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Giving Green started at the end of 2020 as a side-of-desk project to find evidence-based, cost-effective, and high-leverage climate giving opportunities. Over the next two years, we have expanded to a team of six and added new high-impact climate giving recommendations across different interventions. 

Our top nonprofit recommendations are aimed at a wide range of individual and institutional donors: from mom-and-pop donors to large foundations that are long on climate interest but short on research capacity. 

Along the way, we started to hear from businesses. Our conversations and subsequent research led us to discover the limitations of conventional business climate strategies, as well as the need for evidence-based and realistic guidance for businesses. Our carbon offsets recommendations for businesses, from our 2020 and 2021 research, also started to feel incomplete. 

Our response: a comprehensive guide on effective corporate climate action, with four higher-impact, actionable recommendations for visionary businesses large and small. 

Conventional climate strategies and their limitations

The conventional approach to carbon neutrality generally consists of a company performing an inventory of Scope 1, 2, and sometimes 3 emissions, identifying a subset of these emissions to reduce, and committing to the purchase of offsets to “neutralize” remaining emissions. 

The reality, however, is that many businesses, especially SMEs, are finding it difficult to reduce all or even much of their emissions at present—due to factors like reliance on the grid, complex supply chains, or lack of climate expertise. 

The efficacy of many carbon offset projects is also highly uncertain, as revealed in Giving Green's carbon offsets research which found that the stated purpose of offsets is rarely attainable. A slew of recent media investigations on “junk carbon offsets” and “phantom carbon offsets” also brought to light widespread problems with the voluntary carbon market.

Giving Green’s corporate climate action recommendations 

Direct emissions reductions should remain a priority. But what is the highest impact strategy after companies have reduced as much of their emissions as possible? Instead of assuming that conventional frameworks are optimal, we explore the following question: given a set of available resources, how can a business maximize its climate impact?

In our new business white paper, published in early 2023, we provide four evidence-backed, actionable climate strategies that go beyond immediate neutrality to maximize systems-wide climate impact. We support the four strategies with case studies and recommendations tailored to reach businesses of all sizes. 

1. Engage in policy 

The private sector can substantially influence public policy, a key driver of the technological, market, and human behavior changes necessary to address climate change. We explore some of the key policy levers available to businesses, including donating to effective climate policy advocacy nonprofits

2. Support technological innovation 

Companies can support emerging climate technologies in sectors relevant to their own operations and/or in climate innovation more broadly. We identify carbon removal as one important emerging sector and recommend two catalytic funds for carbon removal: Frontier and Milkywire

3. Contribute to or create a climate action fund 

Some companies and organizations have created funds that allocate resources across an array of climate mitigation initiatives. We introduce the Giving Green Fund, which curates deeply researched, high-impact climate giving opportunities. 

4. Improve conventional offsetting 

For businesses that remain constrained to directly matching actions to tons emitted, we recommend three best practices. We also recommend two high-quality carbon offset projects (BURN stovesTradewater) and three carbon removal suppliers (Charm IndustrialClimeworksMash Makes)

Why we are excited about our business strategies 

Net zero targets are proliferating. More than a third of the world’s largest companies have a public net zero target—up 7 percentage points since December 2021, according to Accenture. We want to challenge the status quo of conventional climate strategies and encourage companies to maximize their climate actions, effectively and realistically. 

Our business-facing recommendations also complement our individual-facing recommendations, allowing us to reach more people with our evidence-based research and expand the diversity of our recommendation users. 


  • Our business strategies are not a comprehensive, step-by-step tool that tells businesses exactly what to do. Instead, they are meant to highlight major limitations with the status quo of corporate climate strategies and propose higher-impact alternatives. We encourage businesses to start a conversation, as well as think with nuance, creativity, and realism.  
  • Direct emissions reductions should remain a priority, but such strategies fall outside of the scope of this white paper. There are many platforms available to help companies measure and track their emissions. 

Next steps 

We are at the early stage of promoting our business recommendations by reaching out to business networks, as well as by offering one-to-one conversations with businesses of all sizes. 

We also plan to run a webinar in May on effective corporate climate action, featuring panel speakers and case studies from visionary businesses that have gone beyond their own carbon footprint to embrace systems-wide impact. 

Based on feedback, we will continue to iterate our business recommendations, so we can make our research more transparent, scientific, and actionable. 

How you can help

We are offering free 1:1 consultations to help businesses maximize their climate impact. If you work for a business or know any business that could benefit from our research and recommendations, please get in touch at givinggreen@idinsight.org. Equally, we look forward to receiving feedback on our business recommendations from the EA community. 





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