Initiative to Unlock $3 Trillion a Year for Climate and Nature

The Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private, and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs), was launched by the World Economic Forum today with the support of more than 45 partners.

This initiative aims to help unlock the $3 trillion in annual funding needed to achieve net zero, reverse nature loss, and restore biodiversity by the year 2050.

The goal of guiding the earth towards a 1.5-degree Celsius warming route is in jeopardy due to the energy and expense of living issues. In the meantime, the recent UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) decision to save 30% of the entire earth and sea appears audacious but flimsy in the face of a worsening biodiversity crisis. A fresh strategy is required to increase money flow because the current funding is insufficient and slow. With special characteristics not seen in other forms of financing, philanthropic giving can address this problem since it is quick to act, more risk-tolerant, and motivated by values and long-term results rather than short-term profits.

“In our efforts to get the planet back on track to achieve our climate goals, we have reached a turning moment. According to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, “We need to release not only private capital and government funding, but also the charity sector as a genuinely catalytic force to accomplish the essential acceleration.

African Climate Foundation, AndrĂ© Hoffmann Family Office, Arab Foundations Forum, Bezos Earth Fund, BMW Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Clean Air Fund, Climate Leadership Initiative, ClimateWorks Foundation, Eleven Eleven Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Growald Climate Fund, IKEA Foundation, Laudes Foundation, Noa’s Ark Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Active Philanthropy are just a few of the growing list of philanthropic partners of GAEA.

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Capital for Climate, Carbon Direct, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, Center for Strategic Philanthropy at the University of Cambridge, Climate-KIC, Crescent Enterprises, Government of Egypt, HCLTech through its chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra, McKinsey Sustainability, Ocean14, and Prince are a few of the people, businesses, and public sector organizations supporting the initiative.

Although philanthropy funding for climate change mitigation has increased recently, it still amounts to less than 2% of the $810 billion in philanthropic giving expected in 2021. Increased philanthropy assistance for the environment and climate will add to rather than subtract from current social objectives. “Climate change offers a distinct challenge to humanity,” said Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, recently. “We must immediately combat climate change, even as we redouble efforts in our core program areas: health, power, food, and equity.”

With the assistance of McKinsey Sustainability as a knowledge partner, GAEA will work with founding members over the upcoming 12 months to create momentum around three distinct goals:

Bring together leaders from the public, corporate, and charitable sectors to determine which climate and environmental issues they can best contribute to by acting as catalysts.
Test and improve funding strategies that can help PPPP initiatives
GAEA will draw on already successful examples to scale up and replicate effective ideas to new sectors, locations, and actors. In order to increase equitable access to low-carbon cooling and support 4.2 gigatons of avoided CO2 emissions by 2050, the Clean Cooling Collaborative, for instance, which was established with the aid of an initial $10 million of philanthropic funding in 2016 has mobilized more than $600 million in public and private finance.

Similar to this, the Seychelles’ government used philanthropic funding, public loan guarantees, and private investment to raise $15 million through a blue bond and turn $22 million in government debt into funds for conservation in order to safeguard 13 marine areas, which together cover an area larger than Germany.

“We need more businesses, family offices, people, and the new generation of philanthropists to get involved in the climate and nature discourse,” said Wendy Abrams, CEO of Eleven Eleven Foundation. There won’t be much for the next generation to inherit if we don’t work together to find a solution. GAEA can be a useful venue for bringing together the necessary parties and amplifying action at scale.

“This call to action is incredibly opportune, as it builds on the directions set during COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, “the COP of implementation,” under the Egyptian chair,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister for International Cooperation. More philanthropies are required to join us at the table and support the scaling up of multilateral development bank financing to free up private capital and quicken the green transition. Egypt will collaborate closely with the World Economic Forum to create philanthropic public-private partnerships that have a significant impact and to advance the role of philanthropy, which is a major “P.”

IKEA Foundation CEO Per Heggens stated: “We are happy to support the launch of the GAEA program. Under 2% of the world’s charitable resources is now being used to mitigate climate change, and that is simply unacceptable. But there is also a huge chance to use charitable giving to advance climate change. Inspiring urgent, radical, and unheard-of collaboration between the public and private sectors is a special role that philanthropies can play. We can only unlock the investment needed to meet our lofty climate objectives and safeguard the environment by cooperating at scale.

“There is a historic chance to leverage the full power of philanthropic organizations, family offices, and other innovative capital actors, in unity with government and business to accomplish our climate and natural goals,” said Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Enterprises. The COP28 in the UAE will set new standards for the ambition and the development of a global framework that will enable all capital actors to collaborate quickly and effectively. The GAEA and the World Economic Forum serve as potent forums and amplifiers for these initiatives.

“By unleashing the small but mighty ‘P’ of philanthropy, we can establish genuinely catalytic partnerships that unlock ambitious and collaborative public, private, and philanthropic action to improve people’s lives,” said Helen Mountford, Chief Executive Officer of ClimateWorks.

“Philanthropy Asia Alliance will continue to amp up its effect by supporting projects like GAEA to pool our combined resources and experience, and turn ideas into action,” stated Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Philanthropy Asia Alliance (by Temasek Trust). A climate philanthropy study on multi-stakeholder partnerships as a force to address complex climate challenges will be released later this year by PAA in cooperation with the World Economic Forum as GAEA’s first Asia-focused important deliverable.

“We are very thrilled to support GAEA’s mission to better connect philanthropic funding with governmental and corporate sector initiatives to advance climate and natural solutions,” said Bob Sternfels, Chief Executive Officer of McKinsey & Company. Our shared goal is to hasten thought and action in these areas toward tipping points while ensuring that economic growth is becoming more sustainable and equitable.

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