Accelerating progress towards a fair and sustainable future

Since our founding almost 100 years ago, Charities Aid Foundation has worked to connect and enable the organisations, institutions and individuals looking to make a difference in the world. This lies at the core of what we do, who we work with and how we act each and every day.

Our commitment to the charities and donors that we serve is rooted in the reason we exist: to accelerate progress in society towards a fair and sustainable future for all.

That sustainable future is one in which we, as an organisation, play our role to the greatest extent possible. We help charities across the globe to grow, we achieve maximum impact for donors with every penny, pound or dollar donated through our charity, and we ensure the people who choose to be part of our team have a safe and supportive place to work. Last year, the combined impact of our work meant CAF was able to distribute more than £950 million to charities and partners in 135 countries.

That is just the beginning of our story.

When we speak of sustainability, as an organisation our work is reflected in the principles of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and our commitment to the charities and donors that we serve. This includes our determination to look inward, improve how we operate as an organisation and ensure that Charities Aid Foundation stays true to our guiding values to act with integrity, move forward together and shape the changed world that we all want to see.

As part of that commitment, we have recently launched an ESG investment fund range which is designed specifically to meet the needs of charities and charitable investors.

Environment

  • Donors working with CAF’s specialist advisory teams are looking to achieve lasting impact with their philanthropic capital through the funding of innovative environmental projects around the world. These include funding a coalition working to protect rainforests; support for an independent research centre for the development of organic food production and land management solutions to key global issues including climate change, soil and biodiversity conservation, and food security; marine habitat protection; and funding for a new research centre providing open source climate transition analysis, helping both the economy and society move to a low-carbon sustainable economic model.
  • CAF is committed to achieving net zero in our own operations and we are ambitious in our desire to accelerate this work – where we can move faster, we will and work is underway to measure our emissions to make sure we are on the right path.
  • CAF is reviewing investments to minimise indirect exposure to activities that do not align with our ESG ambitions and will look to phase out any of these holdings upon maturity and transition to ESG-focused or greener alternatives.
  • Through CAF Bank, our wholly-owned bank for charities and social enterprises, we are increasing the provision of banking services, including lending, to help UK-based charities operate and expand their vital services. We have incorporated ESG criteria into our lending policy so that we can help charities with projects such as building or refurbishing their premises to reduce emissions.
  • Our pioneering social impact fund, Venturesome, is increasing the investment of philanthropic capital in the social enterprises and community organisations working to deliver a fairer, sustainable world.

Social

  • CAF’s charitable status is based on our purpose to deliver public benefit and all of our work revolves around delivering on these founding principles.
  • To further the delivery of public benefit, we will continue to expand our work directly linking donations made through CAF to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this we play our part in ensuring these critical global measures of progress are captured and help to achieve the intended benefit.
  • We are working to further reduce our gender pay gap and to grow the diversity of our workforce to create an organisation that is representative of the communities we serve.
  • CAF’s Board of Trustees is 45% female and our Executive team is one third female.
  • CAF is part of the Investors in People (IIP) programme and was awarded Silver accreditation in 2021.
  • Internally, our Environment and Wellbeing Collective, a group of representatives from across the organisation, support CAF to be a sustainable, great, and safe place to work. From the perspective of the people who work for or visit CAF, they guide CAF’s approach to the environment, health, safety, and wellbeing, with the aim of assuring relevant alignment to best practice and delivery on our commitments.
  • Our procurement policies are continuously reviewed to ensure our suppliers share our commitments, embrace the circular economy where possible and are treated fairly and with professionalism.
  • We support our employees through a range of measures including a trained team of Mental Health First Aiders, paid volunteering time and matching charitable donations made through CAF Give As You Earn, the UK’s largest payroll giving scheme.
  • As we adjust following the Covid-19 pandemic, we have embarked on a comprehensive project to ensure our working practices and our work spaces reflect our changed world and offer our employees the flexibility they need, while enabling us to continue to fully deliver for the charities we exist to support.
  • We have a Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy in place, which sets out our approach to modern slavery and human trafficking and how we aim to eliminate it from our supply chains.

Governance

  • CAF’s Trustees and Executive Committee are accomplished leaders drawn from financial services, the third sector, the civil service, higher education, and multinational corporations. Their expert scrutiny and strategic direction informs everything we do, including ensuring our compliance and reporting protocols are fully fit for purpose and that our people feel empowered to raise any concerns about internal practice. They set an impressive level of robust, transparent governance that is upheld throughout the organisation.
  • All of our governance structures, including the make-up of committees, have been subject of a robust, trustee-led review.
  • Our elected internal Employee Council constructively represents the views of our workforce, offering valuable support to fellow employees and insights to senior leadership.
  • Workforce training is constantly reviewed to ensure everyone at CAF is fully aware of their own responsibilities to the organisation and to our donors and charity partners clients. CAF provides training and development opportunities to ensure everyone who chooses to work with us can grow their careers.
  • We have introduced a refreshed whistle-blowing policy to ensure employees at all levels of our organisation have both the information and the means necessary to raise any concerns.

Our shared values

Act with integrity

We collaborate across sectors and borders to inspire innovation so civil society can thrive.

Move forward together

We partner with corporate and private donors to realise greater impact through their giving.

Shape the change

We enable charities to do more life-changing work with lasting benefits for all.