The Copenhagen based KR Foundation was founded in 2014 with the mandate to tackle the root causes of climate change, including, e.g., the financial system and people’s perceptions of climate change. To achieve this aim, the foundation has defined Communication as an integral part of its grant-making strategy. In 2021, the foundation has granted approximately 1.2 million EUR in this area.
Jakob Bo Nielsen
KR Foundation funds Communication as a key instrument for building public support for political action.
Communication is essential to get the public on board in the fight against climate change and to induce behavioural changes. Before people can act, though, they need to understand why they should act and how they can be part of a transition towards a climate-resilient future.
What is more, once people understand what action is needed, they can call out political inaction and use their rights as democratic citizens to change political majorities.
Application in Practice
KR Foundation’s mandate to move beyond existing systems means that it can fund innovative climate communications projects in areas with little or no track record of philanthropic funding. It incubates new organisations rather than providing successive core funding.
Following a strategic direction set by the Board of Directors, KR Foundation centres its efforts on influencing media narratives. This led, for example, to funding the Climate Action Against Disinformation. The coalition aims to tackle online mis- and disinformation about climate change. Together, the more than 50 coalition members work to curb climate denial, and other discourses aiming to delay climate action, on social media platforms.
On the other side of the spectrum, the KR Foundation's grantees utilise social media to put the solutions to the climate crisis high on the agenda. Through Inside the Movement, KR Foundation enables access to science-based information and encouraging narratives about climate change. Inside the Movement is a digital hub that brings together resources such as the latest science, campaigns and thinking on climate change.
Results are often generated when many different grantees work together to achieve the same goal. E.g., changing a specific policy, getting financial institutions to divest from fossil fuel projects and companies, or getting big tech platforms to change policies and practices about climate change misinformation.
Through its grant-making, KR Foundation has supported projects with very tangible campaign outcomes but has also supported long term capacity building in areas such as digital climate communication where data insights and digital expertise can enable more effective campaigns across the climate movement.
What has worked well?
- Collaborate and exchange: Start by pragmatically assessing the field. There is a whole community of funders that are working in climate communication. Talk to people who are already funding Communication, learn about their journeys and ask them about current funding gaps and opportunities.
- Focus and prioritise: Break down your aims into concrete issues. Once you focus on a specific sector, you have a clearer view of the ecosystem and a better understanding of its needs.
- Widen your audience: Invest in campaigns and support the professionalisation of the organisation behind them. Think about which specific audiences are needed to reach the outcomes that you aim for – and then find the organisations that know how to effectively reach them. Or help establish new ones that can.
What are opportunities for new funders?
- Counteract false narratives: An emerging field is the focus on the role that advertising agencies play in fuelling the climate crisis by working for high emission clients. This work can easily be scaled.