The Impact Of Good Philanthropy
On The Environment

In 2021, the UN whipped the global community into a frenzy by publishing its revelations on climate change. The report essentially served as a “final warning.” The message was clear: Take appropriate actions now, or the effects of climate change will be irreversible. Climate change is a threat that all nations across the globe need to tackle as a united front.

In the following years, numerous countries took critical steps in response to the UN report, and India was no exception. However, when it comes to addressing any issue related to the environment, India is in a very precarious situation.

Tackling environmental preservation has always been a challenge in India, as the country’s issues are multifaceted. Due to aggravating poverty and unemployment, environmental preservation has always been a topic of least concern among many in the country.

For India to truly emerge as a leader, it will need the support of its privileged class. This is where philanthropy comes into play. In recent years, we’ve seen many philanthropic projects launched in the country with the sole intent of achieving environmental stability.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into some of these projects and understand the impact they’ve made.

The State of Environment-Centric Philanthropy in India

It is no secret that India lacks the money necessary to meet its global climate commitments. While it relies on foreign and public funding, the money pouring in from these sources hasn’t been sufficient. This is perhaps what is responsible for domestic philanthropists stepping up and focusing their attention on environmental preservation.

According to a recent report published in 2022, it was found that donations to initiatives centered on environment and sustainability had ballooned to 46 percent. This rise, however, is being perceived as nothing but a drop in the bucket. All eyes are now on domestic philanthropists and their contributions.

Judging by some of the philanthropic projects launched recently, India might be on the right track to achieving its sustainability goals.

Prominent Philanthropists and Projects Contributing to Environmental Stability in India

Below are a few projects launched by notable figures in Indian society striving to address India’s environmental and sustainability concerns.

1. Rainmatter Foundation

Rainmatter Foundation is arguably one of the biggest projects in India today, laser-focused on climate change and environmental preservation. Founded by Nithin Kamath, the CEO of Zerodha, it has pledged a whopping $200 million to initiatives tackling climate change.

Since its launch in 2019, the foundation has supported over 75 non-profits across the nation. It has also provided grants to Civis, a civil society organization that aims to promote public engagement in the passing of environmental laws.

2. Rohini Nilekani Philantropies

Spearheaded by its namesake, this foundation donated 50 Cr. in grants to projects focused on conservation and biodiversity between 2022 and 2023. Some notable beneficiaries of this foundation are the Wildlife Conservation Society of India, The Keystone Foundation, and the Youth Conversation Network, among many others.

Its founder, Rohini Nilekani’s commitment to environmental preservation can be traced back to her days as a journalist. She began her journey into philanthropy in 2001 when she launched a non-profit called Arghyam, which focused on sanitation and clean water. As such, you know this philanthropist truly cares about the cause.

3. Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation

Spearheaded by the famous Jamshyd Godrej, this foundation is largely invested in reducing carbon emissions and promoting the use of renewable energy. Since its launch in 2009, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation has made significant contributions to non-profits and think tanks engaged in climate change action.

Recently, it launched the Accelerating Civil Society Organizations Towards Climate Mitigation and Technical Excellence Challenge Fund, aka ACCLIMATE. This venture was set up to lend funds to pilot programs working on climate finance, green hydrogen, cooling tech, and more.

4. The Tata Trust

This has to be one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in the country. It is still making significant strides today with its contributions to environmental preservation. It promoted the conversation of biodiversity by teaming up with the Wildlife Conversation Society.

With projects associated with adopting renewable energy and their efforts to conserve water in India’s drought-prone regions, The Tata Trust is doing its part effectively in helping India fulfill its sustainability goals.

5. India Climate Collaborative

A brain-child of some of India’s most prominent elites, this is undoubtedly the biggest philanthropic project in the country today. It was launched in 2018 by the collective effort of people like Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group, Ratan Tata of Tata Sons, Nadir Godrej of Godrej Industries, Sangita Jindal of JSW Foundation, and Vidya Shah of EdelGive.

The project mainly focuses on finding suitable donors and encouraging them to contribute to urgent environmental issues. Since 2020, the foundation has pledged $13.6 million to numerous climate projects in India.

It has recently collaborated with the SELCO Foundation in Odisha to pilot three cold storage projects. It has also partnered with many other projects to tackle the imminent threat of climate change more effectively.

The Overall Impact of Philanthropy on the Environment

The impact good philanthropy can have on the environment cannot be overstated. The above philanthropy projects serve as an excellent testament to that fact. Together, these projects and many others like them have helped India considerably in addressing various environment-related issues.

  • Thanks to timely interventions by domestic philanthropists, risks to India’s biodiversity have been mitigated significantly.
  • We’ve seen giant investments in innovation, research, and technology that could assist humanity in its fight against environmental challenges.
  • Philanthropists have played a significant role in influencing environmental policies. They’ve advocated for regulatory reforms to tackle ecological issues systemically.

The Bottom Line

It would be foolish to deny philanthropy’s role in addressing India’s environmental challenges. From massive conversation projects to grassroots projects, philanthropists have become a force for real change. All of the foundations we’ve mentioned in this article have significantly contributed to restoring ecosystems, advocating for policy changes, and promoting innovation in environmental preservation.

So, it only makes sense that the government and the people of India have hoped that philanthropy will protect the country from climate change and ecological degradation.

For India to successfully attain its sustainability goals, we must acknowledge the role philanthropy plays and encourage the establishment of more philanthropic projects focused on environmental stability.