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Clean air: an investment in health

Environment Programme / Partner story

Photo from iStock.

The Clean Air Fund is a philanthropic organisation that supports partners to create a future where everyone breathes clean air. It partners with organisations that promote air quality data, build public demand for clean air, and drive action. It also works to influence and support decision makers to act on air pollution.

Fossil fuel combustion accounts for two-thirds of human exposure to outdoor air pollution, which kills approximately 4.5 million people every year [1]. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez recently warned that investing in new fossil fuel production and power plants is “moral and economic madness”.

With this in mind, it is good to know that the number of foundations providing grants to air quality projects doubled between 2015 and 2021, suggesting a growing awareness of the issue. Most philanthropic spending on air quality continues to come from foundations working on climate, environment, or energy. However, foundations focused on health, social justice and childhood development are increasingly engaging with the clean air agenda. At the same time, there is an increasingly large pool of funding opportunities available to tackle air pollution.

The Clean Air Fund’s new report analyses global funding for air quality from donor governments and philanthropic organisations. As governments prepare for COP27 in Egypt, the report highlights funding gaps and opportunities for smarter investment for people and planet.

Oak supports Clean Air Fund because we believe that cleaning the air is a massive opportunity to improve public health and climate change. This work falls under our Energy sub-Programme, within our Environment Programme, which funds efforts to end offshore oil and gas exploration and rapidly reduce pollution from aviation to systematically reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. You can find out more about our Environment Programme here, and check out the Clean Air Fund’s website here.