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Lombard Odier And WWF Team Up On Donor Guide

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , 29 June 2020

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The new publication aims to bring donors closer to the causes they care about and in front of the right green investment tools.    

While the economic effects of COVID-19 have dominated investment decisions over the last few months, climate change has not gone away. As a reminder of this, the Swiss banking group Lombard Odier has launched a philanthropy guide for individuals and foundations interested in tackling the bigger threats to the natural world. Its new Donor’s Guide to the Environment is billed as a useful resource for any philanthropist who wants to get involved in fighting biodiversity loss and climate change, and comes from a firm that has established a strong track record in sustainable investment.

Published in partnership with the WWF, the guide aims to analyse the main ecological threats and identify different types of solutions. These include live projects, expected outcomes and donor opportunities for protecting oceans, forests and freshwater habitats worldwide, it said. It also details case studies of impact investments, different types of grants, and new financing tools.

In blunt terms the WWF estimates that one million species are at risk from extinction on our current trajectory of stewardship. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said the loss of nature together with climate change is putting our “very survival” at risk, and philanthropy needs to play a bigger role as does finance.

Numbers show that just 3 per cent of the $410 billion donated to charity by US individuals last year went to environment-related causes; although this was a 7 per cent rise on the previous year, according NonProfit Source, an organisation that tracks charitable giving.

A study in Europe by the European Foundation Centre, which looked at the giving of Europe's largest foundations, found that out of a total of €60 billion in grants issued, only €583 million were environment-related. That is less than 1 per cent, according to the latest figures available from the centre for 2016.

While governments are still providing the bulk of funding, senior managing partner at Lombard Odier, Patrick Odier, said there are "tremendous opportunities” for philanthropists and the finance sector to get behind "innovative finance solutions."

The market for green and blue bonds is one example. These vehicles, in particular, allow countries to fix structural problems which are less attractive for private donors, the Swiss group's head of philanthropy, Maximilian Martin, said. Whether it is protecting marine environments or African wildlife, a host of instruments are needed, he said.

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