The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been investing for a number of years in various strategies to avoid the worst effects of climate change and spare human suffering by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Those grants have aimed at cleaning up power production, using less oil, using energy more efficiently, preserving forests, addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gases, and financing climate-friendly investments. Grants have focused on developed countries with high energy demand and developing countries with fast-growing energy demand or high deforestation rates.

The Environment Program undertook a process in 2017 to assess the effectiveness of its past and current climate-related philanthropic strategies in the U.S. and other countries and to determine what changes, if any, would be appropriate for the foundation’s future climate investments.

As part of its normal “outcome-focused philanthropy,” the foundation takes a deeper and more comprehensive look at how a strategy is working through a “strategy refresh” process, which involves program evaluation, extensive issue-area research, and input from grantees, experts and stakeholders.

The 2017 process resulted in the foundation board’s approval in November 2017 of a renewed $600 million, five-year initiative committed to addressing climate change. This is the foundation’s single largest commitment to date in any area of its philanthropic work. The resulting strategy, which will guide the program’s grants from 2018 to 2023, is described in the strategy paper below.