George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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20 September 2019

The latest polling from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) suggests that the UK public thinks charities have a part to play in the climate change debate.

When asked if they agreed with the statement “Charities are an important part of the climate change debate”, 46% agreed, 28% neither agreed nor disagreed and 9% didn’t know.

And when asked if they believed “Charities should not get involved in the climate change debate”, over half (51%) disagreed with this statement, 24% neither agreed nor disagreed and 8% said they didn’t know.

CAF World Giving Index 2018

CAF’s polling also asked people who they thought had most effectively led the climate change debate. Individuals were chosen by 35% of respondents as the most effective, a figure that rose to 38% amongst women and 45% among 16-24 year olds.

The role of individuals in leading on climate change came far ahead of international bodies such as the United Nation on 14%, charities on 9%, Government on 8% and businesses on 2%.

“People clearly see individuals as leading the public debate on climate change,” comments CAF’s Head of Research Susan Pinkney. “This is likely to have been a result of prominent activists such as Greta Thunberg and the school climate protests.”

Younger respondents, 16-24 year olds, were most likely to think that “Charities are an important part of the climate change debate”, with 59% feeling this way, up on the average of 46%.

The same group of 16-24 year olds also overwhelmingly disagreed (69%) with the statement that “Charities should not get involved in the climate change debate”, significantly higher than the 51% average.

“It’s notable that a sizeable minority of those polled were unsure about whether or not charities are an important part of the climate debate, or whether they should play any role at all,” continues Pinkney. “Charities like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth often lead the climate conversation, but perhaps the charity sector at large – along with international bodies, governments and businesses – need to get better at expressing how they’re helping to tackle what is emerging as the defining issue of our age.”

Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,087 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 15th and 28th August 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+).

About CAF

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity registered in the United Kingdom, with nine offices covering six continents.

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. Through CAF Bank, it offers simple and straightforward day-to-day banking, designed exclusively for charities.

We are CAF and we make giving count.


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George Young,

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