Statement on Climate Change

We believe that climate change, and the associated risk of ecological collapse, is the single biggest threat facing people and communities across the world today.

A comprehensive global body of evidence asserts beyond reasonable doubt that the impacts of climate change could threaten society’s (and maybe the living world’s) very survival if current emissions are not curbed at an unprecedented rate.

Our purpose as a charitable foundation is to contribute to the future security and wellbeing of our world. We therefore see it as our role to ensure we use our assets, power and influence to accelerate the rapid shift required to achieve a sustainable future for all. We believe this future is still achievable if we act now, with urgency and ambition.

In line with the most recent IPCC report[1], Thirty Percy supports policies and action that will limit global warming to 1.5⁰C degrees above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, we must halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050[2]. Keeping to 1.5⁰C requires urgent and transformational change across all systems in our society today, including economics, energy, transport, food, land-use, industry and the built environment, as well as significant behaviour change from individuals. We are acutely aware that the burden of the effects (and responses) to climate change do not fall on people equally. In line with our values of performance, care and wisdom we see the importance of acknowledging this and ensuring that the people and communities that stand to be most affected are central to the decision making around the transition.

At our current rate of change, we are heading for a living planet that is 3-4⁰C warmer and this will have catastrophic effects for all life on earth. We therefore believe we are in a state of ‘climate emergency’, where the actions of our generation will determine the future of civilisation as we know it. The scale and speed of action required will need to mirror those of war-time efforts and will require collective action and sustained leadership from governments across the world, pioneering innovation from business and action from all citizens.  We are all stakeholders in this effort.


[2] The UK Government have now amended the Climate Change Act in line with this target, committing the UK Government by law to ensuring that UK emissions are at net-zero by 2050.

Our Impact

As an independent foundation we are in a privileged position to do things differently. To be imaginative, collaborative and unexpected. We aim to lead by example through our operations, investments, partnerships and grant making practice to accelerate and catalyse greater climate action across the UK (and beyond). We have decided to focus a large part of our work on supporting the transition to a zero-carbon world, whilst ensuring it is delivered in a way that is fair to those impacted most and to future generations.

We recognise that this is an ambitious goal and will require action from all sectors to be achieved. At Thirty Percy we aim to contribute towards this goal through:

1. Our Culture and Values:

Our purpose, culture and values are at the heart of all that we do, and these allow us to behave and operate in ways that will enable the future world we want to see.

As a team and organisation, we explicitly acknowledge things are messy and complex and work hard to build a shared understanding of a problem and its ecosystem. We aim to see the whole picture (or as much as possible) and embrace the difficult stuff that others might ignore. We seek out the views of those who don’t rely on status quo assumptions and who think in terms of complex adaptive systems and feedback loops. We believe in failing fast, reflection and learning, being curious and asking questions. We want to listen to as many different views as possible, respecting everyone as equal citizens of our living planet and being generous to all.

2. Our Operations:

  • Carbon Positive: we aim to become carbon positive in our operations before 2025. We will achieve this by:
    • Sourcing 100% renewable energy across all our buildings.
    • Enhancing the ability of our land and green spaces to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
    • Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings.
    • Working with our suppliers to reduce their impact.
  • Responsible Investment: we want to ensure that all our funds are invested in a way that is consistent with a sustainable future. This is because we recognise that investment portfolios exist interdependently with the world, and financial capital is an important lever in transforming all socio-technical systems (e.g. national economies, international supply chains and local communities). We are working with our investment manager, EdenTree, to move beyond traditional investment and actively design a portfolio that is consistent with our return expectations, which we define not just in monetary terms but also in terms of our support for a ‘just transition’. We will share our process openly, so that others can make use of our learnings and we will collaborate with other asset owners to deepen our knowledge.
  • Progressive Policies: we want to lead by example and model the behaviours necessary of organisations and individuals in a sustainable future. To that end, we plan to implement a number of consistent policies for our staff, for example:
    • A ‘no fly’ policy, which states that, as a general rule, we expect our staff to travel in work time via low carbon alternatives such as trains and coaches. Flying will not be permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances. We will determine ‘exceptional circumstances’ by considering the potential positive impact from a trip vs the concrete negative impacts of taking the flight.
    • Vegetarian and vegan catering as the default option for all events and meetings we hold. Above this we endeavour to ensure that ingredients are sourced locally and are in season (as much as possible).

3. Our Grant Making:

We believe the philanthropic community have an enormous opportunity, and responsibility, to help catalyse wider systemic change. At Thirty Percy we will continue to support pioneering organisations and leaders working to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable future. By testing, showcasing and scaling new ways of doing things we aim to help governments, businesses and individuals to envisage a new normal and take swift action to help achieve it.

We work in partnership with our grant holders, advisors and other partners to demonstrate that rapid and transformational change is possible if we think differently and challenge the structures and ‘status quo’ ways of operating.

With that in mind, we would like to invite all our partners to consider their current position on climate change and whether their actions are consistent with the level of transformation required to achieve net zero by 2050. We believe all organisations should announce a public position on climate change and ensure that their operations and policies align with this, for the benefit of all stakeholders.