The Canadian Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change calls on all foundations and funders in this land to act on climate change.
The Canadian Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change is a call on all foundations and other funders in this land to signal their commitment to act on climate change regardless of their respective missions. If left unaddressed, the impacts of climate change can undo our work to advance equity, health, poverty alleviation, economic prosperity, Indigenous and human rights, especially those who will be disproportionately affected – and all issues and communities on which we hope to have a positive impact as philanthropic actors.
We invite foundations and other funders to read and sign the commitment below and signal their commitment to implementation across the 7 pillars of action. We will work with signatory foundations to support them in their journey and provide them with resources and exchange and learning opportunities.
The global pandemic impacts every aspect of Canadian society and, as such, requires a whole-of-sector response. Canadian philanthropy continues to respond in unprecedented ways. Now, in the face of the climate emergency, we must learn from that experience and step up to an even greater degree of magnitude – and likely for much longer.
Signatories of this commitment will join a global community of foundations and other funders under the #PhilanthropyForClimate movement of philanthropic actors committing to act on climate.
This Canadian Commitment is a joint initiative of Community Foundations of Canada, Environment Funders Canada, Philanthropic Foundations Canada, and The Circle on Philanthropy.
Our Canadian Call to Action
Building on the International Commitment, the Canadian Philanthropy Climate Commitment calls on all funders in this land, regardless of their mission, to come together and commit to act on climate change.
The 2021 IPCC report serves as a ‘code red’ for humanity. Canada is the third largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and our emissions reductions lag behind. We recognize that these trends are rooted in the reality that the Canadian economy has been significantly fueled by the extraction of natural resources. The exploitation of Indigenous land has amplified this reality.
At the same time, Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. We are already experiencing the drastic impacts of climate change, from wildfires in the West, and droughts in the Prairies, to melting permafrost in the North and storms in the East. These impacts will continue to amplify and impact the wellbeing of our communities and our entire planet. We thus recognize that we have a moral and practical responsibility to do our fair share to reduce global emissions.
The transition to a socially just and ecologically sustainable world presents an opportunity and an imperative for us to invest in building inclusive, local well-being economies that generate long-term community wealth, are regenerative and sustainable, and fundamentally improve the lives of large numbers of people. We must work to ensure that those most vulnerable to climate impacts, particularly Indigenous, marginalized and racialized groups and communities, are invited to the table, and are given the resources they need to respond to the climate crisis.
We recognize that Canada has much to learn from Indigenous stewardship and we support the essential role of Indigenous leadership by acknowledging Indigenous title, rights, and sovereignty. Notably, Indigenous Peoples comprise 5% of the global population, but protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity – demonstrating the critical climate mitigation and life-sustaining value of Indigenous stewardship. Uplifting Indigenous-led climate action is a pivotal act of respect and a step toward justice.
We recognize our fundamental obligations to Indigenous Peoples — First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and actions under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as our commitments as a signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A community’s choice to give, or withhold, their free, prior and informed consent to a project or activity planned to take place on their land is a recognized right of Indigenous Peoples under both national and international law. Upholding inherent and Treaty Rights and Indigenous sovereignty is critical for climate action.
We recognize that different provinces, territories, municipalities and communities across the country face different circumstances and impacts. Nevertheless, we must work together as a federation to deliver bold, ambitious change from coast to coast to coast. Philanthropic actors in Canada are well-positioned to initiate system shifts required to both move our greenhouse gas emissions in the opposite direction as well as support and empower communities in this transition.
With the above background serving as an urgent Call to Action, we invite Canadian funders to support the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change.
We, the undersigned organizations, recognize the growing climate emergency, and the serious risk it presents to the pursuit of our philanthropic aims. We believe that all organizations with philanthropic resources, whatever their mission and field of expertise, can play a role in addressing this emergency. The Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement show a clear international consensus on the urgency of addressing climate change, through mitigation and adaptation actions. There is a special responsibility on philanthropic organizations, which hold assets for the common good, to use their resources, independence and influence to rise to the challenge now.
The necessary changes to sharply reduce emissions and to adapt to climate change bring opportunities for new industries, good jobs, a cleaner environment, increased biodiversity, and improved wellbeing, but also involve significant costs. The philanthropy sector can help to bring about these changes, to ensure that everyone has equitable access to opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon economy, and to ensure that the costs are not disproportionately borne by those who are least able to pay.
The scale of the climate emergency, and the scale of the solutions needed, means that this is a global challenge that affects us all. Climate change is an health issue, a gender equality issue, a racial and social justice issue, an educational issue, an economic issue, a cultural issue, a security issue, a human rights issue, and a local community issue. Many individuals and groups across the world are showing bold and effective leadership, including young people, women and Indigenous Peoples.
Countries, communities and organizations without a fair share of global financial resources are the least responsible for emissions, and yet are at greatest risk. The countries, communities and organizations with the largest share of global financial resources are responsible for the largest share of emissions, historically and today. The actions we can take, and the resources we have available, will vary from signatory to signatory, and from country to country. What we have in common is this public commitment to act.
We invite all philanthropic organizations everywhere to join us, by signing this international commitment, or by joining a national funder commitment on climate change.
We, the undersigned organizations, commit to action as follows:
Education and learning
We will ensure that our boards, investment committees, staff, volunteers and stakeholders are informed about the systemic causes, impacts and solutions of climate change, and the implications for our work.
Commitment of Resources
Recognising the urgency of the situation, we will commit resources to accelerate work that addresses the root causes of climate change or adaptation to its impacts. If our governing document or other factors make it difficult to directly fund such work, we will find other ways to contribute, or consider how such barriers might be overcome.
Within the design and implementation of our programmes, we will seek opportunities to contribute to a fair and lasting transition to a net zero world, and to support adaptation to climate change impacts, especially in the most affected communities.
Endowments and assets
We will consider climate change in relation to the source and management of our operational and any endowed funds. We will seek to align our investment strategy and its implementation with a rapid and just transition to a net zero economy.
We will take ambitious action to minimise the climate impact of our own operations, which may include for example travel, buildings and procurement.
Influencing and advocacy
We will seek opportunities to work with others, to amplify the voices of frontline communities, and to encourage and support more ambitious action on climate change by our key stakeholders, partners and audiences; these may include businesses, local or national governments, multilateral organisations, donors and funders, individuals or civil society movements.
We will collect and publish information annually on the actions we have taken against the six pillars listed above to share our progress and identify areas for improvement. We will continue to develop our practice, to collaborate, and to learn from each other.
We encourage Signatories to commit to the corresponding actions across all 7 pillars outlined in our Implementation Guide. Download our Implementation Guide, which includes three different levels of action depending on where funders are in their climate action journey.
1st Year Implementation Report
At the end of the first year of implementation, each of the 48 signatories was asked to complete a 23-question reporting template. This report presents a candid assessment of the encouraging progress made over the course of the first year, while also highlighting the challenges that many foundations encountered.
The report aims to encourage accountability and transparency, identify the opportunities to strengthen collective impact, and establish robust targets and benchmarks to drive meaningful change in the philanthropic sector and, ultimately, contribute to a sustainable future for Canada and the world.
Through this pledge, signatories are committed to take action on seven pillars, the last of which is transparency. Sharing information on their progress once a year allows signatories to be transparent and held accountable by peers, partners and ultimately the public. Click here to view the annual reporting questionnaire template.
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Is your organization ready to sign? Please fill out this Signatory form, which will allow us to better identify ways to support your implementation journey. Once your Signatory form has been processed by our team, you will be listed on this website as a Canadian Signatory, and included on this list as a global Signatory.