Donations and our funding policy

In May 2022, we were approached by a number of journalists – from the FT, Open Democracy and the Guardian – who claimed to have violated our funding policies – namely that we did not donate from an energy company or anyone with a significant interest in ‘ an energy company. These allegations were then published on The Guardian and Open Democracy websites.

These allegations are false and unfounded:

1. It is implied that GWPF accepts funding from the Koch brothers via Donors Trust, a charity that distributes charitable donations to a number of organizations.

Our answer: Donor Trust is a charity that donates to those who seek funding. Disbursements are not made from a homogeneous pool of funds – recipients of funds know the identity of the original donors. We can therefore examine them in accordance with our funding policies. We have never accepted donations from the Koch brothers or any other energy interests.

2. It is claimed that funding from the Sarah Scaife Foundation represents a fossil fuel interest.

Our answer: The wealth that went into the Foundation was created in the 19th and early 20th century, and came from oil, banking as well as other sectors. Wealth inherited does not create an ‘interest’, let alone an established one. It would be ridiculous to suggest that three generations later, an independent charity that supports a variety of causes, somehow represents a commercial energy interest.

3. It is claimed that shareholdings in energy companies belonging to the Sarah Scaife Foundation make it an inappropriate donor to the GWPF.

Our response: Charities reduce their risks by using normal investment portfolios, spreading assets across geographical and economic sectors. A small portion (about 3%) of the Scaife Foundation’s assets are in energy company shares, but the suggestion that it is an vested interest is striking.

We do not accept donations from anyone with a significant interest in an energy company. We reject any offers of funding from people with an established interest in energy companies. We believe this goes beyond many other environmental groups that receive money from the renewable energy industry.


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