A new coalition of major environmental grantmakers was launched in Beijing on 29 January. The news comes days after Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in the US called on foundations to ‘confront philanthropy’s relative lack of engagement with worldwide climate change’.
According to a press release from the China Foundation Center, which will act as the ‘office’ and executive arm of the coalition, the China Environmental Grantmakers Alliance (CEGA) will provide cooperation and exchange platform for Chinese environmental funders.
Its main activities will be setting up a database for charitable organisations working in the environmental field; analysing environmental protection projects and providing support for member units; publishing an annual report on environmental protection; promoting international exchanges and cooperation in environmental protection; and establishing classification standards and an evaluation index system to better assess the impact of organisations working in the field.
CEGA comprises the country’s leading environmental protection foundations including SEE Foundation, Qiaonyu Foundation, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation, Lao Niu Foundation, Harmony Community Foundation, The Paradise Foundation, Vanke Foundation, China Green Carbon Foundation, China Environmental Protection Foundation and Friends of Nature Foundation.
The new coalition comes on the heels of the announcement by the Hewlett Foundation that it is to ramp up its climate spending by $600 million.
In January 2018, Hewlett president Larry Kramer issued an urgent call for foundations to direct more funding to the threat caused by climate change.
Speaking at the launch of CEGA, Tao Ze, president of the China Foundation Center, said that, although new funders are entering the field, increasing investment in training practitioners is needed and forest conservation, combating desertification, and water pollution prevention and control are areas requiring urgent attention.
In other respects, the initiative has not come a moment too soon. According to Sustainability for All, China ranks as the leading producer of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, having, in its headlong rush to industrialisation overtaken the US in this respect.