May 18, 2020
Covid-19 has altered the world dramatically. Over the past 2 ½ months, ClimateWorks has been actively adjusting to the new stresses created by the global pandemic and working to ensure that our people, partners, grantees, and work are protected. Here’s a brief summary of our response to date.
ClimateWorks’ first priority is the health and safety of our employees and their loved ones. For this reason, we implemented a set of swift and comprehensive actions to ensure their well-being, including:
- Closing our San Francisco office on March 12, 2020 in advance of the shelter-in-place directive, and transitioning to be an entirely virtual workforce since that time. This remains in effect through the end of May and will likely be extended.
- Instituting restrictions on domestic and international travel consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization guidelines.
- Implementing a flexible paid time off policy through the end of August that enables our staff to take any time they need to care for themselves and their loved ones.
- Providing ongoing support for the mental health and wellbeing of our staff in these uncertain and unsettling times.
Our grantees and partners
In addition to addressing the needs of our staff, we have prioritized the wellbeing of our grantees and partners around the world. We have:
- Postponed all of our scheduled in-person gatherings or converting them to virtual convenings through the end of July.
- Issued an automatic four-month no-cost extension to our current grantees in order to enable them to focus on their organizational needs.
- Signed the Council on Foundations’ Covid-19 Call to Action Pledge to ensure that we are responsive to our grantees needs.
- Worked closely with our grantee community to understand and respond to their individual and collective needs by listening and learning on an ongoing basis given the dynamic situation we are in. We are committed to reducing grantee workloads as much as possible, supporting shifts in their priorities as necessary, and ensuring that the health and safety of their people are paramount.
Despite the chaos and disruption created by Covid-19, ClimateWorks has maintained a clear focus on our mission of ending the climate crisis by amplifying the power of philanthropy. Our expert staff have committed enormous time and talent over the past two months to helping climate philanthropy understand and effectively address climate change both in the near and long term, factoring in the impacts of the pandemic and accompanying global economic shock.
While there are many unknowns at this time, our early observations and analysis point to numerous strategies climate philanthropy can support that both respond to the impacts of Covid-19 and addresses the long-term climate crisis. Examples include:
- Focusing significant philanthropic attention and capital on greening the various stimulus plans and infrastructure projects around the world.
- Ensuring that the near-term declines in global greenhouse emissions caused by Covid-19 are not lost to what are historically large rebound effects caused by unsustainable recovery plans.
- Working aggressively to help countries strengthen their Paris commitments rather than using Covid-19 as an excuse to weaken them.
- Investing in smart communications, mobilization, and behavior change climate strategies that harness public energy and confidence that the world can tackle big challenges like climate change if we act decisively and boldly.
- Advancing big climate wins in critical areas that are having to reinvent themselves due to Covid-19, such as aviation and industrial sectors.
While no one can predict the long-term path that Covid-19 and the financial fallout will take, we can define the principles that guide our response and control the actions we take to advance our mission. Fundamentally, ClimateWorks is guided by the notion that the world is at its best when we care for each other, think boldly, and act collectively. We will continue to carry these beliefs into all of our work over the challenging weeks and months ahead. If we act together to create a more sustainable, just, and resilient future, the world will recover from the Covid-19 crisis stronger than ever.