide.

The starter fund is critical to our success and we are pleased to have recently attracted what we believe to be the single largest environmental donation ever from a European foundation: $40 million from The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. To date, partners have conserved nearly 90 million hectares, with plans to mobilise nearly $4 billion in new funding to protect an additional half a billion hectares by the end of the decade.

Philanthropy can also empower and finance Indigenous groups, who are the stewards of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, like in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. Starting in 2006, TNC supported an effort to secure durable funding for Indigenous stewardship of the forest. This initiative led to an innovative finance agreement among First Nations, British Columbia, Canada, and private funders; and to the creation of Coast Funds, an Indigenous-led conservation finance institution, to manage CAD$120 million for conservation and economic development.

Read the full article about climate philanthropy by Marianne Kleiberg at Alliance Magazine.