IF4SL: The Innovation Fund for Sustainable Living 


Bringing funders together to tackle overconsumption

IF4SL is a funder collaborative that explores the challenging theme of overconsumption. It brings funders together to create a pooled fund that explores equitable ways of living within planetary boundaries. This pooled fund will support philanthropy to experiment with work on overconsumption – with shared risk, learning and due diligence.

Initiated by Oak Foundation and managed by the Hot or Cool Institute, IF4SL is now inviting other funders to join the pooled fund. We are an operational fund that undertakes projects in partnership with funders, civil society organisations and researchers, with the aim of encouraging philanthropic action to tackle overconsumption. Our first project is a survey of foundation staff, leaders and boards, to gather baseline data on how the sector views the challenge of overconsumption.


Funder Survey: Tackling Overconsumption in Order to Protect the Environment


Are you acknowledging excess levels of material consumption as a driver of climate change and biodiversity loss? Are you considering being bolder in naming the problems associated with this, and more strategic in mobilising grants programmes in response. These are just a few of the questions we would like to ask fellow funders. The hope is this survey will help us take the pulse of the environmental philanthropy sector when it comes to the challenge of overconsumption. We will share the findings to help open up space for discussion.

All funder staff and board members are invited to take part in the survey, designed by Hot or Cool Institute´s IF4SL and The Hour Is Late in collaboration with Oak FoundationClimateWorks Foundation and the Environmental Funders Network. If you work for a foundation or are an individual donor, please do take 20 minutes to participate in the survey and share your opinions about tackling overconsumption. If you are a grantee, please don’t complete the survey yourself, but instead encourage your funders to complete it. All responses will be treated as confidential, and we will not attribute quotes to any individual when sharing the findings. This is not restricted to one person per organisation: we are interested in seeing the range of views held by staff, leaders and board members, and so encourage everyone to participate.

The survey can be completed anonymously, or there is an option to leave your contact details. This will allow us to send you the results directly and invite you to a webinar to share and discuss the findings with other environmental funders.

It’s important to say that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. We have designed the survey to try and learn where the philanthropy sector stands on the question of over-consumption, so please ‘tell us how it is’ from your individual perspective. The more funders that take part in the survey, the more useful the findings will be for everyone. We would greatly appreciate your participation, and your help in encouraging your peers to take part!

If you would like to host (or invite us to host) a discussion about tackling overconsumption – based on the results of the survey – please contact Kate Power: k.power@hotorcool.org

The funder on tackling overconsumption survey will be open until the end of April.

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Despite the growth in environmental philanthropy in recent years, world-wide consumption of natural resources remains completely unsustainable. Recent academic research suggests that the industrialised world needs to cut its consumption levels by 73% in order to stay within planetary boundaries.

The problem of overconsumption has largely been overlooked by many funders. For example, in Europe, the largest environmental foundations allocated just €1 million to directly tackling over-consumption in 2021, less than 0.1% of the €1.6 billion of environmental grants tracked for that year.

The IF4SL wants to change this. Philanthropy can act as a major lever for positive change through ambitious grant-making. That’s why IF4SL is exploring the theme of overconsumption in a way that opens space for philanthropy to increase ambition in this area.

Funders play a key role in socializing cutting-edge approaches – as has been the case with new economics, climate justice, movement building and more. The work of funders in legitimizing emerging approaches and raising ambition levels within the wider movement, is key to moving from incremental to systemic interventions in the field of consumption and sustainable living.

If you are interested in meeting other funders to discuss strategies for tackling overconsumption, please come and join us in the Funders for Sustainable Living Network.

Through our regular F4SL workshops we are building a collaboration of foundation staff who are curious about deeper systems change and tackling overconsumption. Members of the F4SL network are helping to mainstream long term visions for fair and sustainable living through the funding they give, as well as the constructive conversations they lead on challenging issues, such as learning to accept limits to consumption.

To find out more about the F4SL network and / or suggest future topics for exploration, please contact Kate Power k.power@hotorcool.org 

Tackling Overconsumption Funder Survey: The First Project of the New IF4SL

Our February Funders for Sustainable Living Network workshop marked the official launch of the Innovation Fund for Sustainable Living (IF4SL) with an introduction to its first project “Funders Survey: Tackling Overconsumption”.

Project Partners

Our funders

Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social, and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. Through grant-making, they support others to make the world a safer, fairer, and more sustainable place to live. With offices in Europe, India, and North America, Oak Foundation makes grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

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