Editorial – Climate Philanthropy: The issue of climate change in the context of COP26 

Par Jean-Marc Fontan , PhiLab Co-Director
19 October 2021

In Glasgow, from October 31st to November 12th, 2021, the next edition of the Conference of Parties will take place (COP26), at the United Nations. Under the rallying banner of “Uniting the world to tackle climate change”, this conference aims to achieve four broad objectives:  

  • reach the zero-emission and maximum 1.5 degree increase in temperature targets by 2050; 
  • adapt to protect natural habitats and communities;  
  • mobilize the financial world;  
  • work together to reach these goals. 

The COP26 call is reminiscent of past calls and invites, hand in hand with the public, all actors – private, public or social – to join the global fight against climate change. It is important to note that COP26 is taking place within the context of the new COVID-19 reality that we must now live with. A situation that highlights the depth of inequalities that divide the world into the rich and the poor countries. In demonstration, as of early October, the United Kingdom, the host country of the COP26, had vaccination coverage of 68% whereas India is at 20%. 

How has the philanthropic grantmaking community received this call? 

This special edition is dedicated to the links to be made between the COPs and philanthropy, and attempts to answer this question. We will do so in different ways. 

For one, Catherine Viens, from UQAM, will introduce the COPs, their overall function as well as the specific issues of COP26 in a two-part video. This first portion will lead the way to a presentation by Edouard Morena (London School of Economics) on the history of foundations’ involvement in the environmental movement, and more specifically their connection with the COPs. He will discuss the modern issues faced by grantmaking philosophy around questions of climate, as well as the question of the social and environmental transition. A three-part infographic, by Morgane Pellerin (UQAM), will offer a graphic representation of the video’s content. 

Second, Benjamin Bellegy (WINGS), will introduce his organization’s call for action of the international philanthropic community to increase their support, in concrete ways, for actions that are needed to fight against human-made climate changes. His presentation will be followed by a text by David Grant-Poitras (UQAM) that will introduce the process that led to the Canadian version of the call made by WINGS. 

Thirdly, an interview with Karel Mayrand (Foundation of Greater Montreal) will cover the connection between philanthropy and COP26. Karel Mayrand will present the efforts made by foundations, including that of Greater Montreal. These efforts take different forms, from projects and partnership-led initiatives to strategic decisions.

This article is part of the special edition of October 2021 : Philanthropy & COP26. You can find more information herePhilanthropy & COVID-19