Citizen Engagement on Climate

To demonstrate what effective public engagement on climate looks like, and to help create the conditions for its scaling

At the Foundation, we have been exploring what contribution we can make to addressing one of the most urgent global challenges for people and the planet: climate change. 

The UK Branch’s Citizen Engagement on Climate strand (established in 2020) will help build and evidence the public mandate to tackle climate change. We are looking forward to playing our part alongside so many others who have been working on this issue for so long. 


The Foundation’s commitment to climate action

Our Head Office in Lisbon has placed sustainability at the heart of the Foundation’s strategy. In mid-2019, the Foundation embarked on a path to align our investments with the philanthropic aims of the Foundation. It has run the Prize for Humanity in the field of climate change since 2020, with the first winner being Greta Thunberg. In 2021, the Prize went to the Global Covenant of Mayors.


Why public engagement? 

Public engagement is key to how the environmental sector can ensure local and national governments fulfil their responsibility to achieve carbon neutrality. Involving communities in climate action is also essential to achieve the individual behaviour change that we need to tackle climate change. 

Public engagement involves a wide range of activity, including (but not limited to) communications, education, community activism and political activism. In this first phase of work, we will explore where we can provide the best value add to support the sector. 

In April 2021, we published a literature review on public engagement for climate action in parternship with the Centre for Public Impact, which sought to understand effective ways to engage the public on meaningful behaviour change that can aid in achieving net zero emissions goals. The research is accompanied by a series of eight case studies, which document innovative approaches from around the world.

Summary of the literature review on pubic engagement for climate change


What we work on 

By collecting and sharing evidence of what works, we want to help build the capacity of providers and speed up the process of successfully engaging communities in climate action. We will also evidence the value of public engagement in climate action, to encourage its uptake. 

We are particularly interested in the interface between the ocean and climate change and how to bring about changes in behaviour through narrative and framing. We are building on what we have learnt from our work in Valuing the Ocean on the value of effective communications to engage people in environmental issues.

As with our other strands of work, we will ensure an international dimension with reach that benefits individuals and communities in and beyond the UK. 


Phase One

The first phase will run until 2022. In Phase One we are focusing on: 

  • Continuing to scope the field, building the evidence base and commissioning research to develop our strategy.
  • Setting up partnerships with organisations working on public engagement on climate.
  • Supporting collaboration in the sector in advance of COP26, and thinking beyond COP26.


Learning resources

Effective communications, engagement and collaboration are key ingredients to a more sustainable and fairer future. Through our programmes, the UK Branch and partners have produced research, campaign toolkits and strategic guidance that could benefit others.

These are available in our learning hub, aimed at practitioners who want to use the latest evidence and tools to deepen understanding and engagement with climate-ocean issues, and strengthen their impact through collaboration.

Learning hub


Currently being updated


Header photo:  Bicycle rush hour, Mikael Colville-Andersen/Copenhagenize Design Co./Copenhagen via Climate Visuals.
Updated on 26 january 2023

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