£100 - £100,000
28 Mar 2022
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Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is deeply concerned about climate change and its effects, and believes that our care for future generations morally compels us to play a part in tackling it. We see it as both a symptom of our unsustainable and unjust global economic system, and a cause of serious injustice and conflict both now and in the future.

Funding priorities

The overall focus is on developing and promoting sustainable, low-carbon alternatives to the current consumerist and growth-based paradigm. We will support a range of actions to achieve these aims, recognising this might include defending current policies, frameworks and regulations.

1. Better economics

Current economic systems encourage unsustainable growth and do not adequately reflect the true costs and risks of resource depletion, climate change and other environmental problems. We will fund work that:

  • explores and promotes ways that well-being and sustainability, rather than traditional forms of economic growth, could be placed at the heart of public policy
  • explores and promotes mechanisms that could better align business and investor behaviour with environmental sustainability and the long-term public interest
  • researches and develops innovations and new practical models of enterprise that can be embedded within community practice
  • challenges future investment in, or subsidies for, fossil fuels.
2. Beyond consumerism

There is evidence that the ever higher levels of consumption, once basic needs for security and comfort are met, do not result in greater happiness or well-being. At the same time, such ever-increasing consumption is not environmentally sustainable, and contributes towards social problems including overwork, anxiety and loss of community. We will fund:

  • campaigns, initiatives and mechanisms which encourage radical, large scale shifts in behaviour and culture away from consumerism towards more sustainable ways of living and using resources
  • exploration of initiatives and models which promote positive alternatives to materialism for a more fulfilled life
  • work which engages people individually and collectively in holistic and value-led approaches to transformed behaviour and lifestyle, as an alternative to consumerism.
3. New voices

In order to create a broad-based, democratic and lasting transition to a low-carbon sustainable society, we need to involve everyone. JRCT is particularly concerned that marginalised groups and young activists have a voice in decisions which affect them.

We will fund:

  • campaigns and movements that give marginalised or under-represented groups a voice on issues of environmental and economic justice
  • initiatives that encourage organisations from outside the traditional environmental field to get involved in environmental justice
  • networks that link and support local environmental justice groups
  • the replication of innovative local projects to involve New Voices regionally or nationally.
4. Responding to the dual harms of Covid-19 and systemic racism

At this time of crisis, JRCT is keen to support work that responds to the dual harms of the Covid-19 pandemic and systemic racism. Specifically, we wish to encourage work that scrutinises the responses and policies of powerful institutions and actors, and which envisions and builds support for transformative social change based on justice, peace and sustainability, including work which:

  • Scrutinises economic responses to the pandemic through a climate justice lens, holding government to account for their policy decisions, including any corporate financial support.
  • Helps to build collective power and foster visions for more imaginative, just economies which prioritise the wellbeing of human beings and the natural world.
  • Explores the connections between the pandemic and the lived experiences of environmental racism and set out methods of addressing these harms.