IKEA Foundation joins the World Economic Forum’s new initiative to unlock $3 trillion for Climate and Nature

Press Release by the World Economic Forum

  • Philanthropic giving totalled $810 billion in 2021, but just 2% went towards reducing emissions
  • New initiative, Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), will leverage philanthropic capital to generate the $3 trillion needed each year from public and private sources to tackle climate change and nature loss
  • GAEA is a ground-breaking initiative supported by more than 45 major philanthropic, public and private sector partners

World Economic Forum. Davos, Switzerland, 17 January 2023 – The World Economic Forum, supported by more than 45 partners today launched the Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to unlock the $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.

With the energy and cost of living crises, the ambition of steering the planet towards a 1.5-degree Celsius warming pathway hangs in the balance. Meanwhile, the recent agreement at UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) inMontreal to conserve 30% of all earth and sea looks bold but fragile in the face of a rising biodiversity crisis. Current funding is slow and inadequate, and a new approach is needed to get capital flowing. Philanthropic giving can address this, with unique qualities not found in other financing: it is nimble, more tolerant of risks and is driven by values and long-term outcomes rather than quarterly returns.

“We are at a tipping point in our efforts to put the planet back on track to meet our climate ambitions. To reach the speed and scale required to heal the Earth’s systems, we need to unlock not only private capital and government funds, but also the philanthropy sector as a truly catalytic force to achieve the necessary acceleration,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

GAEA’s growing body of philanthropic partners includes: Active Philanthropy, the African Climate Foundation, Andre Hoffman Family Office, the Arab Foundations Forum, Bezos Earth Fund, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Clean Air Fund, Climate Leadership Initiative, ClimateWorks Foundation, Eleven Eleven Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Groward Climate Fund, IKEA Foundation, Laudes Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Philanthropy Asia Alliance (by Temasek Trust), Philea, The Rockefeller Foundation, Trottier Family Foundation, United Nations Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, WINGS, Workday Foundation.

Individuals, academic institutions, companies and public sector organizations supporting the initiative include:
Capital for Climate, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the University of Cambridge, Climate-KIC, Crescent Enterprises, Government of Egypt, HCL Technology through their chairperson Roshni Nadar, McKinsey Sustainability, Ocean14, Pearl Initiative, Prince Maximilian von und zu Liechtenstein, Chairman of the Board LGT Group, Salesforce, Singapore University for Social Sciences, Stanford University Center for Ocean Solutions, Strategic Philanthropy Initiative at NYU Abu Dhabi, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, We Mean Business Coalition.

Philanthropic financing for climate mitigation has risen in recent years, but still represents less than 2% of total philanthropic giving, estimated at $810 billion in 2021. Greater philanthropic funding for climate and nature will support, not detract from, existing social priorities. As recently noted by Rajiv Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation: “A warming planet can undo all the organization has done for more than 100 years to aid vulnerable communities in the realms of health, energy, food and equity.”

Over the next 12 months, supported by McKinsey Sustainability as a knowledge partner, GAEA will work with founding members to build momentum around three clear objectives:

  • Convene leaders from the public, private and philanthropic sectors to identify and target climate and nature
    solutions where they are best positioned to play a catalytic role
  • Pilot and refine funding models that can support PPPP interventions
  • Scale up and replicate successful approaches to new sectors, regions and actors

GAEA will build on existing examples of success. For example, the Clean Cooling Collaborative, founded with the help of an initial $10 million of philanthropic funding in 2016, has mobilized $600 million in public and private finance to improve equitable access to low-carbon cooling and support 9.4 gigatons of avoided CO2 emissions by 2050.

Similarly, the Government of the Seychelles has leveraged philanthropic funding, public loan guarantees and private investment to raise $15 million through a blue bond and convert $22 million of government debt into conservation funding to protect 13 marine areas, covering an area larger than Germany.

Wendy Abrams, Chief Executive of the Eleven Eleven Foundation, said: “We need more companies, family offices, individuals and the new generation of philanthropists to get involved in the climate and nature conversation. If we do not solve this together, there will be nothing to pass on to the next generation. GAEA can be a good platform to get all the right stakeholders and amplify action at scale.”

Rania Al-Mashat, Minister for International Cooperation, Government of Egypt said: “This call to action is extremely timely, as it builds on the directions set during COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, ‘the COP of implementation’ under the Egyptian presidency. We need more philanthropies to join us at the table and help scale up multilateral development bank finance to unlock private investments to accelerate the green transition. Egypt will work closely with the World Economic Forum to build effective and impactful philanthropic public private partnerships, and promote the role of the prominent ‘P’ – Philanthropy.”

Per Heggenes, Chief Executive Officer of the IKEA Foundation, said: “We are proud to support the launch of the GAEA initiative. The global figure of philanthropic capital for climate mitigation currently stands under 2% – and that is just not acceptable. But this is also a massive opportunity to leverage philanthropic giving for climate action. Philanthropies can play a unique role in encouraging urgent, radical and unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors. It’s only by working together at scale that we can unlock the investment required to achieve our ambitious climate goals and protect the planet.”

Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Enterprises, said: “There is a historic opportunity to harness the full potential of philanthropic organizations, family offices and other innovative capital players, in unity with government and business to address our climate and nature goals. COP28 in the UAE will raise the bar in terms of ambition and the creation of a global architecture for all capital actors to act together at speed and at scale. The World Economic Forum and GAEA is a powerful platform and amplifier to enhance these efforts.”

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

Lim Seok Hui, Chief Executive Officer, Philanthropy Asia Alliance (by Temasek Trust), said: “There is a true opportunity this decade to tap into catalytic capital from philanthropy and family offices in emerging economies.These actors are willing to help the public and private sectors to go faster. By partnering with GAEA and the World Economic Forum, Philanthropy Asia Alliance will unlock, coordinate and aggregate innovative Asian solutions to global challenges that help both people and planet.”

Bob Sternfels, Chief Executive Officer, McKinsey & Company, said: “We are very excited to support GAEA’s aim to better connect philanthropic capital with public and private sector efforts to strengthen climate and nature solutions. Our collective hope is to accelerate thinking and action towards tipping points in these arenas, and to assure economic growth is increasingly sustainable and inclusive.”