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As a foundation, we believe we have a responsibility to act on climate change, and we have made environmental sustainability a cross-cutting theme in our 2023–25 strategic plan. This includes leveraging our role as an investor, provider of analysis and research, and grant giver, as well as improving the sustainability of our workplace and events. 

Developing a responsible investment approach and committing to making our endowment net zero by 2035

We are conscious of the impact our investment portfolio can have – both positive and negative – and have put in place measures to achieve a more socially and environmentally responsible endowment. This includes a responsible investment policy, which guides how we invest our funds in three ways:

  • acting as a responsible investor, which will include measuring the impact of our endowment against UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 13
  • working with our investment managers to ensure their environmental, social and governance policies align with the Foundation’s mission and values
  • emphasising positive engagement over exclusion – working alongside those we invest with to bring about positive change in their business practices.

We set the ambition of a net zero endowment by 2035, with the interim target of halving emissions by 2028, compared to our 2020 baseline.

To influence more sustainable business practices, we have been using our position as an investor to engage with the funds and companies we invest in, working with ShareAction and the Charities Responsible Investment Network (CRIN).

You can find out more about our approach to responsible investing in this interview with our investments team. 

Reducing the emissions from our operations

Separately from our endowment, we are looking at the emissions from our operations – for example, the running of our building, the goods and services we buy, and our grant giving. 

We have established a baseline of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions from our operations. This has shown us where the biggest sources of our emissions lie, so that we can put a net zero plan in place that prioritises reducing emissions from the areas that are most impactful. Our footprinting has shown that the overwhelming majority of our emissions are scope 3 and therefore not in our direct control so we will need to work closely with our supply chain and the organisations that we fund.

We have made changes to the way we give our grants. We have incorporated a question on sustainability into our grant applications, as well as developing guidance to help applicants consider and reduce the environmental impact of their activities. We will continue to assess and improve the sustainability of our grant giving processes over time.

As an organisation that frequently holds meetings and events, we developed a sustainable events guide to help make our events as sustainable as possible – covering catering, venues, travel and event materials.

We are engaging staff at the Foundation, raising awareness and understanding of climate change, environmental breakdown and the link with health. We’ve held staff events and activities to discuss what we can do as individuals and collectively.

Supporting the transition to sustainable health care 

Recognising the significant impact that the health and care system has on the environment, we have developed a portfolio of work to support the transition to net zero health care. As part of this we published a long read on what it will take to achieve net zero care and developed our immersive installation ‘net zero NHS: imagining the future’ to provoke discussion about what a net zero NHS should look like and how we get there. 

To find out more about our work on environmental sustainability see our collection page.

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